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Managing Long Floats in Fair Isle Knitting

Tacking Long Floats

When working a stranded pattern, you never want to carry the non-working yarn across the back of the work for more than about 5 stitches, or whatever constitutes about a inch at your gauge.

To help shorten the floats while maintaining good tension, "tack" these long floats to the wrong side of the work.

Step 1. Knit 2 or 3 stitches with MC (2 stitches shown in illustration), insert the right-hand needle tip into the next stitch on the left-hand needle, place the non-working yarn (in this case, CC) over the right-hand needle (Figure 1), then knit the stitch with the working yarn (in this case, MC) as usual.

Step 2. Lower the non-working yarn and knit the next stitch to trap the non-working yarn against the back of the fabric (Figure 2). As with any stranded pattern, keep the floats nice and loose against the wrong side of the knitted fabric.

**Here's an extra special tip for you: I use the tacking technique to weave in ends as I knit all kinds of projects, color knitting or solid knitting! When you join a new ball of yarn, just weave it in for 1 1/2 to 2 inches using the tacking technique. Cut off the excess yarn, leaving about a 1/2-inch tail. You can clip off a little more after you block the piece. I've found that this method of weaving in works best with worsted-weight and smaller yarns. It can elongate the stitches a little bit because you're adding bulk as you're knitting the stitch, which is especially noticeable when using larger-gauge yarns.

This tip is compliments of Kathleen Cubley
editor of Knitting Daily

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