Valentine's Day is right around the corner. If you have never done intarsia, or picture knitting, adding a heart to a knittting project is a great way to learn intarsia basics and make a Valentine's Day statement.
This colorwork technique is worth learning: think snowflakes on mittens, argyle sweaters, teddy bears on baby clothes.... and so much more. A heart motif is intarsia at it's simplest so why not give it a try?
In intarsia you add a new piece of yarn for every patch of color you are knitting. The old color is dropped to the back of your work and not carried across like in fair isle knitting. The most important thing to remember is to twist the old and new yarns together as you change from one color to the next at the back of your work so that the colors are linked together and the look is seamless. If you do not do the 'twist' you will wind up with holes in your work between the color changes (BAD!!). Intarsia projects can be complicated but for a simple shape like this heart the process is pretty simple.
Remember, you will not carry the background color, yellow, across the heart motif. You will add a new ball of yellow to work the left side of the heart on the first row of the chart. You will also need a small amount of yellow yarn to work the stitches between the top 'humps' of the heart and an additional little bit of red to work one of the humps... To the uninitiated this sounds really complicated but it is not, I promise. It all becomes clear once you get going. There are intarsia tutorials on You Tube if you would like to see the 'twist' in action.
Finally, the edges of your heart may look a little wonky at first. You will get better at it over time but even intarsia enthusiasts have to do some tweaking. To help your stitches look better, take a tapestry or DPN to your finished work and tug on the edges of those wonky stitches to make them look better. I have found that a bit of blocking can help too.