Intarsia knitting is a colorwork technique for making large areas of different colors, and it’s especially easy in garter stitch!

Intarsia in Garter Stitch | Purl Soho

Our Color Study Blanket is a wonderful example of simple intarsia in garter stitch. You can see that the rows involve two, or sometimes three, different colors of yarn. Unlike Fair Isle knitting, where the yarn is stranded across the back of the work, here you use a separate ball of yarn for each area of color. (If you have a lot of color changes in one row, you may want to wind the separate colors onto bobbins to help you stay organized.)

An important rule to keep in mind is that when you switch from one color to the other, you have to cross the yarns over one another in order to avoid holes. You can think of this as “trapping” the yarn, because by putting the yarn almost always make this maneuver on the wrong side of the work so that the right side of your work looks neat and tidy!

The following photos come from our Sideways Garter Vest project. It’s another great project to put this technique to work!

To work intarsia in garter stitch on the right side…

Intarsia in Garter Stitch | Purl Soho

Cross the old yarn (the white yarn, above) over the new yarn (blue) and knit the next stitch with the new yarn.

To work intarsia in garter stitch on the wrong side…

Intarsia in Garter Stitch | Purl Soho

Bring the old yarn (the blue yarn, above) to the front purl position and cross it over the new yarn (white).

Intarsia in Garter Stitch | Purl Soho

Bring the new yarn to the back knit position and use it to knit the next stitch.

And that’s it!

P.S. For tips on working intarsia in stockinette stitch, please visit our original Intarsia Tutorial.