3 Ways to carry yarn in knitting
If you know carry yarn between rows you can avoid a lot of cutting and weaving in ends when knitting with two or more colors.
No matter if you’re working on a complicated pattern with stranded knitting and several colors or just making stripes in two colors.
In both cases, you will need to choose between carrying the yarn up the side of your work or cutting it which will result in a lot of ends to weave in.
In this post, I compare three ways to carry the yarn along the side of your knitting project.
Are they easy and fast to use? How do they look? And do they mess up the tension of the side?
The techniques compared are:
- Looping: To loop the yarn around the first stitch.
- Double strands: To knit the first stitch with double strands.
- Twisting: To twist the yarn strands
Carry the yarn at the start of a RS row
In the video, I carry the yarn at the beginning the right side rows for all three techniques.
This is simply because it’s most common. When knitting an even number of rows with a color you will start and end at the same side, which means the carried yarn will be there waiting for you when it’s time to change colors.
If you’re knitting flat on a circular needle you can also change colors after an uneven number of rows. Learn more about that technique here, knitting one-row stripes flat is fun!
In this case you will need to carry yarn at both sides of your work at different times and techniques 1 (looping) and 2 (double strand) will work the best.
This is because they carry the yarn at the side, while number three (twisting) carries it at the side facing away from you. That side will sometimes be the right side if you’re changing color after and uneven number of rows.
Video at the end of the post
Want to see exactly how these three techniques look and are done?
There’s a video at the end of the post where I show how to do all three techniques and how the results look!
To make this you knit the first stitch and then you stop to loop the carried yarn around the first stitch. This is done by placing the carried yarn strand between the first and second stitch from the back and towards you. If it sounds strange, watch the video at the end of the post!
Uppsides: Looping works fine, the carried yarn is secured between the first and second stitch and it looks ok.
The best with this technique is that it’s easy to keep tension. And tension is important! If the tension gets too tight on the side you carry the yarn this side will be shorter and less stretchy than the opposite side.
Downsides: I feel this way carrying yarn is a bit fiddly and interrupts my knitting a bit too much.
I also didn’t like the way the carried yarn shows from the right side. This is ok for a project where the side is hidden in a seam. But not for an item where the side will be visible, like a shawl or scarf.
2. Double strands
The second technique in this comparison is double strands. This means to knit the first stitch with both yarn strands, or all strands if you have several colors, for the first stitch.
Uppsides: The upsides with double strands are that it’s super easy to do, it’s fast, and there’s no problem with the tension.
Downside: the side where the yarn is carried can be a bit too bulky. This depends on the yarn and the number of strands.
I should say that this technique is perfect for thinner yarns and fewer strands and less good for bulky yarns / many colors to carry.
With twisting, I mean to twist the yarn strands around each other before knitting the first stitch.
Upsides: This is easy to do, it’s fast, and the tension gets perfect after a little bit of practice. And it looks great!
The carried yarn and the working yarn are twisted around each other at the back of the work. It looks very neat from the back and is completely invisible from the right side.
Downside: If you forget to check that the side can stretch when picking up a carried yarn strand to knit with it, there’s a risk that the side gets a little tight.
And the winner is…
Number three, twisting!
This is my favorite of the three ways of carrying yarn I tried before making this post and video.
Twisting is the winner because it ticked all the boxes for me. It’s easy and fast to do and the tension gets even.
But the dealbreaker is that it’s invisible from the right side and looks very neat on the wrong side. Watch the video and you will see what I mean!
Knitting Video: 3 Ways to Carry Yarn
In this video I show how the three techniques discussed in this blog post is done and how they look.
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