Knitting Help – Carrying Colors for Stripes


When you’re working stripes in your knitting,
and if you’re working with the same two or three or four – however many colors,
you have the option of cutting the yarn every time you start with a new color, or if you’re
going to keep using that same color of yarn, you have another option of just carrying that
yarn up the side of your work and not having so many ends to weave in when you’re finished. Which is ideal. To do that it’s the same when you’re knitting
back and forth, or if you’re knitting in the round. The issues with tension and carrying the yarn
up and everything else are the same. It’s a quick little technique, it will save
you a lot of time. Let’s take a look. Here I have this little knitted piece and
I’m switching from yellow to purple every two rows. And I only have one yellow end and one purple
end because I’m carrying the yarn up the side of the work. Now this really only works if you’re knitting
for a back and forth piece – not knitting in the round. You need to knit an even number of rows, so
that you can keep swapping things out over on the same side of the work. You want to knit down and back, a multiple
of two rows, even number. I have knit two rows in yellow, and I’m
ready to switch to purple. And the purple of course is already attached. Before I get started, I want to intertwine
these two threads a little bit. So I’m just going to flop one yarn over
the other. Because I don’t want any loose loops hanging
off the side of my work. And I’m going to put – You see what I did there? All I did was flop
one yarn over the other like that. And this is kind of important when you’re
doing a two row repeat, but really much more important if you have more rows of knitting,
because there is more of an option for a longer loop on the side of the work. Put my needle in. Wrap it with the purple yarn, and that first
stitch, the tension is pretty important. If you pull it too tightly, you’ll bunch
up the sides of your work, so you want to make sure you that you give the work a tug
as you tighten up that stitch. And then you knit across normally. Or purl, or whatever your pattern’s telling
you to do. The only technique here is on the side of
the work. Okay, so that’s the technique. You’ll see here that there is a tiny bit
more bulk on the side of the work, because there is one extra strand running up the side. But even knitting this flat, you can’t really
see, you can’t really see it on the right side of the work. The wrong side of the work you do see these
little twists where I flopped one yarn over the other to keep there from being big loops. This is a great technique that will save you
a ton of time from weaving in a million ends every time you change to a different color
when you’re working stripes. And that’s carrying up the yarn for stripes. [music]

43 thoughts on “Knitting Help – Carrying Colors for Stripes

  • Do you have any tips for knitting in the round? I'm making four row stripes and carrying the yarn leaves quite a long loop. Is there any way to help this loop be minimized?

  • @singingalamy Working this technique in the round is exactly the same as working back and forth. If you're ending up with long loops, just twist your working yarns together more often when you're at the beginning of the round. Also, keep an eye on your tension when you're switching colors.

  • I tried this but I was using 5 different colors, for a blanket, it did't look very neat. There were too man colors going up the side at once. Will it only work for two colors

  • This trick can work for more than two colors, but it really depends on the weight of yarn you're using. Carrying 5 colors up the side is probably too many in any weight of yarn for the sides to look tidy. You never really know until you give it a try to see how it looks.

  • when you do your cast on should you already have the second color attached or add the second color later when you wish to add it, also when you add the second color do you tie it to the first color and then begin knitting?

  • There is no need to add the second color until you're ready to use it, so the answer to your question is no. 🙂 You can knit your bottom stripe with just one color of yarn attached. I have another video that will help answer your second question. It's called "Knitting Help – Changing Colors" that shows how I like to tie the new color to the old. Hope that helps!

  • I tried this technique but it doesn't seem to turn out as clean and crisp as yours. On the side where I'm carrying up yarn and changing the colors the stripes become uneven like they're being shifted up. How do I avoid this? Thank you!

  • I can help you here. 🙂 Try combining this technique with another one that I demonstrate in the video called "Knitting Help – Correcting Color-Change Jog". You can find this video by searching my channel page. Good luck!

  • Hello, I have made a scarf with stripes, but the purl side is really not very good to look at. Is there a way to add a fabric layer on the wrong side to make one side knitted and the other one, say cotton fabric ? How do I do that ?

  • Yes – you can add a fabric back layer to your knitting. This is often done with baby blankets. But I'm afraid I can't help you there. I'm sure there are sewing channels on YouTube that will tell you the best way to get that done. Good luck!

  • This is a great demonstration for two colors. Do you have a video that shows 3 different colors? I'm finding that more difficult than using 2 colors. Thanks.

  • Thank you, Jill. The only difference between two and three colored stripes is that you have to carry the unused colors further. Oh, and the fact that you have THREE balls of yarn hanging from your work! It is more difficult for those reasons.

  • I'm ended up doing this in a round while knitting a hat the other day. Maybe since it was only my second knitted hat it ended up leaving a little bit of a gap.

  • I was knitting socks on magic loop, and I striped with this technique (I think) but ended up with holes where I twisted.

  • Thank you for your videos! I realized only after watching many stripes videos that, when using more than two colours and/or making larger stripes, you need to flop or twist the yarn each time you reach the end of the row where the waiting yarn(s) is/are. That way you can help it climb up your work until you're ready to knit with it, and it won't make a big loop on the side. Would have been helpful to make it clear. 🙂 my two cents!

  • is there anyway to do this with more than two colors? like for example using red greena nd white for a cristmas scarf? and is there a way to hide the ugly edge the color change creates?

  • If I'm doing thick stripes with thick yarn would you recommend this method? Or would it be better to cut the yarn when i switch colors and weave in the ends? 

  • @Janie Goguen – that's a good question.  It's always worth a try, because it's much easier to carry the colors than to weave in all the ends.  Give it a try on one stripe…if the area where the yarn is carried ends up being too thick, you can abandon the idea on subsequent stripes.

  • I was told when I change colors to always knit the first stitch; is that true? And also something about making sure I was on either the RS or WS; I don't know which. I can never tell which is which any way.

  • How do I start out with the 2 colors? I like this technique but I'm not sure how to start it out. You have a purple tail on the left side and a yellow tail on the right. That's where I'm confused. Otherwise this video is very clear!

  • Does this technique work if you're changing colours every row but have more than 2 colours to deal with? I'm knitting a "weather blanket" that has 8 "temperature" colours, and what you do is knit a row for every day of the year, based on the colour that matches the tempoerature range for whatever city you choose. It's going to be knit on circular needles because of how large it is.

    Thanks in advance! I'm going to go look at some of your other stripe-related videos, too.

  • Can you use this technique when knitting in the round? My
    pattern uses color A for three rounds, color B for three rounds, and color C for
    six rounds.

  • When using a strong color with a lighter color do you have to do something to set the colors so they don't run if it's washed?

  • Hi there. Love your videos 👍🏻 But I haven't seen one that addresses my problem. I'm knitting a pair of 2-colour, 2 row striped mittens and I've tried two techniques for the jogless stripes. No problems with that, but no matter how I do it, the seam where the colour change takes place ends up being tighter causing an unevenness. I am now trying a third time trying to keep the seams as loos as possible but it still is pulling up. Oh, I'm using a dk alpaca on 3.5mm dpns. It would be so much easier to just show you a picture.

  • What method would you suggest for changing colors at the end/beginning of a row in a project that uses five different colors? It seems like having so many strands of yarn on the side would be confusing.

  • I have watched and re-watched this video looking for where and what you do with that twist to make the yarn work up the side so it's there when you need it. I must be stupid, because I just do not see or hear it.

  • Help! I didn’t realize this existed until I made the mistake of not carrying up the yarn. Now I have 2 loops on the side of my piece. What do you suggest I do to remedy this? Cut the yarn and weave in? Thank you for this!

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