QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Q What does it mean when a pattern says to ‘make bobbins’ for intarsia knitting? How do I actually do that?
Maria Wilson, via email
Bobbins are small balls of yarn pulled from the main ball that contain enough yarn to work each block of colour in an intarsia pattern. Ideally, you want the perfect amount: not too short or you’ll need to tie more in when it runs out, and not so much that you have lots of yarn left over that might go to waste. You can make an estimate about how much yarn you’ll need by measuring the width of your stitch in cm, multiplying this by the number of stitches in a certain block, and that number by three (as stitches take about three times their width in lengths of yarn). Wrap the yarn around a bobbin and tie it so it doesn’t unravel. You can buy wooden and plastic bobbins or make your own with sturdy card. Alternatively, follow the steps below to wind the yarn into butterflies. To prevent tangling, unravel small amounts of yarn at a time to knit the stitches in a row, then rewind it close to your work at the end of the row.
The dog on this jumper from issue 88 of Simply Knitting is knitted in intarsia
3 Pull the yarn from the centre of the bobbin (not the knotted end) a little at a time and keep it as close to the work as possible to avoid tangling.
2 Remove yarn from fingers and cut the yarn. Wind yarn end around the centre of the figure of eight and secure tightly with a knot.
1 Wrap yarn around two fingers in the form of a figure of eight.
Projects which use the intarsia method look like this from behind