Stranded Knitting with Both Hands

Stranded knitting is fun, but you lose a lot of time switching which yarn is in your picking/throwing hand at any given moment. It is possible to save that time and hassle by carrying a different color in each hand (even if you’re knitting with more than two colors, this will still save you some time). This is one of the more advanced techniques I’ve shared on Feel Good, but a good one to have in your arsenal.

To begin with, it helps if you are familiar with both a left-handed and a right-handed style of knitting, such as Continental and English. The links go to Youtube videos if you are not but are willing to learn. I generally knit Continental, but was initially taught English, so I had a head start here.

wip

Once you have a left- and right-handed knitting style, decide which of your two colors is the background color. With many charts this will be obvious, but in some fairly even charts you will have to make an arbitrary decision. Hold this yarn in your right hand. The pattern color then goes in your left.

two-handed

This means  the right-hand yarn will be under the left when knitting, and thus get pulled toward the back of the work just slightly. The left-hand yarn, in turn, will “pop”. If you turn the work over (or inside out) you’ll also notice that the right-hand yarn has just slightly longer and more visible floats, even in stretches where both colors have the same number of stitches. This is what causes the right-hand yarn to pull and recede on the public side.

floats

When working with both strands at the same time, you will have to get used to holding the yarn and the needle in your hand at the same time. Don’t worry, it’s only awkward for the first few rows until the technique works its way into your muscle memory. Keeping one ball of yarn on each side of you helps too. As a bonus, it really helps reduce the tangling that seems so common with stranded work!

While this is not a technique for beginners, I’ve found it well worth the effort. I hope you will too!

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Good explanation! The most I carry is 5 yarns: 3 in my nondominant hand and 2 in my dominant. Of course when I stop paying attention I might have some untangling to do! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Sounds like a recipe for disaster for me so I admire anyone who can..

    Reply

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