Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Blue Sky Alpacas

Jogless stripes

Speaking of joining, let’s talk a little this issue about stripes!

Knitting horizontal stripes
I like stripes. I usually try to avoid placing them directly over my chest, but add them wherever I can get away with it. There are several issues to be aware of with stripes. If you join a new color in the middle of a row, the point of the join sticks out like a sore thumb – as seen in one of last issue’s images:

Joining in the middle of a row creates a “jog” where the color changes:

But if you join the new color at the beginning of a row, the color transition is smooth and the yarn ends can be hidden in the seam.

But what to do about knitting in the round? The whole point of knitting circularly is that there ARE no seams that require sewing … but also no seams in which to hide color changes. Luckily there are a few tricks to help make the color change a little less obvious.

Be sure the beginning of the row is placed so that the color changes happen in an inconspicuous area – the underside of your arm, the side of a raglan sweater, the inside of your leg for socks or leg warmers. It’s also not completely necessary that the color changes at the same point as you increase / decrease. For me the combination of color changes and shaping at the exact same point makes a bit of a mess.

Be sure to keep the stitches nice and tight when changing yarns! I struggle with this myself – but it’s worth being careful about - big loose stitches make everything look sloppier.

Try knitting the first stitch of a round with BOTH colors, the old and the new…

then once you’ve knitted a few rounds more, use the end of a needle to tug the yarn ends …

so that the old color is on the right hand side of the V of the knit stitch and the new color is to the left. This makes the color change effectively in the middle of a stitch, so that it’s a bit less obvious:

Compared to the color change happening between stitches:

You can also wait until you’ve completed one round with the new color, then lift the right half of the last stitch of the old color…

and place it on the left hand needle then knit both loops together just as you would a k2tog…

Then tighten up and adjust the stitches as above.

Another trick that helps keep the color changes from being obvious is to stagger or zig-zag the point where the color change occurs so that they don’t line up vertically:

Stripes in other stitch patterns
Another issue with stripes is making purl stitches with a new color directly over a row of the old color. All purl stitches have a bump at their base that pulls a loop of the yarn from the previous row through to the front. This occurs both when knitting flat and knitting in the round – any time that you’re making a purl bump on the front / right side with a color that is different that the row before. The problem with making a purl stitch with a new color directly over a row with the old color is that the bump at the base pulls the old color through – and looks like this:

The solution is to always make one row of knit stitches on the right / front side of your work with the new color before you launch into any stitch patterns that involve purl stitches – including ribbing, moss or purl stitch, basket weave, etc, etc, etc. so that instead of pulling the old color through, the purl stitches pull their “own color” through:

Remember also that a purl stitch is just a knit stitch reversed, so if you’re knitting a row on the “wrong” side, you’re making a purl stitch on the “right” side at the same time. Keep this in mind when switching colors in garter stitch and plan to make color changes while making a row of knit stitches on the right / front side.


designernamespacerTheresa has been doing this for a long time and thinks you probably all know who she is by now.

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