When I first started knitting with more than one yarn I was doing ‘Fair Isle’. Nowadays it is more likely to be called ‘stranded knitting’ for several reasons. Mainly it’s because that’s what we’re doing when we knit this way – stranding the yarns as we knit one or more stitches with one then the other yarn in the same row. And while the knitters on Fair Isle were doing lots of stranded knitting there were others from many places all over the world also stranding their yarns to make distinctive, colourful and versatile garments and items as they went.
There are also many different ways of doing stranded knitting and many different names for the techniques. I learned the English ‘throw’ way and in doing so learned to carry one yarn ‘over’ the other as I went when doing ‘Fair Isle’. This seemed to keep the tension more regular and the back of the work neater. I’ve had a few goes at knitting the Continental way but have never persisted long enough to describe any tips that might be helpful with learning how to do Woven Garter this way.
In the not too distant future I hope to have some pictures, and possibly videos, on this page to illustrate the methods described below. In the meantime I hope these descriptions might be useful enough ………………..
Experienced knitters among you who have done other stranded techniques will recognise that doing Woven Garter is no different. Except of course that there are no purl rows and you are doing one stitch at a time with either yarn,
Drop Yarn Method
This is a good place to start for those of you who have only ever knitted with one yarn. Don’t forget too that the Internet is a wonderful source of really good You Tube knitting videos. Put phrases like Knitting with Two Colours, Fair Isle Knitting etc into you search engine and I reckon you’ll have a good chance of finding one that suits you.
Knit the first stitch with Yarn A. Let it drop, pick up Yarn B from under Yarn A and knit the next stitch. It’s very tempting to pick Yarn B up and place it over or above Yarn A before knitting the stitch – this will twist the yarns and give a different look.
Drop Yarn B, pick up Yarn A take it over Yarn B and knit the next stitch. Continue
alternating the stitches Yarns A and B this way to the end of the row. As you get more confident try this next method – it should be faster once you get the hang of it.
One Yarn in Each Hand Method
Some beginning stranded knitters find this one the easiest once they get going. I’ve noticed many knitters in New Zealand who have Scottish knitting heritage do all their stranded knitting this way.
In this method Yarn A is held in the right hand over the index finger and Yarn B is held in the left hand, again over the index finger. With this method there is no having to remember to keep Yarn A above Yarn B and so forth. When Yarn A is in action the right index finger guides the yarn over the left needle as usual then the left index finger guides Yarn B round the needle from left to right to make the next stitch.
Two Yarns in One Hand Method
In this method you carry both yarns together in your hand without dropping either. Before starting the row I put my index finger under Yarn B and above Yarn A while holding both yarns loosely with the 4th and 5th fingers. I guide Yarn B under Yarn A and round the needle to make the first stitch. Then I turn my wrist a bit and gently scoop and guide Yarn A over Yarn B and round the needle and continue on thus to the end of the row.
The Two Yarns in One Hand Method is very similar to the Drop Stitch Method but in this one the 4th and 5th fingers are holding the yarns allowing you to work with whichever Yarn is up next – the other one awaits its turn instead of being dropped! Another way is to have Yarn A over your index finger and Yarn B over your third finger. This works well too but I suspect it’s a bit tougher on our wrists.