Joining colors

When you're ready to change colors in a stripe pattern, you need to join the new color. Unless you're creating random stripes that start and stop anywhere, you usually join colors at the edge. For garments and other pieces that get sewn along the seam, you use one technique. For pieces whose edges remain open, you need to use a technique that lets you hide the join. We cover both techniques in the following sections.

When the edge is hidden in a seam

When you're ready to add a new color in a stripe pattern, secure the new yarn by working the first stitch in the row with the old and new colors held together. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the RH needle into the first stitch.
  2. Drape the end of the new yarn behind your work.
  3. Grab the old and new yarn strands together, and work the first stitch.
  4. Drop the old color and continue on in the new color until it's time to change again.

When you work back to the edge stitch made with two strands, remember to knit the strands together. Otherwise, you inadvertently increase a stitch on the edge. After you work a few more rows, pull on the strand of the old yarn to tighten up the edge stitch.

You don't need to cut the end of the old color if you'll be using it again in the next few inches. When it's time to change back, simply drop the new (now old) color, pick up the old (now new) color, and carry on.

When the edge isn't hidden

When you're adding a new color somewhere in the middle of a row or another location where you can't hide your ends at the edge, you need to weave in ends. Follow these steps to make the color switch:

  1. Insert the RH needle into the next stitch on your needle.
  2. Drape the end of the new yarn over your needle, as if to knit, leaving a 4- to 5-inch tail.
  3. Work the next stitch with your new yarn.
  4. Cut the old color, leaving a 4- to 5-inch tail, tie the new and old tails together in a bow, and continue on in the new color until it's time to change again.
  5. When you finish knitting your piece, weave in the ends (see the later section, "Weaving in ends," for directions), making sure to weave the yarns over the small hole created by adding in the new yarn in opposite directions (old yarn to the left, new yarn to the right).
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