Patchwork, yarn carry? ANOTHER?

I am just beginning a patchwork dress for my DD. It has a pattern of squares that are not knit seperately (as in no seams in between) so I am not sure what to do about the yarn. Do I have to drag it acrossed the back all the way to the end and then back again until it is time for that color again? or just a bit into the next square? just wrap it with the next color once? hmmmm, any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Chris

Could you post a pattern name, pic or link so we have a better idea of what the garment looks like? There are different ways to achieve a ‘patchwork’ effect.


Here is a picture from the magazine I got the pattern from. I’ve wanted to make this dress since I got the mag in 1997 :aww: LOL Back then I thought I’d make it for my God daughter and never did (I was intimidated) and now that my own DD is 4 I better do it.

I chose slightly different colors so I am excited to see it but since I am making a sz 6 it will take me a while.

The pattern gives me instructions for “block row 1: follow chart 1 for 21 st, chart 2 for 21 st etc”

You’ll want to do that intarsia style, with a strand for each block. Amy had video, and there are lots of good instructional sites if you google intarsia.

OK, I have been working on this and I am wondering if you could help me figure out what I am doing wrong. All is going OK but it seems like the parts where I have to carry the yarn in the back (like the checkerboard and the bear face) are kind of bunched? Am I carrying it wrong in the back? Is there a trick to keeping it from seeming kind of bunched up? THANKS

You shouldn’t be stranding the yarn across the back. Doing intarsia means those areas are worked, usually with a bobbin but you can use a separate skein, and the result is blocks of color…no strands. By stranding the ‘floats’ are pulling across, creating tension.

ETA: some good pics here

Not sure what the blue/pink(?) image is you posted but here is site with both RS and WS of heart done in intarsia. Note the absence of the stranding.

In a small area, where using a sep skein or bobbin isn’t justified, and you feel the need to strand, floats should be worked into the back of the foreground color stitch every few sts so the floats are minimal and the tension remains the same as the main color. (You have long, tight floats on the back of portions of the color block image.)


Not the best example, or pic, of the back side (WS) of adjoining blocks.

Oh, I get it. I was thinking that I was doing intarsia style for the big blocks because they are all different colors but that the blocks with the same colors within the block just 7-10 stitches away that I could carry it or wrap it in the back every 3-4 stitches. But I guess not since even doing that seems to be bunching (the checkerboard I started just hanging to all 7 and then decided I should wrap it every few but it didn’t seem to change much and the bear’s face I did bring it along every few but still bunchy).
The thought of cutting my yarn all up and having even more than the 9 strands I already have getting tangled didn’t appeal to me but if that is the only way to keep it from bunching I guess that’s what I’ll be doing.

I’ll got check out those links.

I could carry it or wrap it in the back every 3-4 stitches

You can do this so long as you incorporate the unworked yarn into the worked st in such a way that the tension that remains constant for both. From your pic it doesn’t look as tho the floated yarn is actually part of the worked st (some wonky ‘loops’ appear) and the floats look too taut.

If you plan to do stranding, best to practice on a swatch so you get a feel for how to adjust your tension. Stranding also results in thicker areas due to the doubling of the yarn and that can cause it to protrude…when compared to the adjacent areas which are only worked single.

A good article on Knitty here re: floats, stranding, fabric weight, etc. More info on Fair Isle but good pic on WS of floats that have been worked correctly.


If you use the little bobbins that people use to store cross stitch cotton on let it hang about a foot or less and strand the yarn in the little slot on the bobbin so it does not unravel then you don’t have long bits of yarn hanging getting tangled up. I hope I explained that right. knit your few stitches and then unravel a little as you need it.

cute dress.

Thanks for the advice, the articles you gave me and videos here were very useful. Do you think that I could save these already done sections by cutting my long loops in the middle and tying/weaving them in or is that too big of a risk since they are so short and if I really dislike it I would need to frog it? (which of course I won’t do, I’ll just make this the back of the dress and try to improve on the rest of it)

Do you think that I could save these already done sections by cutting my long loops in the middle and tying/weaving them in or is that too big of a risk since they are so short

Given how short the pieces I wouldn’t opt to cut. (Altho you’d have slightly longer pieces to weave on the ‘bear’ than the checks.) No guarantee your weaves or ties will stay and you can’t undo the cuts. As the Knitty article points out, better to have floats that are too long than too short. How far into the piece are you? Perhaps you could fold it in half, widthwise, and fill with pillow form? Just not sure you would be happy with this as part of garment, be it front or back.


Well I am not really very far by what others may think because it doesn’t look like much but it has been weeks of knitting for me so it feels far to me ykwim? I think what I will do is to set this whole section aside and start on the other side of the dress and when I have finished that side I can decide if I want to start this part over. That way I still feel like I am moving ahead and haven’t lost weeks of work if I am farther removed fromthat work it may be easier for me to restart it.

thanks again, C