Intarsia is the method used in knitting and crochet for placing large patches of colour into your fabric.

This is different to Fair Isle knitting, where colours are alternated frequently across a row and out-of-use yarns are stranded across the back of the work.

The word intarsia derives from a traditional woodwork term – it describes the process of inlaying a motif by cutting out of one type of wood and placing it into a space carved into another.


Much the same as intarsia knitting, you will need to have separate balls of yarn in use for each and every colour change across a row. Use whole balls if it’s less than three colour changes.

Alternatively, wind off small amounts of each yarn and let them hang from your work to prevent any tangles forming.


The rest is easy! Simply work to the stitch before you wish to change colour and stop one stage before the end of the stitch that you are working. For example, take the double-crochet (Dc) used on your cushion pattern…

Start by inserting your hook into the next stitch, lay your yarn over the hook and bring it through the fabric. To join in the new colour, simply wrap the new yarn over the hook and bring it through the remaining two loops on the hook. Leave the out-of-use colour hanging until you come back to it on the following row.

Now, continue to work the required number of stitches in this new colour before stopping at the last stage of the stitch before you are required to change colours, and join in the next colour in the same way.

When crocheting with different colours many of the same techniques are the same as knitting, for example taking the yarn from the centre of the ball to stop it rolling around and tangling up with the other colours.

1. When introducing a new colour at the beginning of a row or round, join the yarn just before the last movement on the last stitch completed and use this yarn to slip through the remaining loop(s).

2. If you are required to use the yarn again in the same row, you can strand the yarn loosely across the back of work, catching it every 3 or 4 stitches to hold it in place (as with the fair isle technique).

Alternatively, try enclosing the not being used yarn as you work, making sure that the second colour does not show through.

3. When working in stripes, do not break off the yarn – instead, carry the colour not in use up the side of your work making sure that you do not pull the yarn too tightly when you introduce it again.

4. If you are working in motifs (i.e. with granny squares) that are very popular at the moment, you are likely to fasten off the colour at then end of round.