Stranding is used for small regular repeats of different colours and involves picking up the yarns alternately over and under one another across the row. Here we show how to strand on purl rows.
Fair Isle patterns, which use the stranding method to carry yarns across the back of the fabric are knitted in many colours, but there are never more than two colours in a row, which makes the stranding technique the perfect method for this style of colour work.
Stranding one-handed (purl stitches):
You will need to strand on purl rows as well as knit rows when working a piece of colourwork fabric in stocking stitch. Purl to the position of the next colour.
Drop the working yarn and bring the new colour over the dropped yarn.
Work the required number of stitches in the new colour.
Drop the working yarn and pick up the new yarn, taking it under the dropped yarn.
Purl in the next colour making sure that you keep the stitches well spaced on the needle so you are not tightening the tension of the yarn too much across the back of the stitches.
Repeat this process of stranding the colours by taking the yarn over and under the working yarn as you change colours. Make sure that you keep stretching the stitches out on the needle slightly as you take the new yarn across the back of the stitches.
When you reach the end of the purl row, on the wrong side of the fabric, the loops of yarn should be an even length and stranded neatly across the blocks of colour.
On the right side of the stocking stitch fabric the blocks of colour should have an even tension so there is no puckering of the stitches caused by the tension being too tight and the strands of yarn pulling across the back of the fabric.
Stranding across the back increases the thickness of the finished fabric slightly.