Tutorial: knitting intarsia in garter stitch

Usually intarsia is knitted in stockinette stitch (every front side stitch is knit, every back side stitch is purled). In most cases it’s not neccessary to make a beautiful or reversable back side when knitting stockinette stitch because you will not see it anyway. That is why it’s possible to just twist the yarns at the transition points and go on. This is totally adaptable to garter stitch intarsia IF you knit straight lines and no diagonal patterns.

It all get’s complicated if you want to to the diagonal lines. If you use the twisting only the backside will look untidy at the back side when leaningto the left and on the front side when leaning to the right. This is caused mainly because of the nature of the purl stitch. If you work a knit stitch over a purled one in two different colors you will see, that the line get’s  kind of broken. The feet have the new color and the “bumps” have the old color. Usually to avoid this you would purl one row with the new color over the old purl row and knit with the new color then. The problem is you can’t do it in garter stitch, because knitting every row is the nature of this stitch and that includes knitting over purl rows.

So here is my way doing the garter intarsia. I wanted to achieve that on both sides the lines look the same no matter which direction they’re leading. The front lines never the less look a bit different than the lines on the back.

So here we go:

First take a marker and pin it to the right side of your front side. It’s very important to know where your front and back is and this can be mixed up easily in garter stitch. If you mix it up your line will not look the same on every side.

Tipp: Slip every first stitch of a row. This compliments the garter stitch and makes a clean border. It’s also helpful to pull the thread tight at changing points before you continue knitting.

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Knit the last stitch of the back row with your contrast color (CC). Turn your work.
Stricke die letzte Masche der Rückreihe rechts mit der Kontrastfarbe (KF). Arbeit drehen.

 

 Leaning to the left

If you look on the front side, the line where the color changes leans from the bottom right to the top left.

On the front side:

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Knit the first stitch of your front row with CC. Change to main color (MC). Go through the next stitch as if to knit.
Stricke die 1. Masche der Vorderseite  rechts mit KF. Wechsle zur Hauptfarbe (HF). Führe die Nadel durch die nächste Masche wie zum rechtsstricken

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Make sure you put the needle below the MC yarn. Wind the CC yarn around the needle.
Achte darauf, dass die Nadel auch unter dem HF Faden ist. Wickle den KF um die Nadel.

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Knit the stitch. Knit to the end of the row with MC. Turn work.
Stricke die Masche rechts ab. Stricke rechts bis zum Ende der Reihe mit der HF. Arbeit wenden.

On the back side:

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Knit to the first CC stitch with MC. Put the MC thread in front of the needles on top of the CC thread.
Stricke mit der HF bis zum Wechsel der Farben. Lege den HF Faden nach vorn über dem KF Faden.

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Take the CC thread and put it behind the needles. This way the two threads get twisted.
Lege den KF hinter die Nadeln. Auf diese Weise werden die beiden Fäden verkreuzt.

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Knit the next stitche with CC. Turn your work.
Stricke die nächsten Maschen mit der KF. Arbeit wenden.

This is what you repeat when doing the left leaning color change. Basically you take the thread of the main color to the next stitch inside the contrast color stitch so it will not show a bar at the back of the knitting.

Going straight up

This is the easiest way. If you want to try out intarsia, do this first. You twist the yarn every row.

On the front side:

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Knit with CC to the changing point. Lay the CC thread on top of the MC thread.
Stricke rechts mit der KF bis zum Wechselpunkt. Lege den KF Faden über den HF Faden.

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Take up the MC thread and knit to the end of the row. Turn your work.
Nehme den HF Faden auf und stricke rechts bis zum Ende der Reihe. Wende die Arbeit.

On the back side:

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Knit to the changing point with MC. Put the MC thread over the CC thread. Then knit with CC to the end of the row.
Stricke rechts mit der HF bis zum Wechselpunkt. Lege den HF Faden über den KF Faden. Stricke mit der KF rechts bis zum Ende der Reihe.

Leaning to the right side:

The left leaning line increased the contrast color on the front side. The right leaning line increases on the back side.

On the front side:

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Knit with CC to the changing point. Lay CC thread over MC thread. Pick up your MC thread and knit to the end of the row.
Stricke rechts mit der KF bis zum Wechselpunkt. Lege den KF Faden über den HF Faden. Stricke rechts mit der HF bis zum Ende der Reihe.

On the back side:

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Knit with MC to the changing point. Take the CC thread and place it over the needle behind the loop of the next stitch.
Stricke rechts mit der HF bis zum Wechselpunkt. Lege den KF Faden über die Nadel direkt hinter der nächsten Masche.

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Go through both the loop of the next stitch and the CC thread you put behind the stitch as if to knit.
Gehe mit der Nadel durch die nächste Masche und den dahinter gelegten Faden wie zum rechtsstricken.

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Knit with MC.
Stricke die Masche mit der HF rechts ab.

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Lay the MC thread to the side facing you. This is very important!
Lege den HF Faden nach vorn. Sehr wichtig!

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Knit with KC to the end of the row. Turn work.
Stricke rechts mit der KF bis zum Ende. Arbeit wenden.

So why should you do this in garter stitch when stockinette is obviously the easier way to go with intarsia?

1. garter stitch is reversible which is perfekt for scarfs.

2. garter stitch does provide a flat surface with no rolling rims. Perfect for jackets, scarfs, small accessories.

3. garter stitch has an interesting texture and is a little bit thicker (and therefore warmer) than stockinette stitch.

4. If you hate purling, garter stitch is you soulmate.

knit-intarsiagarterstitch

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