How to Knit a Two-Color Pattern

    by Helen Harvey

    About the Author

    Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.


    Knitting patterns often feature the use of two or more colors of yarn, particularly Norwegian and Fair Isle styles, where intricate patterns are achieved through the use of different colored yarns. Once you have mastered basic knitting stitches and pattern reading, you can try more complex patterns that involve two yarn colors or more. Start practicing by making a simple garter stitch scarf with stripes in alternating colors, to help you perfect your yarn switching technique.

    Things You'll Need

    • Size 8 knitting needles
    • Worsted-weight yarn, color A and color B
    • Scissors
    • Darning needle

    Cast on sufficient stitches for the width of scarf you want using color A. Using size 8 needles and worsted-weight yarn, four stitches generally equal about 1 inch.

    Knit in rows until the stripe is the width you desire, finish with an even numbered row. With garter stitch, even numbered rows represent the back or the wrong side of the knitted piece.

    Pick up color B. Leaving a 6-inch tail, start knitting your next odd numbered row with it.

    Work in color B until the stripe is the width you desire. If you are knitting narrow stripes less than 1 inch wide, you can leave the two yarns attached to the piece you are knitting and pick each up on subsequent alternate rows. If you are knitting wider stripes, cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail at the end of each stripe.

    Weave in tail ends of yarn as you go. Thread a darning needle with the tail of the yarn and weave the needle through the back of a few stitches to secure it. Trim off excess yarn.

    Alternate stripes until you have knitted a scarf the length you want. Scarves are generally between 60 and 70 inches long.

    Drop color A on the wrong side of the project and continue knitting with color B, if your pattern requires you to change colors anywhere other than at the start of a row.

    • Patterns that require multiple colors are a great way to use up leftover yarn from finished projects, providing that the yarns all have the same washing properties.


    • "The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques"; Margaret Radcliffe; 2008

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images