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Friday, 30 January 2015

TUTORIAL - Intarsia

You will remember that I embarked on the Honey Honey Cushion from Winter Knitting a few weeks ago, and this is now (pictorial evidence below!) off the needles and on to the blocking boards. All that this needs is some trusty mattress stitch to produce beautiful, professional seams and some buttons.

I enjoyed the interesting cable pattern which carried me weaving and meandering up the front of the cushion, but was happy enough to knit the much simpler back. The result is a wonderful texture that looks stylish and sophisticated in the rich berry yarn - a lovely interior accent that would look perfect in my living room . . . had I not already decided to gift it to a very precious friend.

I have discovered the thing about knitting cushions is that they are really rather addictive! Since finishing the Honey Honey Cushion, I've been enchanted by the new Valentine's Cushions and cast on 'Big Love' as soon as the patterns were ready.

The intarsia heart on the front of this cushion made me itch to try a little bit of colourwork and experiment with my colour combinations. I would 'heartily' recommend this as a great project for an improving knitter who wants to learn the intarsia technique in a simple and manageable way. Honey Cushion
My Honey Honey Cushion from Winter Knitting is almost done!

Intarsia is a very effective way of adding blocks and shapes of different colours to your knitting, and once you have mastered the 'wrapping' of the yarn at each colour change (which is imperative to avoid holes in your work), it's also a simple and enjoyable knit. The tutorial below demonstrates the method for wrapping the yarn on the knit or Right Side of your knitted fabric, and on the purl or Wrong Side

The important thing to remember is that each separate block of colour on your knitting will require a separate ball of yarn. For more complex designs with many colours across each row, you can use bobbins to wind on a small amount of yarn which will keep it tidy and less likely to get tangled. For the Big Love Cushion I need only 3 balls at the beginning - 2 of the background colour (1 on each side of the heart) and 1 of the heart colour. When I reach the top of the heart, I will then need 3 balls of the background colour (1 either side and one where the heart splits in the middle) and 2 for the heart itself.

Wrapping on the Knit/Right Side
1) Knit to the point that you need to change the colour

2) Insert the needle into the next stitch. Bring the new colour of yarn (shown here in teal) up under the old colour (berry) and knit it with your new colour.

3) The back of the knitted fabric should look like this with a 'seam' that looks almost as if it has been stitched

Wrapping on the Purl/Wrong Side

1) Purl to the point where you need to change the colour

2) Insert needle into the next stitch and bring the new colour (shown here in berry) up under the old yarn (teal) and purl the next stitch

3) Continue along the row using the 'new' colour (you can see the teal yarn is left here until it is needed at the same point in the next row)

Big Love is proving to be a very satisfying knit, and quick one too. I've almost finished the front and as the back is largely stocking stitch I'm aiming to have this on the blocking mats in a couple of days. You may have noticed that my 2 cushions are pleasingly coordinated in berry and teal which makes them a very handsome pair. I have a feeling that my lovely friend is going to be receiving a matching set for her birthday!

(posted by Max)

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