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How to Knit Colored Stripes

Knitting colored stripes is a quick and easy way to get started in color work. Colored stripes allow you to use as many colors as you please while working with only one color at a time.

While knitting different colored stripes can be a lot of fun and an opportunity to let your creative juices flow, there are a few things you need to be able to do before you jump in:

  • Picking colors: You can knit stripes in as many colors as you like. Use color at random or plan for a particular mood in your color combination.

    Patterns with multiple colors use a standard set of abbreviations — MC (main color); CC (contrasting color); A, B, C, and so on for patterns that use more than two colors

  • Counting rows: When you knit stripes, you count rows (or if you’re knitting in the round, you count rounds) to keep track of the stripe’s width. For example, knowing that a stripe spans 7 rows and counting as you go is easier and more accurate than getting out the tape measure.

    Odd and even rows affect where the yarn ends up — whether it’s right there where you want it or at the opposite end of your knitting.

  • Joining colors: When you’re ready to change colors in a stripe pattern, you need to join the new color. Unless you’re creating random stripes that start and stop anywhere, you usually join colors at the edge.

If, before diving in, you want to get an idea of what a stripe pattern may look like knitted in a specific group of yarns, try wrapping samples of the yarns in the proposed pattern around a stiff piece of cardboard or a cardboard toilet paper roll for a sneak preview.

You can look for a striped project pattern and follow the sequence, colors, and spacing given in the design; or you can use the stripe pattern as a template and plug in your own colors and yarns. If you’re in a spontaneous mood, gather your yarns together and start knitting, changing yarns as you feel like it.

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