Two-color Knitting Tip

[Sock on left with gold carried below blue; sock on right with blue below gold]
[Wrong side of socks, showing carried strands]
Salsa Socks, by Ann Carlile
from Socks, Socks, Socks, Elaine Rowley, ed.
Anne Feitelson, in her book, The Art of Fair Isle Knitting (page 57), states that in two-color knitting it makes a difference whether the background color or the foreground (pattern) color is carried below the other color. She says that the rule in Shetland is that the foreground color is carried below the background in order to increase the prominence of the pattern.

As it happened, I was working on a pair of multicolored socks at the time I read this, and had done one sock one way and one sock the other. In the photos at left you can see the difference in the gold and blue checkered design.

In the sock on the left I carried the gold background color on my left hand, where it rode below the blue pattern color carried on my right hand. The gold is clearly more prominent, and separates the blue squares. The lower photo shows the wrong side, where the gold strand is below the blue strand for each row.

In the sock on the right, the blue was carried on my left hand and rode below the gold. The blue pattern is more prominent. Notice that the corners of the blue squares merge together.

Many people carry both colors on the same hand when doing two-color patterns, but still one color always rides above the other.

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Judy Gibson
Descanso, California