Square Number Two – Deer Heads

Welcome back.

Now we get to do some colourwork.

For this square I have used a combination of the Fair Isle knitting technique and Intarsia knitting, as I have knitted the motifs as you would in Intarsia, using separate balls of the white yarn (so not carrying that yarn across the back of the knitting) whilst carrying the background colour across the backs of the motifs as you would in Fair Isle knitting.

I have included some information at the bottom of this page on Fair Isle and Intarsia.

Here is a video explaining how to start working with two colours.

If this is a technique that is new to you, my aim is to make this project achievable, so please watch it and let me know if there is anything at all that is not clear.

The next video is quite detailed with more on reading and following charts and techniques for knitting with two colours.

It’s intended to be quite step by step in nature.

The final video for this square takes you to the top of the first row of Deer Heads.

Hopefully by now you should be confident to continue working from the chart but don’t forget I am available should you have any questions.

Intarsia Knitting

Intarsia is a technique used in knitting to create patterns with multiple colours. It is possible to introduce areas of colour in any shape, size, and number.

The Intarsia technique is often used for sweaters with large, solid-colour features or ‘picture jumpers’ with designs such as fruits, flowers, geometric shapes or Christmas motifs like snowmen and robins.

Not unlike a paint-by-numbers canvas, you place the coloured stitches in an intarsia design by following a chart row by row. It is much more difficult to follow a pattern written out line by line than to use a chart for this technique.

Changing colours – When changing colours, you drop one strand of yarn and leave it hanging for use in the following row. Following the chart, work all the stitches you need in the first colour. Drop the old strand and forget about it until you need it again in the next row. Twist the new strand around the old one. Work with the new colour according to the chart. To change strands, bring the new colour up from underneath the old one. This twists the strands together, preventing holes from forming on the front of the work.

Knitting in intarsia theoretically requires no additional skills beyond being generally comfortable with the basic knit and purl stitches. It is important that your tension is even as it is easy to pull the yarn more tightly where the colours change and create uneven tension which does not look attractive.

Each area of colour in your design requires its own individual yarn supply, resulting in many strands hanging from your work. One way of keeping control of all these yarn ends is by winding a few yards of each colour onto its own bobbin.

Weave in the ends –Your intarsia fabric won’t be finished until all the ends are woven in on the wrong side, using a wool needle. If this is not done well it can spoilt the finished look of your work so take time to do it well. Because there will be so many ends to weave in, the very best thing to do is  weave them in every now and then as you work , rather than leaving them all to be sewn in after your knitting is finished.

Fair Isle Knitting

Traditional Fair Isle Knitting uses lots of colours but never more than 2 per row.


Can be used when your pattern involves small patterns with regular repeats, of typically less than 4 stitches. Yarns are worked alternately over and under each other.

Carrying the yarn across the back of the work affects the tension, making it less elastic so it is always important to swatch before you start. You will find that your stitch size is probably different than if knitting with only one colour.

To avoid problems with tension when using this technique, do not pull the strands or floats tightly across the back, or the work will pucker up.

You will use more yarn than when just knitting using one colour.

Wool works better than other more slippery fibres such as cotton.


If there are more than 4 stitches between colour changes, then the floats will become more likely to snag  when worn so the yarn will need to be woven across.


Alternatively, it is an idea to twist the working yarn every 2/3 stitches.

To do this you can try

  • Use one hand only to hold your yarn and hold one yarn at a time
  • Have one colour in each hand
  • Hold both yarns at the same time in one hand

Here are some useful tips

  • When joining a new colour, leave the end dangling at the beginning of the row
  • Be careful to turn the work so that yarns don’t twist together
  • No need to cut yarns if same ones are used in each row – carry yarn up the side of your work if you need same colour every other row

The next square will be with you on 27th August.