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Project info
Machine Knitting - Stitch Structures - Intarsia
Esther Kate Designs
Machine Knitting
Tools and equipment


Intarsia is a knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. As with the woodworking technique of the same name, fields of different colours and materials appear to be inlaid in one another, but are in fact all separate pieces, fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Unlike other multicolour techniques there is only one “active” colour on any given stitch, and yarn is not carried across the back of the work. When a colour changes on a given row, the old yarn is left hanging. This means that any intarsia piece is actually several disjoint columns of colour. Intarsia is most often worked flat rather than in the round but it is possible to knit intarsia in circular knitting using particular techniques.

Simple geometric shapes can be produced using a holding position technique. This is called holding position intarsia. More complicated designs will require lots of balls of yarn kept on yarn bobbins. There is an accessory to a knitting machine called an intarsia multi yarn break which holds the yarns in place as you work your intarsia pattern.


Here are some stitch patterns and project ideas:

Holding Position Intarsia Sample I
Cast on 50 stitches.
Using first Colour A.
Carriage at right.
Row counter = 000.
Hang Claw weights.
Push 10 needles at opposite end to carriage to holding position.
Set machine for short row knitting.
Always taking the yarn round the first needle in holding position on every alternate row work thus:
Knit 2 rows.
Push 1 needle at opposite end to carriage to holding position on next and every following alternate row until 10 stitches remain in working position.
Push these needles to holding position.
Using second Colour B
Carriage at left.
Push 10 needles at left of needle bed to working position.
Work 2 rows.
Return one needle at opposite end to carriage to working position on next and every following alternate row until only 10 stitches remain in holding position.
Cast off all stitches.
Finished Projects:

This is an ongoing project.

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About this pattern
Personal pattern (not in Ravelry)
  • Project created: April 24, 2013
  • Finished: April 24, 2013
  • Updated: Today