Adventures in Intarsia


Around Thanksgiving I announced to my mom that I was going to make my dad a pair of argyle socks for Christmas. At the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never done intarsia before; I didn’t even know what intarsia was. I had knit tons of socks before though and I was confident in my stranded colorwork skills.

A little bit of research told me that knitting argyle was not as simple as I had thought. First of all the colorwork technique used was intarsia not stranded colorwork. Second, I would need to knit the leg of the sock flat then seam it together. Ugh…

My first mistake was thinking I could DIY bobbins. In intarsia yarn is usually pulled from bobbins rather than a skein. Since I had never worked in intarsia before I thought I could simply wind yarn around small bits of cardboard. I was WRONG. The pieces of cardboard did not keep the yarn from unwinding like the bobbins do and so yarn management was impossible. However, after a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and hours spent in Starbucks untangling my socks and winding yarn onto my new bobbins and I was well on my way.


Once I got my yarn situated the socks zipped along. At least the first sock did; I ended up with a bit of second sock syndrome. Initially I was a little intimidated by intarsia but it turned out to be pretty easy. I watched this excellent tutorial by Very Pink Knits and learned everything I needed to know.

While getting started was a bit of a challenge knitting argyle socks was not that hard, which is a good thing because my husband has already asked for a pair.


The pattern I used was from a website called free vintage knits. Although it did the trick, I have one and a half socks, that look amazing, this is definitely not my favorite pattern or one that I would recommend to someone with a limited knowledge of sock constructions. I also knit the recommended gauge and maybe my family has really narrow feet but this pattern produces a wide sock. I don’t think my dad will mind but if I knit this pattern again I will use a smaller needle.

The wording of the written instructions was not super clear. If I was not familiar with knitting a heel flap and gusset I think the written instructions would have left me very confused. In general I felt the written pattern was a little too brief and if I were a less experienced knitter I would have been very lost.

Also, the colorwork chart looked like it was a photocopy of a photocopy. I had to zoom in really far to make sense of it. Plus, the rows and stitches were not numbered in anyway. However, the argyle pattern was pretty intuitive so it wasn’t a huge problem. I have never used patterns from this website before so I don’t know if the poor chart quality is par for the course or a blip on the radar but either way the chart quality was such that I would not recommend this pattern.


The yarn I used for this project was a collection of odds and ends I had lying around in my stash. The main color is the light blue and that is a cascade yarn in their heritage collection that I bought at my local yarn shop. I normally order my yarn online because my local yarn shop is typically over priced and their selection is not that great but I was leaving for Florida the following day and I didn’t have time to order yarn. The cascade yarn ended up working out really well and I would definitely work with it again. I liked the colorway it was nice to work with and the yarn was reasonably priced.

I used a little bit of dark blue KnitPicks Stroll that I had lying around. I thought it was their navy colorway but I recently ordered navy stroll and the two yarns are not the same colorway. So, long story short, I have no idea what colorway this yarn is. I tried looking back through my KnitPicks orders to find out but I had no luck.

I also used a cream color yarn and a hunter green color yarn. They are both fingering weight and have been in my stash forever. They were also label-less when I dug them out of my stash. So, I have no idea what they are but I thought they knit up great.


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