Managing Yarn in Colorwork
In color-stranded knitting, the stitches alternate colors based on a charted pattern. Both yarns travel across the entire width of the knitting, taking turns being used. The nonworking yarn trails, or strands, behind the stitches of the working yarn. The nonworking yarn may strand for a single stitch or several stitches, depending on the pattern; then the yarns trade places and the first yarn is stranded while the other yarn is worked. Knitters who hold just one yarn at a time must drop the old yarn and pick up and tension the new yarn at every color change, a process that can be slow and tedious and make some knitters shy away from color patterns altogether. However, knitters who can hold and tension both yarns at the same time can work this type of color pattern quickly and easily.
There are two predominant styles of knitting: English, in which the working yarn is carried in the right hand, and Continental, in which the working yarn is carried in the left hand. Each style can be used with two strands of yarn, or you can combine styles and hold one yarn in each hand. Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to keep the same tension on each yarn for even stitches.
Download our Beyond the Basics article Working with Two Yarns, and learn how to manage your yarn in stranded knitting.