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How to Catch your Floats in Fair Isle Knitting

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Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Last Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012

Our very own Jeanne stars in this knitting instructional article about how to catch your floats in Fair Isle knitting. We hope you enjoy it!

How to Catch Your Floats in Fair Isle Knitting

Traditionally, Fair Isle only uses two colors on any given round and is only worked in the round. Floats are not usually caught because their colors runs are never more than 5 to 7 stitches.

Many knitters prefer to catch their floats to maintain a tidier wrong side and to keep the floats from becoming troublesome later or catching on your fingers or rings when you pull on your sweater. Other times when you may need to catch your floats are when there are longer stretches of more than 7 stitches between color changes.

When you catch your floats, your carried yarn will be caught by your working yarn, behind the stitches without showing on the front. You can catch your float every other stitch or every 4th or 5th stitch. Jeanne prefers every 4th or 5th stitch.

When you are carrying one color in each hand as Jeanne does in this video, catch floats as follows:

If the color you are catching is in the right hand, proceed as follows:

  • Step 1: Insert the needle into the stitch you plan to catch your back float on.
  • Step 2: Bring the color you intend to catch forward and around the needle.
  • Step 3: Bring the color you are knitting with forward and around the needle.
  • Step 4: Return the carried yarn back to it's orginial position.
  • Step 5: Bring the color you are knitting with through to finish the stitch. You should have caught the other color in the back of the stitch but it should not show in the front.

If the color you are catching is in the left hand, use the following steps:

  • Step 1: Insert the needle into the stitch you plan to catch your float on.
  • Step 2: Bring the carried yarn slightly forward so that it rests on the back of your needles and wrap the color in the right hand behind the carried yarn and around the needle, knit the stitch normally.
  • Step 3: Return the carried yarn back to it's orginial position.
  • Step 4: Knit the next stitch normally.
  • Step 5: Continue alternating in this fashion as needed across the row.

 
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