Changing colors

By all accounts, I'm rather new at knitting.  When I was a senior in college I threw out my back and couldn't move for a week.  My roommate at the time was knitting and I asked her to show me.  That fall I made a couple one color scarves for my niece.

 Now I want to make one for myself but need a lot of help.  I want to do a checkered pattern alternating purl and knit stitch with orange yarn and navy yarn.  eg: the scarf if 28 stitches wide, I'd want 14 purl orange, then 14 knit navy for 10 rows to make a squre of orange and a square of navy. Then I'd change the color to alternate.

 I've never changed color mid-row and I have no idea what this entails.  Does anyone have any advice for me? I could really use some help!

~new guy

ulf's picture

It sounds as if you should use a technuiqe called intarsia (I think)and it must be described in almost every book about knitting. Just remember to twist the strand of yarn around each other when you change coulor, other wise they will not be joined together. God luck!

I did find an intarsia video at  It would have been helpful however it did not expalin how to start.  She shows it in the middle of two colors on a diagonal.  But do I start w/ two seperate cast ons? SO confused.

I could make the squares seperate and then attach them but that's cheating :)

Anyone know how to start intarsia? 

You'll all be happy to know I have figured it out and my scarf is coming out nicely.  Once I finally finish it up I'll be sure to post a picture of it!  Thanks for your help everyone

Cosmo's picture

If you don't mind it being a little thick you should try double knitting... it's like knitting two scarves back to back so you wont have a right side or a wrong side, and it's easy.  It's perfect for knitting a checkered pattern.  here's a web site with a video on how to double knit:

 Hope this helps.

Tallguy's picture

Yes, what you want is intarsia.  And you will find directions in almost every book.

However, I have a concern about your pattern.  You want to do 14 knit, and then 14 purl.  The next row will be ---?  I am assuming you are going to do it so one square has a stocking stitch face, and the other will have a purl face?  ANd then you want to switch the colour and the knit pattern too?  If so, have you thought this through.  You do know, don't you, that this will make the edges of your scarf curl -- one side will be inwards, the other outwards.  And this will reverse with every square.

So you will need to add some sort of stabilizing border (in the appropriate colour) so it doesn't happen.

I have to agree with Cosmo and suggest that this would look terrific if you did the scarf in double-knitting.  Yes, you knit two layers at once, and they change postions being on the front or back.  Actually, there is no real front or back, but you know what I mean. Again, there are many good sites which feature instructions on how to do this.  If you have limited experience, this may really frustrate you!

Perhaps you will have more luck by doing the scarf all in garter stitch, but change colour in the middle.  That would be the simplest thing to do. 

GrammarCop's picture

I'm a knitter with not much more experience, and I taught myself intarsia from a book. The technique itself is rather simple -- just remember to twist the strands -- but it quickly gets frustrating because you're having to keep track of multiple bobbins. My intarsia pattern (check my first blog entry to see a picture of it) was fairly simple -- just three colors -- and I still needed to have five bobbins of yarn dangling while I was working on the center section.

I'm really happy with the end result, and I know it's doable for an "advanced beginner," but if you get frustrated easily or have low patience if things don't look presentable right off the bat, I'd recommend trying another pattern.