Solutions for Knitting Stripes

knitting stripes

Knitting stripes isn’t always as easy as it seems; here are solutions for two of the most vexing stripe issues

Knitting stripes seems like it should be one of the easiest ways to make a project multicolor (aside from using variegated yarn). And, in theory, this is true. But in practice, it can be a little tricky, especially when you’re knitting narrow stripes.

Wide stripes truly are easy (as long as you’re knitting flat… but we’ll get to the trouble with circular stripes in a minute). Stop knitting one color, break yarn, start knitting another color. That yarn tail can easily be woven into the wide stripe, and voila.

Narrow stripes, however, can be a little trickier.

Number one, it’s more difficult to weave an end into a narrow stripe. Number two, well… let’s be real here, who wants to weave in all those ends? (And of course, if you break yarn in a project that often, it could lead to instability at the edges.)

And then there’s circular knitting with stripes. Have you ever heard of the dreaded “jog”? The photo linked here will show you what I mean. You see that slight jag where the beginning of the stripe meets the end? Looks a little weird, doesn’t it?

So we have two problems with knitting stripes: the dreaded jog, and changing colors in narrow stripes. Fortunately, these two issues have solutions. Let’s discover them!

Changing Colors for Narrow Stripes

The best way to change colors when you’re knitting narrow stripes is to carry the yarn, rather than breaking it.

(You can do this with wide stripes too, really, but you might want to wait until you become a little more comfortable with this technique first. It is easier to use with narrow stripes.)

What you’ll want to do is twist your new color of yarn around your previous color right before you start knitting the new color. That will help secure the former color and ensure it is where you need it when you’re ready to start knitting that color.

If you’re not sure what I mean, no worries. Here are a couple of tutorials to give you a hand. The first is a blog post that contains a video; the second is a video (which will start playing when you click the link, so be sure you won’t disturb anyone!).

New Stitch a Day: Carry Yarn Up

Knit Freedom: Twisting Yarn Up

Be sure to switch colors at the right side (not the wrong side), and be sure to twist and carry the yarn up the side, even when you’re not changing color, to make sure that when you are ready to change color, the yarn is where you need it.

Taking the Jog out of Stripes Knitted in the Round

Now we come to our second problem: the dreaded jog. I’ve seen several ways to solve this problem, but I think the easiest way is the simplest. It simply involves slipping the first stitch on the second row of your stripe.

Here are two tutorials to show you how it’s done. One is written; the second is a video.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip: Jogless Stripes

Howcast’s How to Knit Jogless Stripes in the Round

There you have it — the two biggest issues with knitting stripes, solved. Got any more questions about knitting stripes? Be sure to let me know – we can answer them together!

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  1. When I knit stripes in garter stitch I do the change over colour row as k1 p1 rib.
    This then looks the same both sides.