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How-to: Carry Yarns Up the Side

How to work: A Welted Edging

Welcome to Creative Knitting update with your Intrepid Knitwear Designer and Technique Enthusiast Meghan Jones!

How-to: Carry Yarns Up the Side

Carrying yarns up the side of the work is necessary when working stripes of two different colors, or when working with two different balls of yarn to blend a hand-painted skein. As with all knitting techniques, the most important aspect to carrying yarns up the side is consistency. Making sure to always twist the yarns around each other in the same direction will create a consistent and even edge that will blend into the work better.

Working With Two Colors

Begin by completing the rows needed before the second color change; the first color change will not require wrapping the yarns around each other. For this sample the main color is the white speckled yarn and the contrasting color is the solid peach yarn. After completing the two rows of the contrasting-color yarn it is time to work with the main color yarn again. Both yarns are located at the beginning of the right-side row with the main color below the contrasting color.

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Bring the main color in front of the contrasting color and then to the back of the work to knit across. (If the row being worked happens to begin with a purl stitch, still bring the main color in front of the contrasting color but leave in front to work a purl stitch.)

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Now the main color has been used for two rows and it is time to switch colors again; both yarns are again at the beginning of the right-side row, this time with the contrasting color below the main color.

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Bring the contrasting color in front of the main color and then to the back of the work to knit across. The consistency part is: Always bring the next needed yarn in front of the last used yarn.

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This creates an evenly twisted edge with the bottom yarn always twisting in front of the top yarn. This also creates a twist in the active yarns being used; make sure to stop every few rows, hold the yarns with the work dangling and allow the yarns to untangle.

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As you can see on the edge of this swatch, the pink and teal wind around each other going the same direction at every color change.

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The pattern you are using may require more rows worked between color changes. In this case continue to twist the yarns every two or four rows in the same direction to carry the alternate color up the side until it is needed.

Working With One Color

Why would you work this technique with only one color? The best example is to blend yarns together when there is a significant color difference between skeins. This is particularly important for hand-dyed skeins, which should always be blended this way for an even knit, even if there is no visible color difference to the naked eye. There is nothing worse than completing a project and then noticing that the skeins are slightly different with a wide stripe across the garment. This is also a technique that should be used when one of the dye lots in a set of yarn is different from the rest. Always wrapping the yarn the same way allows it to run smoothly along the edging, creating a twist that is almost invisible when working with closely colored yarns.

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Working in the Round

This example has two skeins of variegated yarn that are alternated every round to prevent flashing and pooling of the yarn. When working in the round the technique is the same: Always bring the next needed yarn in front of the last used yarn; except this time, it is behind the work. This will create a smooth twist of the yarns up the inside of the work.

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This example has two-round stripes of alternating colors, also always wrapped in the same direction for a smooth twist up the inside of the work.

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Working With Intarsia

Intarsia is a technique where areas of different colors are worked within the same row. Learning to always wrap the yarns in the same direction makes intarsia easier and more consistent, as you can see in the neatly joined sections of green and orange. The green is always below the orange on the diagonal join, making for an even and beautiful wrong side of the work.

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Hiding the Twist

It is possible to hide the twist of the carried yarns, and the solution is a simple one. Work the first three stitches of the piece in stockinette stitch—knit these stitches on the right side of the work and purl them on the wrong side. Continue to carry the yarns up the right-hand side of the right side of the work and be amazed when the curling edge of the stockinette hugs the twisted yarns into a totally concealed embrace. (Please note that this curling edge will be narrower than a garter stitch edge.) The front of the work will look like a vertical section of stitches, very similar to an I-cord edging.

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The carried twist of stitches will be just barely visible inside the curl on the wrong side of the work. For this pattern the yarns change color every 12 rows so the alternate color is wrapped every four rows to carry it up the work and avoid all those ends to weave in.

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