2 easy ways to knit with two colors

Martingale's Knit & Crochet Friday

Knitted scarf from Knit One, Stripe Too(Left: scarf from Knit One, Stripe Two)

Here’s an easy technique to add to your knitting repertoire: two-color knitting!

If you know the basics of knitting, you can master knitting with two (or more!) colors. Following are two easy ways to add a second color to your knitting, from the bestseller, A to Z of Knitting.


Method #1: Knitting Horizontal Stripes

From A to Z of Knitting

Working horizontal stripes is the easiest way to add different colors to your knitting. If you work each stripe with an even number of rows, you will be able to carry the yarns up the side of your knitted piece as you go, avoiding the need to cut them and weave in the ends.

1. Cast on the desired number of stitches. Work the required number of rows with your first yarn color. Join in a new yarn, and do not cut off the yarn you have just been using.

Two-color knitting 1

2. Work two rows of the second stripe. Leave the first yarn dangling.

Two-color knitting 2

3. At the beginning of the third stripe, pick up the first yarn. Twist it once with the yarn you just used.

Two-color knitting 3

4. Continue working the third stripe. Twist the yarns after every second row, as in step 3, even if the stripe is more than two rows of knitting.

Two-color knitting 4

5. Continue working rows and carrying the yarns up the side of your knitting.

Two-color knitting 5

Find other techniques for knitting with multiple colors—including Fair Isle, intarsia, weaving, embossing, and entrelac—in A to Z of Knitting.

Method #2: Use Self-Striping Yarn

Using self-striping yarn is an easy way to knit two or more colors into your project. Amazing colors and patterns will show up naturally as you knit. If you use a pattern that is specifically designed for self-striping yarn, the striping effect can be even more pronounced. Check out these projects from Knit One, Stripe Two that make the most of self-striping yarn:

From Knit One, Stripe Two From Knit One, Stripe Two From Knit One, Stripe Two

See all 27 projects designed for self-striping yarns in Knit One, Stripe Two, available as an eBook instant PDF download on ShopMartingale.com.

Which do you prefer: stripes, color-pattern motifs, or solids? Tell us in the comments!

8 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I like knitting with solids because the patterns show up so nicely.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on January 30, 2015
  • Years ago, I wanted to knit a Fair Isle sweater, but wasn’t fond of dropping one color yarn and picking up the second color yarn. I had always knit with the yarn in my left hand–it was the way I was taught–so I taught myself to knit also with the yarn in my right hand, and then I made that Fair Isle holding one color in one hand and one in the other. I’m just now finishing up a pair of mittens for my college-age son, and did a little color work for added warmth, and found I could easily pick back up the skill of right-hand knitting for that second color. It’s a fun trick to learn and have up your sleeve for when you’re doing patterned knitting!

    —Carol on January 30, 2015
  • It all depends on the project. With clothing or with elaborate stitches I like solids, but with simple stitch scarves and throws I like stripes, whether self-striping yarn (I like to use sock yarn for scarves) or multiple skeins of solids. I recently crocheted a lap throw using partial skeins of multiple solid and variegated yarns, changing yarn every 2 rows, repeating the sequence until the yarn was gone. The effect was something of a "Monet’s afghan" with an underlying structure and a profusion of color.

    —Jane on January 30, 2015
  • I’ve always worked with solids. Years ago a relative made beautiful Christmas stockings for my kids that had Santa faces and the kids’ names on them. The different colors of yarn were carried along on the wrong side of the work resulting in multiple loose strands on the inside of the stockings. I had no idea how it was done and never tried to figure it out but I recently ran across an article on intarsia and I’m so intrigued! One of these days I’ll get my courage up enough to try it!

    —Carol on January 30, 2015
  • I decide what I want to knit, then decide if it should be solid, striped, or multi pattern. I do all of these, because I enjoy all kinds except just knit and purl. That seems boring and seems to take longer. The newer multi-shaded yarns work well for scarves ans mittens.

    —Norma on January 30, 2015
  • when my children were young i used to make jumpers with pictures on so i used lots of different colour wools….. now i love some of the new multi shade yarns they make interesting colourways in less time.

    —Suzanne Keal on January 30, 2015
  • I love knitting with variegated yarns. It’s fun to see the patterns emerge! Sometimes, though, the effect seems too harsh or the colors bunch up badly. Then I add a solid color every two rows or so and it really tames the pattern down to a usable state!

    —Linda Towers on February 1, 2015
  • I prefer odd numbers of color rows, so to avoid lots of weaving, work with 3 colors–2 solids and a variegated–and start them on different sides of the scarf. This way it easy to pick up a color after 3 or 5 rows, or even 1, and easily have a color ready to go next.

    I fall in love with variegated yarns. They are pretty and already color coordinated, but have found out (after knitting a ways) that solid colors used with them need to have enough contrast between the solids and variegated. I do enjoy the variety in the color changes while knitting or crocheting. Simple pleasures.

    My favorite trick for working with variegated yarns, to avoid pooling problems, is to either work rows from alternate ends of the ball. Or, search out the odd dye lots in the yarn bin and use those alternately after first starting from different locations in the color changes.

    —Laurel on February 2, 2015

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