About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mad for Plaid: Double-Stranded Intarsia

An unpublished design by Theresa Schabes.
Yarn: Rowan Kid Silk Haze
While I am not a fan of intarsia knitting to make plaid fabric, I am a big fan of two-stranded intarsia.  In this variation, two strands of yarn are held together and the plaid is created by dropping one of the strands and continuing on with a strand of a different color.  By both changing color across a row and by swapping out the non-changing color every few rows, you end up with a fabric that most closely simulates a finely woven plaid fabric.

#18 Checkerboard Hat by Theresa Schabes
from 60 More Quick Knits
Two-stranded intarsia works especially well with mohair or mohair blend yarns because the haze allows better blending of the colors.  Thinner yarns are recommended for this technique because you are using a doubled strand.  Put these two recommendations together, and you'll understand that Rowan Kid Silk Haze, or its equivalents from other manufacturers, is my favorite yarn for this technique.

For me, the biggest challenge to two-stranded knitting is working with the many strands of yarn, since there is a yarn for each vertical column of color.  While many knitters use bobbins (small plastic clips with yarn would around them), I prefer to cut long pieces and frequently join ends.  While both bobbins and long ends will tangle as they are wound around each other (required by the technique), at least the long ends can be pulled loose.  And, although I am often joining ends, mohair blend yarns respond very well to my favorite joining technique, spit-splicing.

To make two-stranded intarsia a more visually sophisticated fabric, I like to combine it with the applied crochet technique.  Looking closely at the shawl design at left, the gray and white background is worked as double-stranded intarsia, while the contrasting orange stripes are horizontal stripes and vertical applied crochet chain.  In the next post we'll cover applied crochet chain, which is such a great technique for creating plaid.

Gait's Hair Shawl by Theresa Schabes

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