• When knitting coloured stripes, remember that three colour patterns are more effective than two colours. Try to add even a small amount of a third colour.
• When choosing a number of colours to be used together, try to find a dark and light shade of Colour 1 and Colour 2. Don't worry if these colours do not go too well together. Then add a medium shade of a colour which goes with each of them individually to act as an accent colour to pull the first two colours together.
• Random Coloured Stripes: To create the illusion of random stripes, simply choose one more or less colour than the number of stripes in the pattern. If you want to use four colours, you will need to use a stripe pattern with three or five stripes in it. Example: with four colours, knit stripes of 4, 6 and 10 rows - knit 4 rows of Col1, 6 rows of Col2, 10 rows of Col3, 4 rows of Col4, 6 rows of Col1, etc. Each time a colour is used, it will be knitting a different number of rows than the last time. This will give a random look but your seams will match for a more finished appearance.
• If you want to use more colours than you have tension masts, consider using intarsia. You can place as many colours on the floor as you wish. Just be sure to knit your tension swatch in intarsia.
• If you plan to use a colour changer for the garment pieces, be sure to use it for the tension swatch as the tighter tension of the colour changer has a major effect on gauge.
• To invisibly weave in the ends while knitting stripes, bring 6 to 8 needles on the carriage side into hold position. Be sure the carriage is not set to hold. Remove Col1 from the feeder, weave over and under the needles and hold out of the way. Place Col2 into the feeder, hold straight down and knit across. On the side opposite the carriage, bring 6 to 8 needles into hold and weave the end of Col2 over and under before knitting the row. Cut the ends of both colours close to the knitting.
• How to seam stripes: Sewing the seam with mattress stitch by picking up two bars from the left then two bars from the right as usual will result in the stripes being one row off from one side to the other. To have perfectly matched seams, start by picking up one bar from the left then two from the right. Continue to pick up two bars on the left then two on the right for the rest of the seam. When you reach the first colour change, you should pick up two bars of the first colour on the left, then one bar of the first colour and one bar of the second colour on the right. In this way, you will have an invisible seam.
© Eileen Montgomery 1998