How to change colors when knitting

How to change colors when knitting

Knitting is a versatile craft that allows you to create beautiful and unique garments and accessories. One of the techniques that can add visual interest to your projects is changing colors. Whether you want to create stripes, color blocks, or intricate designs, knowing how to change colors when knitting is essential.

Changing colors in knitting may seem intimidating, especially for beginners, but it is actually quite simple once you understand the basic steps. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of changing colors in your knitting projects.

First, choose the colors you want to incorporate in your project. You can use different shades of the same color for a subtle effect or contrasting colors for a bold look. Once you have your colors selected, you will need to decide how you want to incorporate them into your knitting. You can create stripes, color blocks, or even more intricate colorwork patterns.

When you are ready to change colors, start by finishing the last stitch of the old color. Then, take the new color yarn and make a slipknot at the end. Insert your right-hand needle into the next stitch as if to knit, but instead of using the old color yarn, use the new color. Pull the new color yarn through the stitch to complete the new stitch.

Continue knitting with the new color until you reach the desired length or pattern variation. To carry the unused color, simply let it hang at the back of the work and pick it up again when you need it. You can also practice weaving the yarn as you go to avoid loose ends, especially in stranded colorwork projects.

Overall, changing colors when knitting allows you to add depth, texture, and visual interest to your projects. With this step-by-step guide, you will be able to confidently incorporate color changes into your knitting projects and create stunning finished pieces.

Tools and Materials

Before you begin changing colors in your knitting project, you will need to gather the following tools and materials:

  • Knitting needles: Choose the appropriate size for your yarn and project.
  • Yarn: Select different colors of yarn depending on the color changes you want to make in your project.
  • Tapestry needle: Use a tapestry needle with a large eye to weave in the loose ends of your yarn.
  • Scissors: You will need scissors to cut the yarn when changing colors.
  • Stitch markers: Stitch markers can be helpful to mark specific stitches or sections in your knitting.
  • Pattern: Have a pattern or project instructions that indicate where and how to change colors.
  • Row counter: A row counter can be helpful to keep track of the number of rows or rounds.

Once you have gathered all the necessary tools and materials, you will be ready to start changing colors in your knitting project.

Choosing Colors

When it comes to knitting, the colors you choose can significantly impact the final look of your project. Whether you’re knitting a scarf, sweater, or even a small accessory, selecting the right colors can make all the difference. Here are some tips to help you choose colors that will complement each other and create a beautiful finished piece:

  • Consider the purpose: Think about the purpose of your knitting project. Are you knitting something for yourself or as a gift? Will the item be worn or used in a specific setting or occasion? Understanding the purpose will help you select colors that align with the intended use.
  • Look for inspiration: Get inspired by looking at different color combinations. You can find inspiration in nature, fashion, home decor, or even art. Notice how different colors work together and try to replicate those combinations in your knitting.
  • Try contrasting colors: One way to make your knitting project visually appealing is by using contrasting colors. Contrasting colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange or purple and yellow. Using contrasting colors can create a vibrant and eye-catching design.
  • Consider the season: The season can also influence your color choices. In the spring and summer, you might be drawn to bright and cheerful colors, while in the autumn and winter, you might prefer warm and cozy tones. Take into account the season when selecting colors for your knitting project.
  • Think about the recipient: If you’re knitting something for someone else, consider their preferences and personality. Choose colors that you think they will enjoy and that suit their style. This personal touch will make the gift even more special.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment: Knitting is a creative process, so don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new color combinations. Sometimes unexpected color pairings can result in stunning projects.

Remember, choosing colors for your knitting project should be a fun and enjoyable part of the process. Take your time, trust your instincts, and have confidence in your color choices. Happy knitting!

Basic Color Change Technique

Changing colors in knitting can add visual interest and create beautiful patterns in your project. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change colors:

  1. Start by knitting with the first color until you reach the point where you want to change colors.
  2. When you’re ready to change colors, bring the new color yarn up from underneath the old color, leaving a tail of about 6 inches.
  3. Hold the old color yarn and the new color yarn together, and knit the next stitch using both yarns.
  4. Continue knitting with the new color yarn, leaving the old color yarn hanging loosely at the back of the work.
  5. If you have a long stretch of one color, you can carry the yarn up the side of your work by twisting the two colors together every few stitches.
  6. When you’re ready to switch back to the old color or a different color, simply drop the current color yarn and pick up the new color yarn.
  7. If you want to hide the color change, you can weave in the loose ends of the yarn later using a tapestry needle.
  8. Repeat these steps as necessary to create your desired color patterns.

Remember to practice and experiment with different color combinations to achieve the desired effect in your knitting projects. Have fun!

Stripes and Color Patterns

One of the most exciting ways to change colors when knitting is by creating stripes and color patterns. This technique allows you to add visual interest and variation to your project.

Choosing Colors:

When selecting colors for your stripes or color patterns, consider the overall look you want to achieve. You can choose colors that complement each other, create a bold contrast, or even create a gradient effect. It’s important to experiment with different color combinations to find what works best for your project.

Creating Stripes:

Stripes are created by changing colors at regular intervals. To create stripes, simply knit with one color for a few rows or rounds and then switch to a different color. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired stripe pattern.

Color Pattern Techniques:

There are several techniques you can use to create more complex color patterns:

  1. Slip Stitch: This technique involves slipping stitches in a different color to create a textured pattern. It’s an easy way to add interest to your knitting without having to carry multiple colors along each row.
  2. Fair Isle: Fair Isle is a popular colorwork technique that involves knitting with two colors in the same row to create intricate patterns. This technique requires you to carry the unused yarn across the back of your work.
  3. Intarsia: Intarsia is another colorwork technique that involves knitting with multiple colors in separate blocks. Unlike Fair Isle, the yarn is not carried across the back of the work.

Charting Your Pattern:

Before you start knitting your color pattern, it’s helpful to create a chart to guide you. A chart visually represents the color changes in your pattern and helps you keep track of your stitches. You can use graph paper or specialized knitting software to create your chart.

Experiment and Have Fun:

When it comes to knitting with color, the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different color combinations and techniques. Remember to have fun and enjoy the process of creating beautiful and unique color patterns.

Intarsia Technique

Intarsia Technique

The intarsia technique is a method of knitting that allows you to create intricate color patterns and designs by knitting with different colored yarns. Unlike other color-changing techniques, such as stranded knitting or fair isle knitting, intarsia involves using separate balls or bobbins of yarn for each area of color.

To get started with intarsia knitting, follow these steps:

  1. Choose your colors: Select the colors you want to use for your design. Make sure you have enough yarn of each color to complete your project.
  2. Prepare your yarn: Wind each color of yarn into its own separate ball or bobbin. This will help you keep your yarn organized and prevent tangling as you work.
  3. Create a slipknot: Start with one color of yarn and create a slipknot. Insert your knitting needle through the slipknot, leaving a tail of several inches.
  4. Knit your first row: Use the slipknot to start your first row. Knit across the row with the first color of yarn, following your knitting pattern or chart. When you reach the end of the row, cut the yarn, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later.
  5. Join the next color: To switch colors, insert your knitting needle into the next stitch with the new color of yarn. Leave a tail of several inches to weave in later. Continue knitting with the new color, following the pattern or chart.
  6. Continue knitting: Repeat steps 4 and 5 as necessary to complete your color pattern. Remember to always leave a tail of yarn to weave in later when changing colors.
  7. Weave in ends: Once you have finished knitting your color pattern, weave in all the loose ends of yarn to secure them and give your project a polished finish.

Intarsia knitting can be a bit more complex than other color-changing techniques, but with practice and patience, you can create beautiful and intricate designs in your knitting projects.


  • Always keep your yarn organized and untangled by using separate balls or bobbins for each color.
  • When joining a new color, be sure to leave a tail long enough to weave in later. This will help secure the yarn and prevent unraveling.
  • Take extra care with tension when changing colors to ensure an even and consistent fabric.
  • Practice intarsia knitting on a small swatch or practice project before attempting a larger design.
  • Have fun experimenting with different color combinations and patterns to create unique and personalized knitting projects.

The intarsia technique opens up a world of possibilities for adding color and design to your knitting. Give it a try and see what beautiful creations you can make!

Fair Isle Technique

Fair Isle Technique

The Fair Isle technique is a popular method for incorporating multiple colors into your knitting projects. It is named after an island in Scotland, where this technique is believed to have originated. Fair Isle knitting involves using two or more colors in a row, creating beautiful and intricate patterns.


  • Main color yarn
  • Contrasting color yarn(s)
  • Knitting needles
  • Tapestry needle


  1. Choose your main color yarn and contrasting color yarn(s) that you want to use for your Fair Isle design.
  2. Begin knitting with the main color yarn using your desired stitch pattern.
  3. When you reach the point where you want to introduce the contrasting color, hold both the main color yarn and the contrasting color yarn in your right hand.
  4. With your right-hand needle, insert it into the next stitch as if to knit and wrap the main color yarn around it.
  5. Instead of completing the knit stitch, drop the main color yarn and pick up the contrasting color yarn, wrapping it around the right-hand needle in the same way.
  6. Complete the knitting stitch by pulling the contrasting color yarn through the stitch loop on the right-hand needle.
  7. Continue knitting with the contrasting color yarn for the specified number of stitches or until you want to change colors again.
  8. To switch back to the main color yarn, repeat the same process as before, but this time with the main color yarn.
  9. Carry the yarn not in use along the back of the work, catching it in the stitches when it’s not in use to prevent long floats.
  10. Repeat these steps to create your desired Fair Isle pattern.


  • Tension is important when working Fair Isle knitting. Make sure to keep an even tension between the two colors to avoid pulling or puckering of the fabric.
  • If you’re new to Fair Isle knitting, start with a simple pattern and gradually work your way up to more complex designs.
  • Practice carrying the yarn not in use along the back of the work to prevent it from tangling or getting caught.

By following these steps and practicing the Fair Isle technique, you’ll be able to create stunning and colorful knitwear with intricate patterns.

Duplicate Stitch

Duplicate stitch, also known as Swiss Darning, is a technique used in knitting to add color and design to a finished piece. It is especially useful for adding small details or intricate patterns to a plain knitted fabric. The duplicate stitch is worked on the right side of the fabric, following the existing stitches as a guide.

To start the duplicate stitch, thread a tapestry needle with the desired color of yarn. Identify the stitch you want to duplicate and insert the needle from back to front, going through the center of the stitch. Bring the needle up to the front of the fabric through the center of the stitch you want to duplicate.

Once the needle is brought up through the center of the stitch, loop the yarn over the needle, just like making a knit stitch. Pull the needle through the stitch, keeping the tension similar to the surrounding stitches. This will create a new stitch on top of the existing stitch.

Continue working the duplicate stitch following the pattern or design you want to create. It is important to keep the tension consistent with the rest of the fabric to ensure a neat and even result. If you want to change colors, simply cut the yarn, leaving a tail to weave in later, and re-thread the needle with the new color.

Duplicate stitch is a great technique for adding initials, motifs, or decorative patterns to your knitted projects. It is a simple and versatile way to personalize your work and make it truly unique. Plus, it gives the illusion of stranded colorwork without the need to carry multiple yarns along the back of your knitting.

Overall, the duplicate stitch is a handy technique to have in your knitting toolbox. It allows you to easily introduce color and creativity to your projects, even after they are completed. So, go ahead and give it a try – you’ll be amazed at the beautiful designs you can create with just a needle and yarn!

Finishing Touches

After completing your color change, there are a few finishing touches you can do to ensure a clean and polished look.

  1. Weaving in Ends: To hide the loose ends of your yarn from the color change, use a yarn needle to weave the ends into the stitches on the backside of your work. Make sure to secure the ends so they don’t come undone.
  2. Blocking: Depending on the type of yarn and stitch pattern you used, blocking might be necessary. Blocking involves wetting your finished piece and shaping it to the desired dimensions. This can help even out any tension issues and give your work a professional look.
  3. Seaming: If you’re working on a project that requires multiple pieces to be sewn together, such as a sweater, make sure to seam the pieces together neatly for a seamless look. You can use techniques like mattress stitch or whip stitch to accomplish this.
  4. Adding Embellishments: If you want to add some extra flair to your project, consider adding embellishments like buttons, beads, or embroidery. These small details can elevate your knitted piece and make it truly unique.

Remember, the finishing touches can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your knitted project. Take the time to complete these final steps, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully finished piece.


What is color changing in knitting?

Color changing in knitting refers to the process of switching from one color of yarn to another while knitting a project.

Why would I want to change colors when knitting?

Changing colors in knitting allows you to create more intricate and interesting designs and patterns in your knitting projects.

Can I change colors in the middle of a row?

Yes, you can change colors in the middle of a row. To do so, you will need to join the new color yarn and continue knitting with it.

How do I change colors when knitting?

To change colors when knitting, you first need to finish the last stitch of the old color. Then, you will join the new color yarn by knitting the first stitch with it. After that, you can continue knitting with the new color.

Do I need to cut the yarn when changing colors?

No, you do not need to cut the yarn when changing colors. You will carry the unused color yarn up the side of your work until you need it again.

What are some tips for changing colors smoothly?

Some tips for changing colors smoothly in knitting include twisting the yarns together when changing colors, ensuring that the tension is consistent across color changes, and weaving in the yarn tails securely when finished.


How to do double knitting – Getting started, changing colors, the best selvage, etc

How to change colors in crochet: A step-by-step guide

Correct Way to Change Yarn Color in Crochet: Beginner Course: Lesson #7

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