EZ, she don't say that stuff for nothing...

Starting the yoke of a great stranded yarn sweater from Drops Designs has rather brought home the advice which Elizabeth Zimmerman gives in "Knitting Without Tears"


  • Don't strand yarn across the back of more than 5 stitches;
  • Don't be tempted to use more than two colours in the same row.

Now, EZ would be the first to tell you to adopt a take-it-or-leave-it attitude to her advice, but it really does make sense once you decide to set her wisdom aside.

I'm happy with the work on the yoke I've achieved so far, about one third of the design, but it definitely isn't the ideal project for one's first attempt at stranded yarn knitting. I really like the design of this pullover, so it's worth doing, but trying to manipulate three yarns with fingers that haven't quite worked out how to cope with two is proving to be a real challenge. Photos will follow of the finished article, assuming that I don't stuff it up.

By the way, I'm entranced with some of the designs for men's garments on the Drops Design website. This won't be the only one of theirs that I do.

On another subject, many thanks to those who replied to my earlier post that it looked like I was developing RSI. The wait for some yarn to arrive by mail order gave sufficient time to recover and no problems have reoccurred since.


MichaelJames's picture

Hey...great sweater you've chosen. I've made several of the Garn Studio Drops sweaters. They're fantastic and fun. I bought a pattern book of theirs before I realized that many (if not all) of their patterns are available for free on their website. It contains the sweater you're working on.
Are you at all familiar with Philospher's Wool method of two stranded knitting? I, personally, cannot stand intarsia so if I am using more than two colors, I fair isle the whole works and I "catch" the non-working colors every 3rd stitch. It's actually pretty easy. To catch the carried yarn(s), you simply wrap as if to knit with it(the carried colors) first, then wrap as if to knit with the actual working color and BEFORE you finish the knit stitch, unwrap the carried yarn and then finish the knit stitch. It will be held in place by the working yarn beautifully. Once you get your rhythm, you won't even slow down and you avoid the long carries on the inside of your garment. Did that make sense? Hope so. The key to any color knitting is always keep the same color in your right hand (over) and the same color in your left (under). When I add more colors, I move that color to whichever hand is not working at the time unless it's only for a stitch or two WITHOUT TWISTING! That's the perfect key. Did you see the box I made? That really helps, too.
Good luck. Hope some of this made sense and can help you outl MichaelJames


Britisher's picture

Hi Michael, thanks for your very helpful description of technique for carrying yarn over long stretches. I'm doing something very similar with the design I've chosen. I did see your box for holding multiple coloured yarn: it looks very organised. I'm certainly not ready to tackle the complexity of the Henry VIII design you've been working on recently. It looks amazing by the way. Three colours is definitely my limit just now, though I'm really enjoying learning the technique and seeing the results being created below the needles, albeit at a much slower speed that I can achieve with a single yarn.

MasonM's picture

That's a great looking sweater. Can't wait to see your pics.


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Britisher's picture

Thanks, Mason, I'm looking forward to post some pics once I've finished... assuming that it actually turns out to be the right shape. The decreases on a yoked sweater are quite different to the raglan sleeves I've done in the past.