Dominant Side in Colorwork

Blue Green GlovesIn case you’ve never seen it, or heard of it, I thought I’d show you an example of what a difference using one color over the other as a dominant color can make. We all have a dominant side when we’re knitting, and surprisingly, that side can change (mine did). You need to knit a sample to discover which side is yours.

What do I mean by “dominant side”? When you’re knitting fair isle, for example, you’ll typically hold one skein of yarn on your left side and one on your right. One of those two colors is going to “pop” a little more. Can’t change that, no matter what technique you use. For that matter, even if you place both skeins on your same side, one of them is going to dominate. I don’t know why, but that’s the way it is.

I deliberately knit these gloves switching the dominant color. Frankly, it’s more noticeable, in fact it’s quite noticeable, in real life, but you can still see it in the picture. Look at the fingers in particular. (You’ll also note on the left hand glove I missed an error in the pattern on the bottom of the hand in the first few rows of the fair isle pattern.)

It’s important to know which side is dominant because you’ll want to make a choice with the colors. In the case of the gloves, I wanted the blue (right) to be dominant, however, looking at the two, the fingers really look better when the olive green was dominant. Of course I could have switched once I finished the hand, making the blue pop in the hand and the green in the fingers, but I wouldn’t know to do that until I finished the glove or if I’d knit a small sample to start. (Or some experience might have told me that, too.)

Samples don’t always tell the story, thought, so sometimes it’s a best guess with a little fingercrossing, combined with knowing there really isn’t a right way and wrong way most of the time. When I look at those two gloves, I don’t have a strong opinion about which one is “right.”


Background Image Credit:© striZh — Fotolia

6 thoughts on “Dominant Side in Colorwork”

  1. I prefer the left glove, it’s a more even look. The dominance is created by which yarn is below the other. The lower stranded yarn is the one you use for the pop. The top yarn is more for the background. The reason has to do with the distance the lower yarn has to travel to be knit. Generally you hold the top yarn in your left hand and the lower in your right. I knit with both strands in my right hand and just carry one over the other. The gloves are lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and thank you for the explanation regarding lower and top yarn — I’ll have to see what that looks like next time I do some stranded knitting, because I can’t picture it right now 🙂 I know what you mean about the left glove being a more even look.


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