Colour Work Question

So, eight months after learning to knit and making a million Harry Potter scarves, too-small and too-large hats, I’m finally going to plunge into colour work. Something other than stripes, at that.

I’m starting Knitty’s Swell, but I wanted to make sure I had the right idea. When I get to the pattern, am I stranding? Because, otherwise, I have no idea how to do fair isle in the round.


You are stranding, which is fair isle. Intarsia is where you have separate strands, and isn’t generally done in the round.

There are some long stretches that the yarn has to pass; just be careful to keep your yarn stretched out on the right needle. has instructions in it’s video on catching the yarn for a long strand across the back.

Stranding is where you carry one strand/colour behind the knitted stitches. Knitty has a good article on it, also Eunny’s Endpaper Mitts - free - is an ideal first stranded project, with some hints for beginners, I think that post is called Tips, Tricks and Treats, from several months ago.

Fair Isle is a specific type of stranding, but many people don’t know the difference and use FI to mean stranded colourwork, so if you see the words Fair Isle used, be aware that it is likely to be referring to all stranded colourwork (but not necessarily).