Yarn Color Dominance in Stranded Colorwork

Yarn color dominance. What is it? How can I control it?

When knitting with two colors, the two yarns can’t be in exactly the same place. One yarn will be carried below the other, and that makes it travel further to get to the needle. That makes the stitch just a little bit taller, and that stitch will be dominant.

Look at the photo above. On the top half of the piece, the navy stitches look a little bigger than the white stitches. On the bottom half of the piece, the white stitches look bigger.

Here’s the back of the same piece. Notice that the opposite is true. Where the navy colored stitches look bigger on the front, you see more of the white colored yarn on the back, and vice versa.

Always keep your yarns separate, and in the same order.

Usually, the yarn on your left will be dominant over the one on your right. The yarn on your right rides closest to your needle, and the yarn on your left travels from underneath to make a taller stitch. Your knitting style may make this opposite; make a little swatch and see. I’m carrying the lighter green on the left, and the darker green on the right.

Looking at the back side of my knitting, the darker color is riding near the needle, and the lighter green rides below the dark green. That makes it a little taller, so the stitch is a little bigger.

Even if you can’t remember which is “dominant,” always have the colors in the same position so your colorwork looks crisp. Make a note on your pattern so you remember which color goes on your left.

You can control which color is dominant.

On this piece, I’ve chosen pink to be my dominant color in the lower section of vertical stripes, and gray to be my dominant color in the upper section of vertical stripes. For my particular style of knitting, the yarn I carry on the left is dominant. You can pick up and drop your yarns as you work or carry one in each hand. You can even carry both in the same hand, as long as you orient one to be left and one to be right. I carry both in my right hand.

Make it work for you!

If you’re working with high contrast yarns, you can tone it down by making your darker color your dominant color. And if your yarns don’t have much contrast, you can bump it up by making your lighter color your dominant color. You’re the boss!

Related Video: Carrying Two Yarns in Your Right Hand for Stranded Colorwork


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10 Responses to “Yarn Color Dominance in Stranded Colorwork”
  1. Cyn
    Cyn

    I don’t agree with this comment/ idea. There isn’t yarn dominance unless your tension is different. Look at Arne and Carlos video about this topic. It is on You Tube. They are experts about color work with years of experience

    Reply
  2. Kristy
    Kristy

    Thank you for this explanation. It is the clearest one I’ve come across. Now I finally understand how to tell which yarn is in dominant position and why.

    Reply
  3. CAROLYNE FANTAUZZI
    CAROLYNE FANTAUZZI

    it is hard to see it in your mind., For me a vidio
    for me it is harder to see the mechanics in my mind as I have never been taught but have been reading on my own. The visual is better for comprehendsion.

    Reply
  4. Carol Baroody
    Carol Baroody

    I would like to see a video on how to work with 3 or more strands of yarn for Stranded Colorwork (Fair Isle).

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Carol. Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.
      Thanks
      Jean
      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

      Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Carol,
      Here is what our expert had to say: We don’t currently have a video for that on our website, but I’ve added it to our list for the future. I found a tutorial for that on YouTube, which you may find helpful: https://youtu.be/vEzWdMlKj_Q

      I hope that helps! Let us know if any other questions come up.

      Sincerely,
      Codi
      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

      Reply
  5. pat
    pat

    I’m sorry…. could you show an example of colour dominance? I hear about it, but have not seen it — EVER! What do you mean? Show me an example!! Prove your point!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Pat. Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.
      Thanks
      Jean
      The Knitting Circle Video Membership

      Reply