Get step-by-step instructions for how to knit with two colors, including tips for keeping your tension even and avoiding mistakes.
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Introduction to knitting with two colors
Most people who are new to knitting are only familiar with using one color of yarn at a time. But did you know that you can actually knit with two colors? This technique is called “stranded knitting” or “ Fair Isle knitting”, and it can open up a whole new world of possibilities for your projects!
In this tutorial, we’ll show you the basics of how to knit with two colors. We’ll start by covering the basics of stranded knitting, including how to hold your yarn and what types of projects are best suited for this technique. Then we’ll walk you through your first stranded knitting project step-by-step, so you can see just how easy it is!
Planning your project
When you are planning a two-color knitting project, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you will need to decide which two colors you want to use. You can choose any combination of colors that you like, but it is important to make sure that the colors contrast well with each other. If you are unsure about which colors to choose, you can consult a color wheel or ask for advice from a friend or family member.
Once you have chosen your colors, you will need to decide how much of each color you will need. This will depend on the size of the project and the stitch pattern that you plan to use. If you are using a variegated yarn, keep in mind that the colors will pool differently depending on the stitch pattern. For example, stockinette stitch will create stripes of color, while garter stitch will create a mottled effect.
Once you have chosen your yarn and decided how much of each color you will need, it is time to start knitting! When working with two colors, it is important to carry the unused color up the side of your work so that it does not become tangled. To do this, simply hold the yarn not in use along the side of your work as you knit with the other yarn.
Choosing your yarn
There are many factors to consider when choosing your yarn, including fiber content, gauge, and color. For a two-color project, you will also need to decide whether you want your colors to be variegated or Contrasting.
Variegated yarns have multiple colors within the same skein, while contrasting colors are two solid colors that are very different from each other. When choosing your yarn, think about how you want the colors to interact with each other. Do you want them to pop or blend?
Once you’ve decided on your yarn, you’ll need to choose the right needles. If you’re using contrasting colors, you’ll want to use needles that are a different size than your yarn so that one color doesn’t dominate the other. For example, if you’re using worsted weight yarn, you might want to use size 8 needles for one color and size 9 needles for the other.
Now that you’ve chosen your yarn and needles, it’s time to start knitting!
When you are ready to start knitting with two colors, you will need to cast on two stitches, one in each color. You can use any type of cast on stitch that you like, but the long tail method is a good option for beginners.
To start, make a slipknot in each color of yarn and put one on each needle. Hold the needles so that the yarn tails are in the back and the working yarns are in the front. Cross the yarn tail of the first color over the second color and hold it in place with your thumb (see Figure 1).
Then, insert your right needle into the loop of the first color (the one closest to your thumb) and knit it as you normally would. At this point, you will have two stitches on your right needle, both in the first color (see Figure 2).
The knit stitch
The knit stitch is the most basic stitch in knitting. To knit with two colors, you will alternate between the two colors with each stitch. When you are ready to change colors, simply drop the yarn you are using and pick up the new color. The two colors will twist around each other, creating a twisted rope effect.
The purl stitch
The purl stitch is the second basic stitch in knitting, and is often used in combination with the knit stitch to produce a variety of textures. If you can knit and purl, you can make your own two-color projects!
To knit with two colors, you will need one strand each of two different colors of yarn. For this example, we will use one strand of red yarn and one strand of white yarn.
1. Start by casting on your desired number of stitches using the knitted cast-on method. For this example, we will cast on 10 stitches.
2. To start the purl stitch, hold the red yarn in your left hand and the white yarn in your right hand. Insert the needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if you were going to purl it, but don’t actually do anything with the yarn ( don’t wrap it around the needle).
3. Now take the white yarn and wrap it around the needle, bringing it to the front as if you were going to purl ( see photo).
4. Finally, take the red yarn and purl the stitch as usual by wrapping it around the needle and bringing it through to the front ( see photo). You have now completed one two-color purl stitch!
5. Continue working in this manner until all stitches have been worked, then turn your work so that the wrong side is facing you. For our example swatch, we will now work ten two-color knit stitches.
Knitting in the round
There are a couple of different ways that you can knit with two colors, but the most common way is to knit in the round. This means that you will use one color for the right side of your work and the other color for the wrong side. To do this, you will need to use a circular needle.
Start by casting on the number of stitches that you need with one of the colors. Then, join the yarn to the other color and start knitting around. You will alternate between colors every row. When you get to the end of a row, just drop the yarn that you were using and pick up the other one.
You can also knit with two colors by holding one color in each hand and working both colors at the same time. This is called double-knitting.
Adding a new color:
To add a new color, drop the yarn you’re currently using and pick up the new yarn. Draw the new yarn through the loop on your needle to secure it and begin working with the new color.
Carrying colors not in use:
If you’ll be using a different color later on and don’t want to cut your yarn, you can carry it along the back of your work until you need it. Be careful not to carry it for too long, or else your work may become twisted.
Offering a multitude of ways to finish off your knitting project, binding off is one of the most essential knitting techniques. Essentially, you are “binding” the live stitches off the needle so that your work does not unravel. If you are binding off in the middle of a project, you will want to use a method that is stretchy so your work does not pucker. If you are binding off at the end of a project, any method will do.
There are many ways to bind off, but we will focus on two methods that are particularly well suited for two-color projects: the knitted bind off and the sewn bind off.
The knitted bind off is often used for projects worked in one color because it is very clean and simple looking. However, it can also be used for two-color projects. To do this, simply knit the first stitch with the first color (A), then knit the second stitch with the second color (B). Continue in this pattern until all stitches have been worked.
The sewn bind off is a bit more time consuming than the knitted bind off, but it produces a much stretchier edge, which is important if you are binding off in the middle of a project. To do this, thread a tapestry needle with yarn A and insert it into the first stitch on your knitting needle as if to purl. Then insert the needle into the second stitch as if to knit and pull both yarns through (you should now have two loops on your needle). Now insert the needle into the first loop on your needle as if to knit and pull both yarns through (you should now have one loop on your needle). Repeat this step until all stitches have been bound off.
Finishing your project
When you are ready to finish your project, you will need to cut both yarns, leaving a tail of about six inches. Fold the piece in half, wrong sides together, and use a tapestry needle to weave in the end of one yarn through the inside loops of the stitches on one side. Then weave in the end of the other yarn through the inside loops of the stitches on the other side. Trim the ends and your project is complete!