Intarsia in the round?

I'm making hats (and maybe mittens, but I gotta be realistic) for my niece and nephew (4 & 2) as X-mas gifts.

Today I bought two really cool variegated colors of Lamb's Pride Worsted - Strawberry Smoothie and Café au Lait.

I want these projects to be simple and fast, but I just can't force myself to simply do an inch of ribbing and then row upon row of stockinette.

I was thinking about adding and intarsia pattern in a nice sky blue that I have laying around.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to work intarsia in the round if the pattern does not repeat through the entire row?

Does anyone have any suggestions for a pattern? I was thinking about lifting one of the figures from the BMP pattern on Knitty: - I'm not sure if the parents will get it, or if aliens are appropriate for toddlers. I was thinking a snowflake...


YarnGuy716's picture

uhm, you do realize that Christmas is in 6 days? Unless you mean for Xmas '09...LOL. I would say knit the pieces in stockinette and then if time allows, duplicate stitch the graphic. There's a way to fake Intarsia in the round, it's kinds fiddly though and I've never tried it. Not what you would consider fast and simple.

Paulc510's picture

Yeah, I was thinking "they're kids, how big a hat do they need?"
Just ripped out the last 3 hours of work because it was too small.
A 4-year-old's head is probably bigger than a grapefruit, right?

Good thing this was gonna be a surprise.

Tallguy's picture

You cannot do intarsia in the round. By definition, it has to be knit back and forth. You can do it in the round, sort of, by working to a point, and then turning and working back again. So it's flat knitting, but joined, so it looks like it's done in the round. It's confusing.

You may need to do something in Fair Isle instead -- that is made for knitting in the round.

rc_in_sd's picture

The only way I can think to make intarsia work in the round is if you're doing a spiral stripe pattern that would allow you to start the contrast color within a stitch or two of where you ended on the previous row. Though as I type this, I realize that you'd still have to carry your main color behind in fair isle fashion. Never mind. ;-)

gardenguy42's picture

There are some knitters who do intarsia in the round. One of the most interesting methods I've found basically requires you to knit one round, do a "wrap and turn" like in short-row shaping, turn the knitting inside out (just pull the tube through the needles) and purl back the way you came. In effect you are doing flat knitting but joining it in the round with the wrap and turn. Here's a link to a site about intarsia hat knitting in the round that you might find helpful:,guid,8cf2545f-9ecb-4dc7-860c-c9c9bac13108.aspx

Good luck and make sure you let us know how it turns out for you!

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi