Color intarsia worked in the round

Color intarsia worked flat is not uncommon. I believe, that many knitters worked it once or twice in his/her’s knitting life. Intarsia is a technique when colorwork is done in blocks as in opposite to repetitive colorwork patterns. One of the main characteristics of intarsia is that there are no long floats of the yarn and when the color is changed, yarn threads are twisted together to connect the color blocks and avoid holes.


Why intarsia worked in round is not so common?

When you finish working the round, each thread remains in the end of each color block - if you look from the right side of work - on the left edge of the block. When you work the wrong side of your knitting, you work to the next color block, find the yarn thread there, twist it with the previous color thread and continue on.

When we knit in round on the next round we come back to the relative beginning of the round - looking from the right side - on the right edge of the color block. And we realize that the thread we need is actually on the left edge of the block - across from the point where we need it.

But is it still possible to work intarsia in round?

Yes, with small cheat additional step. Actually intarsia in round is intarsia worked flat and artificially joined in round in the end of each row.

In my cowl Quiet Barents Sea I use the yarn over method: in the beginning of each row additional yarn over is made (before first stitch), and in the end of row it is worked together with te last stitch (by knitting or purling together - depends on the stitch pattern). How (in)visible is the joining depends on practise, I didn’t yet manage completely invisible join. Yet it is still less visible as sewn seam.

How does it work?

I will use cowl Quiet Barents Sea as an example.

  1. Cast on stitches using provisional cast on with a crochet hook.

  2. Work the Setup row, dividing the stitches for color blocks. Do not join in the round.

  3. Work the Row 1 (Right side) as stated in written instructions or in Chart to the last stitch in the row and the last instruction is ssk. While working twist the yarn when changing colors.

color_intarsia_in_round_2 Just before the joining in the round for the first time

At this moment I divided the stitches on my needles for the magic loop knitting.

Note! Before you join the knitting in the round, please check that stitches are not twisted (in same way as you always do before joining knitting in the round).

  1. Work together the last stitch with te yar over as ssk. It is important, so the last stitch is “on top” in the knitting.

  2. Turn the work (we will proceed working from the wrong side) and let’s continue wit cowl’s Row 2.

The joining place after blocking:


Happy knitting,