Stranded Colorwork Question

Ok so I have finally got brave enough to try my first
project with stranded colorwork (just in time for the
September challenge haha). I don’t know any knitters
irl so I don’t have any examples on hand to examine. I
have done tons of research and watched the videos here
but my question is…how do I know if I have my floats
are the right tension? I know if they are too tight they will
pucker the knitting on the front so I have carefully
avoided that but I am not sure if they are too loose. They
are not hanging in big loops down the back or anyting like
that but I really have no idea what they are supposed to be
like when they are correct…it is just impossible to tell from
pictures only. Any advice?


Stretch out the stitches on the right needle when you change colors. It will prevent puckering and keep your floats flat.

If you are using wool the floats will eventually kind of felt to the back and that will keep them in place. I don’t know how to tell by looking if they are loose enough. Elizabeth Zimmermann says to avoid the impulse to have the inside look neat. I think as long as you stretch the work like Ingrid said and it is not puckering (sometimes you have to get a ways before you can see that this is happening a bit) on the outside that the inside is doing just fine.

I find that when the stranding is changing colours 1-2 stitches then the float will even itself out as long as I knit loose.

For more than than 3 stitches, knit your Colour A stitches.
With Colour B in your left hand, give the Colour A stitches that you just knitted onto your right needle a little tug to stretch them out and this will naturally pull out how much Colour B yarn you need to float behind the Colour A stitches.
Proceed to knit Colour B stitches.

It shouldn’t pucker, the back loops will be a tad loose but this allows for the fabric to stretch. If it’s wool you’re using, it will eventually felt. The only big problem is snagging them on earrings, barrettes, nose/eyebrow/lip piercing when you put it on.

Good luck and have fun!

People can describe ways to do this, but the bottom line is you are going to have to knit and find out what it feels like when the floating yarn is appropriately tense. Experience is the best teacher.
try this, helpful pictures!

Ok thanks everyone for the replies! I am pretty sure that I
have not been pulling the floats to tightly…I knit tightly and
so everytime I change colors I say to myself “ok, keep it
loose” haha… Unfortunatley it is not wool that I am using or
I would not be so concerned about the floats. I had heard
they will sort of felt into the back over time. I am making a
bag for someone else (their request even though I stressed
I was a novice) and they wanted acrylic yarn and I think
that is part of the problem…it just doesn’t behave the
way wool does and I have gotten very used to using
wool! :slight_smile: The only reason I agreed to take on this project
is because it is lined so no one is going to see the back
anyway, so it seemed like an ideal project for a first attempt
at stranded colorwork as screw ups in floats will be hidden.
I would just like to figure out how to get the floats going
nicely so that when I do attempt a non-lined project it
will look nice. It’s just practice practice practice I know!!!

The good news is, I have finally learned to knit english
style as I wanted to try the two handed method for the
two colors! I can now knit with both styles…:cheering: