Tightening intarsia

I’m making a swatch to learn how to do simple intarsia, the plan is to start with this then move onto a pattern.
My first couple of goes were quite loose, to be expected I think for a beginner. It is now getting neater.
I have watched some tutorials on tightening up the colour change, tightening 2 stitches after colour change in a knit row, and wrapping the yarn the wrong way in a purl to reduce the amount of yarn, and untwist this stitch in the next row.
This seems to work pretty well but there is something I am missing
Can you tell what I’m missing out or where I’m going wrong from the photos?
First few rows were without the tightening tips

Not too bad on the front although if I stretch it out one colour change is tighter than the other, it’s more obvious on the back that I’m going wrong somewhere

See one colour change has come out nice and neat but the other is all loose.

I’m doing stocking stitch in orange
The grey is k1, purl 10, k1 on the wrong side
And p1, knit 10, purl 1, on the right side
So every colour change have a knit-purl combination.

Thanks for any advice you have.

Usually twisting the purl stitch after a knit, then untwisting on the next row works pretty well. You might try not tightening too much on the stitch after the transition of yarn colors. Sometimes just snugging up that stitch is enough to avoid ladders between color changes or between knits and purls.
This is also something that does improve with practice. Maybe getting the tension just right or relaxing, or something inexplicable?


Thank you.
I’ll just have to keep practising.

I’m not sure that this is a tip, but it looks like the problem is to do with the order of the k and p stitches. In the first colour change that you are happy with, you’re going from an orange knit to a grey purl. My understanding is that the excess yarn is usually at the knit to purl transition. In your first colour change, the grey purl won’t have this excess yarn as it is a separate strand that you can tighten from the row below. In your second colour transition, you’re making the knit to purl transition in the same colour before the grey to orange transition and it looks like the looser stitches have nothing to do with the intarsia but with the knit to purl transition. Maybe if you focused on the last few knit stitches and the k/p transition in the grey section, you could tighten this up?
A technique (from patty I think? ) relates to ladders in magic loop but might work here? You slip the last or penultimate knit stitch in the grey section, and in the following row, you knit it in retrospect using the slipped strand. So you are always one row behind on this stitch column but you work the stitch twice in your last row (once with the strand and then again with the working yarn. It works well at taking out excess slack, more so than just pulling on the yarn , as the slipped strand is always shorter than anything wrapped.

Thank you so muchnfor this.

Yes I think you’re right. I had a niggle feeling it had something to do with the order of the stitches giving me these 2 different results.
I don’t fully understand the technique you explained. I get the bit about slipping a stitch in magic loop but I don’t thinkni understand how it’s worked on the return, what strand is used, a lifted strand picking up like a make 1 perhaps but instead of making 1 using it to produce the stitch?
I’m not sure my lack of understanding matters on that though because I’m aiming for a lace panel in the grey and I don’t really want the additional mental acrobatics required to work out how to work a lace pattern on the return side a row later, if that makes sense. I think the intarsia, lace and inc/dec for a fitted top are about my max ability at this point.
If I was doing just a flat panel like my practise piece I would certainly try out your suggested technique.

What I’ll do though is pay more attention to that k, p, switch and see if I can neaten it. Knowing that this isn’t the intarsia causing the sloppiness is very helpful. I may be able to work a couple of tighter knits just before that purl which could help.

Thanks again

I’ve found the technique! It’s called the hungry stitch, towards the end of the article and there are videos!! She does it in the round so there are 3 hungry stitches per round, but you’ll get the gist. It really is very easy to do and is very effective!!


Forgot to paste it​:rofl::rofl:

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Thank you :blush:

I don’t know much about intarsia but I remembered reading an article that mentioned alternating over- and under-sized stitches at the colour join:


Lovely colours – what are you making?

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Thank you. Yes that tutorial was great I had read it when I didn’t know how to do intarsia.
I don’t seem to be having a problem with the size of the orange which is where the knit row comes,nits all quite neat back and front, but the grey at the purl join that’s where I am still having issue.
I’ve decided to go ahead with my project partly because the front looks OK and I don’t know what else I can do to fix it and partly because I’m not even sure this is going to fit and j may need to frog all at the end. But of a risk but the is a vague plan and reason to my thinking.

I was looking at a long sleeved sweater with a lovely little cable detail on the inside arm where the seam would be. Thought it would be nice in a different colour to the main sweater. So I had to learn intarsia, which led me to looking at a simpler project where I could practise intarsia before moving on to the sweater project.
So this was for a practise!

I’m mostly following this pattern taking some of the comments and project notes into account, and making the lace in a grey panel

Progress so far, not too bad for my first intarsia. I have a provisional cast on as I’d like to go back to finish with an icelandic bind off.
I added a few rows at the bottom of the pattern as I wanted some of the lace leaf stems to Co tinie right to the bottom edge.

The yarns are the same as my last project as I’d bought enough for one top orange and one top grey but have instead made 2 tops of mixed.

Thank you for the tips I appreciate it.


Wow, that looks great! Inspiring! I must try some more adventurous colourwork.

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Oh thank you.
I was influenced by this pattern which I think looks very pretty with the 2 colours


The pattern I’m using is a free one which I thought would do for a practice… but I think I would like to do this other one at some point too.

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What a great handiwork

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Ah thanks :blush:
I may have to frog it all if it doesn’t fit, I’m taking a risk on the size!