How to Knit Two-Colour Intarsia

Hand-knit fingerless mitts

This tutorial is written by Andrea Grunden, designer of Eleanor Mitts. Andrea lives in Decatur, IL with her husband and three kids. Her hobbies include knitting, crocheting, spinning, sewing and all things fiber and crafty.

Colour can add a whole new dimension to a garment or knit accessory. However, some knitters find colour, especially with the word “intarsia,” to be intimidating. The idea of so many different yarns becoming a jumbled mess in the back of a piece or having large gaps appear can leave many to write off the idea altogether.

Intarsia is a method of knitting with multiple colours, but only working with one at a time to create “blocks” of colour. In essence, you work a section of stitches with one colour, drop it, pick up the next colour and continue on your way.

One of my favourite parts of my Eleanor Mitts pattern is the pop of colour on the button band. I love how the colour brings a whole new feel to the piece. This is a great pattern that lets you take a small baby step into the world of intarsia.

Two-Colour Intarsia Tutorial

Now, the process of working with two colours looks like this. I’ve knit in grey, dropped the grey strand, picked up the pink strand and continued knitting. But, you’ll see that there’s a gap developing between the two colours. That’s the gap we’re going to fix.

Two-Colour Intarsia Tutorial, Step 2

After adding the new colour for the first time, turn the work and knit towards the colour change.

Two-Colour Intarsia Tutorial, Step 3

At the colour change, pick up the new colour that will be worked, draw it under the old colour…

Two-Colour Intarsia Tutorial, Step 4

…and work the new stitch (in this instance, the next stitch is purl).

Two-Colour Intarsia Tutorial, Step 5

As the piece is worked, this process of drawing the new yarn under the working yarn will close the gap between the two colours, creating a cohesive fabric, with an eye catching colour change.

Once this intarsia skill is added to a repertoire, the world of colour becomes so much more exciting!

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