Question: I knitted a jumper with a stegosaurus on the front for my daughter’s nephew, but I was a bit disappointed as it looked tight around the dinosaur picture. I’m a bit concerned as I want to knit another motif jumper now – but, what can I do to get the tension over the picture right?
Answer: It sounds like the yarn you were carrying across the wrong side of your work, when you weren’t using it, was too tight. It can be very easy for yarn to become too tight when it’s stranded over a large area.
One way you could avoid this picture-jumper tension problem is using the intarsia method. To do this, you need small, separate balls of yarn for each of the coloured areas. You don’t carry the yarn across the wrong side. Instead, each block of colour is knitted as required and the yarn is crossed over where it joins the next colour to stop holes forming. And, when you’ve finish, the ends can be weaved in along the joints. I think intarsia is by far the best way to work motifs as the knitted fabric is no different from fabric knitted using only one colour, and it’s economical.
Another way to avoid tightness around the motif is to weave in the stranded yarn. You need to catch the carried yarn every few stitches with the working yarn. Just place the stranded yarn over the yarn you’re working with, then continue for 3-5 stitches. Now cross the stranded yarn again, only this time bring it from under and over the working yarn. This method will make your knitting double thick with a slightly uneven surface, and uses much more yarn than the intarsia method.
Or, you could combine these methods: work big areas with separate yarns, but strand the yarn over smaller areas (remember to allow enough yarn across the stranded stitches).
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