Style Glossary: Intarsia, Intarsia, Intarsia!

The Posh Paw-berry Mittens.

Does identifying one type of knit from another catch you for a loop? Once you’ve distinguished your textile as a knit vs. a woven, identifying an intarsia garment will be no ‘sweat-er’ as long as you remember these key identifying points!

The intarsia knitting technique involves two or more differently colored yarns that create motifs in solid blocks of color. A few examples from our site include the trompe l’oeil-inspired Trick of the Eye Sweater, the vibrant It Was a Dark and Squirrely Night Sweater, and the adorable A Little Bit Bunny Cardigan! Unlike other knitting methods, the motifs on these garments are produced separately before being fitted together to form the final piece. At any given time, there is only one yarn per stitch, meaning other colors that appear on the front do not float across the back of the garment; rather, they are tied off when starting a new color. To seal the deal, simply turn your fabric over and it bears the same image on both sides, then you know it’s an intarsia knit!

So that sweater that you had as a kid with giant crayons splashed across the front? You can now lovingly remember it as one of the best intarsia knit to have graced the garment world! Do you remember or currently have any intarsia knits with notably awesome motifs?


About Julianne

Julie is a modern day Renaissance woman and die-hard bloody mary enthusiast. When she’s not sprinkling magic fairy dust onto ModCloth’s social media channels, you can find her eclectic point of view on food, fashion, music, and DIY documented here!

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  1. Avatar
    Sophie 10/28/2010 at 8:11 pm #

    Ah! I usually know the terms presented here but this is one I’ve never heard. I learned something new today 🙂
    When I was in kindergarten actually I rocked this sweet cardigan with lambs knit into it as much as possible. I have so many pictures of myself in that sweater!

  2. Avatar
    Antoinette 10/29/2010 at 12:49 pm #

    i still have this sweater that has owls on the collar- their eyes are open on the front and closed on the back!

  3. Avatar
    Cabled 11/01/2010 at 5:36 pm #

    Surprisingly, intarsia is actually not that hard to do. I made two bear sweater this way and they are great!

  4. Avatar
    Nnenna 11/03/2010 at 2:04 am #

    love that knits are featured in this post! I haven’t made anything with a large intarsia motif, but I have made a few small items!

  5. Avatar
    Josefina 11/16/2010 at 2:08 am #

    Now this one I know. Shout out to my fellow knitters!

  6. Avatar
    Kristen 12/29/2010 at 9:12 am #

    Hmmm this may be true for machine knit garments, but not completely accurate for hand-knits. Either way, cute mittens!

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