How to Catch Fair Isle Floats on the Purl Side

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Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Last Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012

Our very own Jeanne stars in this knitting instructional video demonstrating how to catch Fair Isle floats on the purl side. We hope you enjoy it!

How to Catch Fair Isle Floats on the Purl Side

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. However, there are times when fair isle and other color work is done flat and with longer color runs.

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 rings or fingers 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.

Catching your floats on the purl side is very much like catching your floats on the knit side.

To catch your floats on the purl side :

  • Step 1: Purl however many stitches you want to have in between before catching your float.
  • Step 2: On the stitch you intend to catch the carried yarn, insert the needle into the stitch you want to purl, pull the carried yarn up and hold it over the top of the needle.
  • Step 3: Work your stitch normally, crossing the working yarn over the carried yarn but be careful not to knit the carried yarn into your stitch.
  • Step 4: Bring the carried yarn back down and purl the next stitch as usual.
  • Step 5: Continue purling and catching your floats as needed or desired in your work.

Jeanne's Tip:

Make sure to space catching your carried yarn so that you do not leave too long of a float between stitches. This will make for a much nicer looking inside of your sweater, and will avoid any issues with pulled stitches later!

We hope you enjoy this article! This article and the associated photos are only for personal non-commercial use and are not for resale. All rights reserved. Permission granted by Jimmy Beans Wool and to copy and share this article for non-commercial personal use. Users do not have permission to display on any retail or wholesale website other than and without express permission from Jimmy Beans Wool.
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