Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-24-2008, 11:20 AM   #1
1st Leg of the Journey
lisak's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 173
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via AIM to lisak
Need Help with Intarsia...or is it Fair Isle?
I've been sporadically knitting my Christmas stocking for about three years. I've never knit a stocking before and certainly have never attempted this kind of color-work.

I basically have no idea what I'm doing and am just hoping I can catch on. I don't know the difference between Fair Isle or Intarsia, so obviously I don't know how to do either! This is the pattern I am working and have gotten as far as the top of Santa's head.

Can anyone point me in the direction of some good reference materials on how to accomplish this correctly? My knitting has thrown up all over the back of the stocking and the people can't get any more squished together!

Thanks for any help! (I would post my work, but oh how embarrassing it is right now!)
lisak is offline   Reply With Quote


This advertising will not be shown to registered members. Join our free online community today!

Old 09-24-2008, 11:46 AM   #2
of troy
Turning the Heel
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: queens
Posts: 715
Thanks: 4
Thanked 287 Times in 215 Posts
intarsia is a word that comes from italian, it means 'an inset tile'

intarsia is inset color work (like a tile) a pattern that is inserted into a solid background of knitting..
Though it can also be used for multi colored mosaic tile like all over patterns.

Fair Isle (note caps!) is a style of color work associated with Fair Isle (one of the small island off the coast of scotland)

fair isle (no caps) is a term used for any sort of color work that is done in rows..

as a general rule, fail isle (with or with out caps!) is color work that uses 2 colors per row, (but there might be 6 or 8 or more colors in a design (2 rows of A & B, 2 rows of B &C, 2 rows of D & E, etc)

there are several "rules' for true Fair Ilse, (note caps) but the term fair isle is also used for lots of different kinds of all over color work.

Intarsia is difficult to work in the round...(it can be done,but not easily)

Its not uncommon for socks like yours to be knit flat (and to use intarsia) for 'leg' and to be joined into round for heel/foot/toe.
my blog I'm Oftroy on Ravelry
of troy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2008, 11:50 AM   #3
Jan in CA
Mod Squad
Jan in CA's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Southern CA
Posts: 38,161
Thanks: 1,723
Thanked 8,979 Times in 7,324 Posts
With Fair Isle (or stranded) knitting you are carrying the colors across the back of the work. It's best for knitting in the round.

Intarsia is always knit flat which is what that pattern asks you to do. The yarn is in separate balls or long pieces and you just wrap the yarns so you don't get holes, but you don't carry them across the work.

There are videos here on KH showing both.

Here's some good photos and text about how to do it, too.
These are the fair isle ones

When asking questions ALWAYS post the name and a link for the pattern if you have it.

NEW! KH knitting video archive

Jan in CA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2008, 12:05 PM   #4
Turning the Heel
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 711
Thanks: 59
Thanked 312 Times in 198 Posts
The difference between intarsia and Fair Isle is this:
In intarsia, you just knit with the other colors where needed. In FI, you carry along the yarn in the back of your work and keep the different colors going through the entire row. Actually, the name FI is used incorrectly most of the time-- true FI is a system where you only use 2 colors in each row, you change only one at a time, and after a specific number of rows. It comes from Fair Isle, which is in the North Sea. It was made popular in the 1920s by the then Prince of Wales. (Just how much did you want to know about this? ).

So here's what to do for intarsia, and when to use it:
You wind up lengths of the yarn that's going to be used for the inserted picture or design, and put it on plastic yarn bobbins, made for this purpose (these or these or these, or you can make them yourself out of stiff cardboard. Then when you come to that part in your pattern, tie on the new color and just knit for as long as you need it for, and then go back to your main color. Then just leave the picture color, and when you come back on the next row, there it is, waiting for you. If you are going to knit with the picture color for more than 3 sts, then every 3 sts, wind it around the main color yarn in back. This is called stranding, and doing this prevents long loops of the carried color, or tightening which it sounds like you may be having a problem with. When you wind it every 3 sts, just don't do it too tightly so that it won't pull on the fabric. INTARSIA DOESN'T WORK IN THE ROUND. Well, actually, there is a technique for it, where you leave it and the next round you go back and knit it and then pick up the main color again, but it is a little more complicated and since you're new at this, let's not make it more difficult than we need to . We can get to that later.

For FI:
You keep the color(s) going the entire time. This works best when there is a constantly repeated pattern, and where you are going to need the colors over and over again, like this or this You just keep both (or all, depending on how many colors) going througout the entire row, constantly stranding/twisting every 3 sts.
brittyknits is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2008, 04:36 PM   #5
1st Leg of the Journey
lisak's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 173
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Send a message via AIM to lisak
Thank You!
Thanks so much everyone!

I really appreciate the info on the differences. I don't feel so silly now and hopefully can do a better job going forward. And hopefully I won't have to sit at the computer too long and knit!

Maybe if I can finish my own, my son will get his before Christmas! ....maybe!

lisak is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Intarsia v Fair Isle prettylittlelie How-to Questions 13 03-13-2009 10:08 PM
Fair Isle or Intarsia? Crycket General Knitting 5 06-19-2008 11:46 AM
Which to Use: Fair Isle or Intarsia? rebelmuffin How-to Questions 2 08-12-2007 10:44 AM
How to start Intarsia or Fair Isle Knittens How-to Questions 1 11-18-2005 10:11 PM
Intarsia/Fair Isle Norman How-to Questions 14 11-04-2005 08:01 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:33 AM.