For knitters who are new to color knitting, I thought I would share an experience from my distant knitting past. This is a sweater I made in 1992. It was not my first try at color knitting, but I guess it's the first one I finished. (I do remember some brown and orange legwarmers in the late 70's when I was in middle school. Probably a good thing they didn't get finished).
This is one of my favorite patterns, but I can't wear the sweater without embarassment, because I know that everybody can see that halfway through the body I learned a lesson. I didn't rip it out, because I really had no idea it would be so obvious.
You all have heard about how you always should keep the same color in front at all times. Or that you should always keep one color in the left and the other color in the right hand as you knit. This is where I learned it. Up until a little more than half way, I was keeping both colors in the left hand (I knit continental) and just picking one up at random. I did not pay any attention to the fact that sometimes the black was in front, other times the white. Then I realized (well, my mother showed me) that keeping the contrast color in the right hand, though slower, would make a much more even pattern. I started keeping the white always in my left and the black always in my right which automatically keeps the white always in front of the black.
Edited to add: I don't mean that my method is the only way, lots of knitters do this while holding both strands in the same hand. The main thing is that the yarns are always in the same position relative to each other. Usually I keep the color there is more of in the left, regardless of whether it's background or contrast. In this case, the white stitches will be more prominent than the black.
Edited to add: Note that with the way I knit, the white background color ends up being the more dominant/prominent color. Most knitters probably want the contrast color to be most prominent, but this works better for me.
Let's see the back of the sweater. See how half way up the diagonals go from fuzzy and irregular to crisp and even?
On the inside, it's also obvious:
The effect on the rose pattern panels is more subtle. But you will see, the minute you start thinking about the colors like this, your stitches and motifs will start to look very even.
Kris wrote about yarn dominance today. This is one of the side effects of that! I don't do this for the sake of the color dominance, but for the sake of keeping the pattern neat. For me it's more of a "color consistency".
I learned so many lessons on this particular sweater, for example about picking up stitches for button bands and collar (they had to be redone), and how white could have obvious dye lots... (when I redid the button bands and collar of course I couldn't get the same lot). I also learned that some shapes might make me look like a football player....
Hope you enjoyed this visit to my hall of shame!