Technique of the Week: Locking Floats & Approaching New Techniques

Kyle Kunnecke, author of Urban Knit Collection, designed a gorgeous collection of knitting patterns inspired by the art and architecture of city life. In the pages of this beautiful book, Kyle shares his technique for locking floats with easy-to-follow step-by-step illustrations. It comes in handy when working the more elaborate colorwork projects in the book. I asked him to share his approach to locking floats and learning new techniques. —Kerry

savoycardigan_3There’s a new (old) technique in town, and if we have crossed paths in the past year or two, chances are I’ve sung the praises of how this method of locking floatsstranded knitting creates a fabric that’s beautiful on both sides.

The truth is, there’s no real “secret” to this method. Securing the floating (unused) yarn is something knitters have been doing for centuries. Locking the unused yarn more often (and consistently) is what makes my knitting so even, and makes the back of the fabric look woven. As you practice this technique, here are a few tips to consider:

1. There are no mistakes. Okay, yes, there are mistakes. Dropped stitches, yarns that twist . . . when I’m working out a new skill or stitch method, I
allow myself a place to experiment. For me, swatching is a lot like sketching or doodling. Give yourself time to learn this different way of manipulating the yarns with a swatch and once you feel comfortable, carry your new skill to a project.

2. Break it down. The process for locking floats (or casting on, or making i-cord) is a series of steps, just like a cooking recipe. It’s often helpful to break down the process into a series of steps.

3. Don’t panic. Yarn all tangled? Stitches wonky? Something go awry in your work and you just can’t see what happened? Perhaps taking a five-minute break is a good idea. In those moments when we freak out, we can make decisions that aren’t productive. Allow yourself some time to get away from the project until you can regroup. Then, when you return, you can look at what’s happening and see how to undo whatever it is that isn’t right.

locking floats4. Can’t never did nothing. I hear my mom’s voice telling me this every time I tell myself I “can’t” do something. The reality is, if you take time, study, and practice, you can do anything in knitting. Believe in yourself, and erase those discouraging words from your mind.

5. Time vs. difficulty. I mention this in my book and it’s worth repeating—there’s a difference between something taking time, and something being difficult. The act of knitting takes time.

We invest in beautiful yarns, study patterns, and spend hours upon hours enrobed in our craft because we love to knit. We love the feeling of being able to make things for others. We love the opportunity to engage in a craft that has been around for centuries. We love connecting ourselves to local businesses or sharing a success story with online friends because of our shared interests. Give yourself the time you need to learn skills that enhance this craft you are so passionate about. It’s not that difficult.

About the Author
San Francisco designer Kyle Kunnecke has a not-so-secret passion for colorwork. Tirelessly creative, he puts himself to sleep at night dreaming of new design concepts, collaborations, and outreach projects. Through his fiber workshops, he provides inspiration to his students, exploring the skills necessary to continue their personal knitting journeys. His patterns are published in numerous knitting books and magazines, by yarn companies, and under his label, Kyle William.

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