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Technique Number 1: Helical Stripes


If you are using 4 needles, knit with color 1 around 3 needles. Drop yarn go to needle 4 and either join color 2 (or pick up color 2) knit over three needles. Drop color 2, go to needle where color one is waiting, pick up and knit over 3 needles. Kay posted video this morning on the blog if that helps. :slight_smile:


Welp. Yarn showed up today, I’m 12 stripes in, and now I know of a certain sock that is definitely going to be ripped back to the toe and reknit as soon as I get a chance.


Please forgive the lousy photos, but I think I am slouching toward a mostly invisible transition on the honey cowl two color

wrong side

right side

This is handspun yarn, the white is cormo, the blue is silk merino blend from shady side farms.

Once it is done and has had a bath, I think it will look more even, but I love the contrast. I am hoping to make a really generous cowl.

The transition has been creeping forward, and I think it is not easy to see the seam (although I can see other issues :frowning2:

Maybe someone with better knitting chops can run with this?


I am using four dpns (well, five). What you do is begin with a round of A, join B, knit three needles with B, drop B, pick up A, knit two–that’s two, not three–needles with A, and continue knitting two needles with each color, dropping one and picking up the other. This is explained in the Helical Stripes, Using Double-Pointed Needles section of the Year of Techniques instructions; it’s on page 3.

It seems counter-intuitive. But imagine your four needles as a square, with needle 1 at the bottom. You’ve knit your round with A and are at the end of needle 4. You join B at needle 1 and knit three needles, bringing you to the end of needle 3. Then you join A not at the beginning of 4, which would create ordinary stripes, but at the beginning of 1, skipping 4 to create helical stripes. Now knit needles 1 and 2 with A. Your A yarn is at the end of 2, and your B yarn, as you remember, is at the end of needle 3. You skip needle 3 and pick up and knit needles 4 and 1 with B. Continue knitting two needles, skipping a needle, and picking up and knitting two needles with the next color. This is what I’m doing, and this is the result.


Thanks-I’m Helic-ing away with my #1 sock rockets. Using Magic Loop style.
It’s quite fun to see the teeny stripes emerge.


I am just finishing my Hadley and starting to plan for my Helical Stripes. I need to order the dpns, so my question for those of you who have more experience with DPNs is: which length do you think I should buy for this project, 5" or 6"? Thanks.


So after thinking i had a similar yarn, chroma by knitpicks, in my stash, I found that I indeed did not have that. I do have the Hawthorne by knitpicks. But the colorways are not long enough. So today I made my way to my LYS. I headed towards the Zauberballs but then lo and behold the berroco nebula spoke to me from a brand new basket of yarn. Its so squishy! :heart::heart::heart:


I am using 5" DPNs, dividing the project among 4 needls and knitting with the 5th. You can also use two circs or Magic Loop, of course, if you already know and love one of those methods. Happy helical striping!


GOk the hardest part is getting your color division correct. I wound up starting the helical portion and the two balls spit out the same color. Drat! But the good news is it’s not a sweater! And I don’t mind starting over. I stared at it for a while trying to decide if it would bug me and thought no, but let’s just do it right.
Take two…


For my first mitt, the Zauberball produced a mostly black and white stripe. For the second, I redivided and rewound to get (I hope) the same effect - so far, so good. Makes my control freak self happy. BUT, I am going to cast on a second pair as soon as I’m done with the first with a devil-may-care attitude and let the colors emerge as they will!


YES! I get it! It finally clicked. First attempt was with a crazy zauberball from the stash. Second attempt was the crazy z. with a solid from the stash. Ugh. Bad combo. And I kept losing my place, so my stripes crashed into each other instead of stacking up nicely. I decided to file it away and went back to my sweater project. But then I found this ball with long repeats that seemed like a reasonable z-ball sub and sat down early this morning with a rested brain and a big mug of dark roast. Success! Now I don’t want to put it down, definitely addicting.


I am IN LOVE with my mitts and getting all kinds of wild ideas about possible stripey projects.

Question for the hive mind: I have a mini-skein kit I’ve been hoarding (because it’s cashmere, so, you know).

If I were to use the mini-skeins to knit a helical striped cowl, what is my process for switching colors once one mini-skein runs out? For instance, if I do the ribbing with Color A and then do stripes of Color A and Color B, do I just substitute Color C for Color A when A runs out? Is there some other switcho-changeo dynamic I should be aware of? Halp!


I tend toward longer DPNs, because I seem to blow out stitches on shorter ones.


Thank you! That is what I ordered. You and Kay are doing an amazing job!
Thank you for all the inspiration and thoughtful planning that you are
sharing with all of us. I am loving your ideas, your modern aesthetic and
your “can do” attitude that are all so contagious.



Is anyone else just happily knitting along and then realized “dang it! I’ve just knit the three pickup stitches!” This pattern is so easy I am whizzing along and tinking back three stitches at least every other row. Maybe less t.v.? :laughing:


I think it is your choice. As long as you have two colors with enough contrast so that the stripe is visible you really can’t go wrong. If you like to have things match top and bottom make sure to divide the yarn before starting the co. Make notes as you go of what you like. You could do a color fade or do equal number of rows to create beautiful designs. And I love that you just gave me an idea for those mini skeins that I always have an eye on but no project for! Good luck and post pics!


Ooh! I was wondering if I’d be able to get at least a third mitt from the yarn, this means I’ll have a pair to gift to someone!


Such fun! I’m using dpns, and found that because I divided the knitting on 4 needles, each with 18 stitches, which is divisible by 3, I can use the “knit to 3 stitches from the change and slip 3 stitches” even though I’m on dons. It results in changing over less often (slightly). My gauge was off, so I’ve gone back to the cuff and will find smaller needles for the rest. I do find the Zauberball color changes slow but mesmerizing!


I am loving this technique!!! I started with some scratch yarn to learn the technique and now just waiting to pick up a pair of #1 rocket needles before starting my actual armwarmers. The entire time I was working on the test rounds though, I kept thinking I would love to make a pair of socks this way. Is there anything I would need to worry about except for working the heels? I thought about maybe even using afterthought heels so the stripes wouldn’t be interrupted. Anyone else use this technique for socks and can give me some pointers? I’m really thinking I want to use my Tropical Fish z-ball for socks!


I think it would definitely work for socks–in fact, I’m thinking about turning my arm warmer (about 5 inches knit) into a sock, which would see much more use. I know it’s a bit crazy because of size issues, but I’m not afraid of frogging disasters. I thought of an afterthought heel too. I’d try to do both heels and toes in the same color run of one of the Zauberballs.