Intarsia method

Intarsia method

When it comes to knitting, there are many ways to add interesting designs to your knitting projects. One way is through color blocking. This term is referred in the world of fashion and clothing to the technique when you make bold style statements through the combination of relatively large areas of two to three solid colors. Of course this varies when you are knitting and you are not limited to only two to three colors. 

There are many techniques to apply color blocking to your knitted garments and one of my favorites is the intarsia method. The only knitting stitches you will need are the knit stitch and purl stitch. If you don’t know the basic stitches yet, check out our tutorial to learn how to knit. 

In this knitting tutorial, I will show you the basics to the intarsia method to add beautiful color blocking to your knitting projects.

Three different intarsia patterns: a circle, a big square and little squares

The pattern


The first thing you need is your pattern. This is the design that you are going to incorporate in your knitting project. The design can be as simple or as complex as you want it. The important thing is to understand that we are working with little squares that will build our design. Think of it kinda like a pixel art. Here are some examples of patterns that you can knit with the intarsia method. 

Intarsia pattern of a light blue circle with a blue background
Intarsia pattern of little white squares with a light blue background

How intarsia method works


Essentially you will work with a different piece of yarn for every color you want to insert. You will start with your base color and knit until you have to change to your second color. This is the moment when you will introduce a new piece of yarn. Usually you would do this when you are knitting on the wrong side. 

In this simple pattern, I used two different pieces of white yarn and one piece of blue yarn.

Intarsia pattern of a blue square with a white background

This video will show you how to insert your new yarn color. Notice how when I finish with the blue yarn, I switch to a new piece of white yarn. When you are knitting with the intarsia method, you have to plan before hand to know exactly how many times you are going to need to switch colors and how many new yarns to insert.

One tip I can give you is to use small knitting yarn bobbins to hold all your different yarns. 

Next steps

I recommend you to practice with simple patterns like the ones I showed in this tutorial. It is important that you master the technique of switching yarns before you try more complex designs.

If you are already comfortable with knitting with the intarsia method, why not try to knit this beautiful cloud sweater.