Stranded knitting is a colorwork technique that requires switching back and forth between two colors across the length of a row or round. While stranded knitting creates wonderful stockinette designs on the right side of the work, on the wrong side, it creates “floats,” which are strands of yarn that connect the last time you used a color to the next time you use it.

Floats that are longer than an inch or so threaten to get snagged on fingers, earrings, and buttons. To avoid this problem, while you work a long stretch of stitches in one color, you should “trap” the non-working yarn halfway through the expanse, tacking it securely down, safe from snags! Here’s how you do it…

Trapping Floats | Purl Soho

With the working yarn, work half the stitches required for that color, then bring the non-working yarn over the working yarn. For example, in the photo above, the dark gray yarn is the working yarn, and let’s say the pattern requires you to knit six stitches with it. You would knit the first three stitches, then bring the non-working yarn (white) over the working yarn, ready to get trapped as you work the next stitch.

Trapping Floats | Purl Soho

Work the remaining stitches as normal with the working yarn. You’ll see that the non-working yarn got neatly tacked down by the working yarn, avoiding a long and messy strand. To continue, just pick up the next color as usual, and the float will be complete!