Trapping Long Floats

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Sometimes when working stranded colourwork we find ourselves carrying long floats. Allowing the yarn to float across 6 or more stitches can lead to problems with tension and snagging, and it’s ideal to trap them to avoid any problems. I suggest trapping the yarns every 3 to 6 stitches, depending on the length of the float, it’s not necessary to do it every stitch.

The yarns can be trapped by twisting them however that’s a little cumbersome, especially when you’re using the two-colour yarn management method – at some point you have to untwist the balls of yarn to prevent tangling. Using this method of trapping long floats we can do it seamlessly whilst we knit and avoid unnecessary tangles.

This tutorial is written with the two-handed colour management method in mind where we are using the Continental picking method with the yarn in our left hand and the English thrower method for the yarn in our right hand.


Trapping the right hand yarn as we pick

1) To trap the right hand yarn, we want to catch it behind the left hand yarn as we knit.
2) Insert the needle knitwise into the next stitch.
3) Bring the right hand yarn around the needle as if to create an English style knit stitch but do not pull it through or slip the stitch off.
4) Take the needle around and under the left hand yarn, as if to make a Continental style knit stitch. Again, do not pull it through.
5) Then take the right hand yarn up whilst holding the left hand yarn in place.
6) And take the right hand yarn underneath the needle to the back and over the left hand yarn.
7) Then complete the Continental knit stitch with the left hand yarn by pulling it through the stitch and slipping the stitch off the needle.
8) The yarns will now be crossed and the right hand yarn will be held behind the left hand yarn as you knit the next stitch – this prevents the floats from getting too long.

Trapping the left hand yarn as we throw

9) To trap the left hand yarn, we want to catch it behind the right hand yarn as we knit.
10) Insert the needle knitwise into the next stitch.
11) Gently manoeuvre either the left hand yarn or the needle so that the left hand yarn sits across the needle.
12) Then bring the right hand yarn and wrap it around the needle, as you would to create an English style knit stitch.
13) Then pull the yarn through – under the left hand yarn and through the stitch, dropping the left hand yarn back behind the work and slipping the stitch off the needle.
14) The left hand yarn is then trapped behind the right hand yarn, ensuring that the floats don’t get too long.


As always, if you have a question about this technique or need some help with it, leave a comment below! I’m afraid I’m unable to offer help via email or private message, but you’re welcome to post in our forum.


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