Beginner's Guide to Knitting Intarsia

February 03, 2021 2 min read 0 Comments

guide to intarsia knitting

Are you looking for a new technique that is fairly simple to execute and looks amazing? If you want a bit of a challenge and some pops of color, intarsia may be your new favorite knitting project. Variegated yarn is awesome, but you can't control where the colors change or how they lay. Intarsia knitting allows you to create and control your own color patterns. 

What Is Intarsia Knitting?

Intarsia knitting is a method where a number of colors are used; however, a separate length of yarn is used for each area of color. Whereas typical color blocking involves different yarns being carried at the back of the work, intarsia is more of an inlaying process. Any color or pattern can be used, but you won't strand the unused colors across the back. 

When I was a child I had a favorite sweater. It was an intarsia sweater with a perfect row of plaid scottie dogs. It was colorful and sophisticated and fabulous. That was the beginning of my love for the intarsia technique.

Guide to Knitting Intarsia

Intarsia is a fairly simple technique, but requires planning because every color in your garment requires a different strand. The technique works best to create large-scale pictures or shapes. The purpose of intarsia is to form limited blocks of color that will only appear on certain parts of the garment. When you want the color sections clean and distinct, intarsia is the proper technique. 

As an example, if you are knitting a brown teddy bear onto a pink baby beanie, you will knit back and forth in rows. When you change colors, the two different colored strands will be twisted around each other. To accomplish this, drop the color you are currently knitting and pick up the new color from under the old color and continue knitting.

When you get to the edge of the bear, drop the pink and pick up the brown. When knitting back along the row, pick the pink back up and keep working. If you want to add some detail, like a black nose or eyes, embroider them on at the end with a duplicate stitch. 

Free Intarsia Patterns

We found a few intarsia patterns for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. If you are excited about getting started with intarsia knitting, here are a few options:

Amplitude Cowl. This cool cowl, knitted in a color blocked sinus curve, is a perfect pattern to practice your intarsia technique. Choose any two colors that work for you and get started.

Snowmass Intarsia Tee. If you are looking for a vibrant, classic look, this tee is a great intarsia project. Bold stripes and a diamond pattern require a bit more experience with the intarsia technique. 

Girl's Stockinette Argyle Dress. This darling, year-round dress will become a fan favorite with the little girl in your life. Intarsia colorwork diamonds are what make this dress pop. 

With a new technique to try, you are now able to knit colorful and complex images in your knitting. Have you recently knitted an intarsia knitting project?



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