Today’s guest post is by Tracy Joyner, of CrochetHappy! Tracy is a great crocheter who’s always finding the best new resources and info for her fellow crafters – be sure to give her a like on Facebook for the latest updates! And today she’s put together a great article on something I personally know very little about – so I’m super excited to learn right along with you!
Hello Everyone! My name is Tracy and I’m from www.crochethappy.com!
How familiar are you with Intarsia Crochet?
I was totally and completely INTIMIDATED by Intarsia, but I hated the twisting feeling I felt in my stomach when I thought about it. So I challenged myself.
It isn’t really that hard, it just sounds complicated.
Intarsia creates a pattern that can be seen on both sides of the fabric. It does have a definite front and back side though ..
Can you tell by looking at the photo on the right which is which?
The Front side (large heart) has a cleaner, more finished look.
The Back side (Ace) looks messier .. it reminds me of a pixilated photo.
If you look real close (because this is a small-ish picture), you can see where I carried the red yarn across from one leg of the “A” to the other.
Intarsia Crochet is worked from a Charted Pattern, very much like cross stitch is.
As a matter of fact, my Intarsia Wedding Afghan is worked from a cross stitch pattern called I’m very Zen right now! by PASSIONBRODERIE77.
Let’s talk a little about how to read and follow the charted pattern because that is what can “trip you up”.
Each square on the chart equals one single crochet stitch.
Your pattern never moves. Make sure you know which is the top, right and left sides and never vary from this.
You will start at the bottom and read/follow the pattern from right to left. When you reach the end of the row, STOP .. chain 1 and turn your work.
This time you will read/follow the pattern from left to right..you will be crocheting from right to left but reading the pattern from left to right.
It’s going to be Very Important, at this point, to follow the pattern accurately. If you skip a row it will throw off the entire project.
This is my Ace of Hearts Afghan .. look closely .. the two smaller hearts/aces are supposed to be in opposite corners of the work! That is what skipping a single row of white did for me :~
Red Ink Keeps Me Sane!
This is how I stay on track with the pattern
- Finish a row
- Turn the project and chain 1
- Color in the Lines
- Make a new Line
- Straighten the Line-Up
It’s simple really. “Straightening the Line-Up” is something that won’t make sense until further down this page. Hang in there with me 🙂
Color changes are made as usual .. nothing tricky.
This VIDEO from my friend Phyllis at Many Creative Gifts makes Color Changes will give you even more information about changing colors.
Always follow this rule with your color changes: “Float” the first color behind the new color if you only need to carry it behind no more than 5 stitches. The ideal situation is to only float your yarn behind the new color if you have 2-3 stitches before the next color change.
If you carry the yarn behind to the next color change for more than 3-4 stitches, you will thicken the fabric, make your stitches taller AND you will see that other color floating between the stitches. Your work won’t look as nice.
If you have more than 5 stitches to work in the new color, cut the yarn and hide the tail. Yeah, you could do that, but personally I don’t like so many “cuts” in a project. They make me nervous.
I just drop the first yarn and leave it attached to the skein then continue on with the new color till the next color change. I connect a new skein for each color change. When you turn the work, follow the pattern and just pick up the yarn and use it for the color change when you reach that point in the row.
YES, this absolutely does create a massive tangle of yarns w/skeins attached to them. This is a photo of what mine looked like when it was ‘behaving’.
Now imagine that there are a total of 10 skeins attached at various places and that the work gets turned at the end of every row. Yes, that would be my project ‘misbehaving’.
This is where “Straightening the Line-Up” comes into play.
This is possibly the most beautiful and challenging piece of Intarsia Crochet I have ever seen ..
.. And this is a photo of this work in progress
Can you imagine the infinite patience this man must have?
Do you see his tangle of strings in the middle?
This photo is the reason I “Straighten the Line-Up” every turn or so. I admit that I do not do it with every turn .. but goodness sakes can you just imagine what he went through?
So an Intarsia Afghan is definitely not one that you want to be moving about the house or taking on the bus with you. Set it up where you plan to work on it and leave it there. My living room ottoman has been cleverly disguised as a crochet blanket for months!
As far as patterns go, the sky is your limit! Any cross stitch chart will do .. just don’t pick one that has 10 or more different colors in it!
Or, make your own! No No, I’m not talking about doing anything as skilled as using graph paper .. silly! There are online tools for making charted patterns. Check out my post HERE to find links that you can use to turn your own photos into charted graphs.
Have fun with it .. expect to make mistakes .. start with something smaller than an afghan .. don’t give yourself a deadline to finish. Enjoy the process, isn’t that why we do the yarnie things we do?
Wow! Major props to anyone who does Intarsia Crochet! A simple idea, but such dedication! Thank you SO SO much to Tracy for this great article – I know I’m inspired! Be sure to check out CrochetHappy.com for more great articles and inspiration, including her amazing collection of Online Color Tools!