Color work isn’t for the weak-minded

When I first started knitting I couldn’t of cared less about doing color work, it just looked too complicated. What can I say, I was being kinda of a weakling about it. “Just let me do my cables and thick textures using the same yarn throughout,” I would exclaim loudly in my head. It’s kind of funny to admit to myself because now a days all I seem to do is combine different colors, yarn weights and materials in the search for the perfect texture of fabric. I have become pretty obsessed about using different yarn weights to shape the fabric as well (but, thats a different blog post…) Isn’t being a creator just grand?

I started with doing two color, then three color and now the sky is the limit. I have done Mosaic and Slip stitch knitting but my favorite at the moment is the good old Fair Isle or Stranded Knitting techniques. I love the thick soft condensed fabric it creates and when you felt it, its just simply magic. I learned most of what I know about it from my mother (who is fair isle knitting mitten queen), YouTube videos and Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting. 


Using a pattern from my Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Hat Book: History, Technique, Design. I chose the Nordic Snowflake Tuque pattern by Cheryl Murray, I still wear this hat to this day. I recommend following at least one pattern in the technique you want to use before attempting to design something in that technique. At least this is what seems to work well for me. At first I found it difficult to keep all the strands in order without them forever twisting and getting tangled, after awhile a certain technique organically manifested itself through trial and error, once that was understood the twisting was much less.


Following a color chart was a revelation, much much easier than following written instructions. It was purely visual and that made me purely happy. It honestly looked more difficult than it actually was. I think this was the main reason I didn’t want to do color work and this ironically became the main reason I like to design, knit and create patterns using this technique. Color work isn’t for the weak-minded…

2 thoughts on “Color work isn’t for the weak-minded

  1. I love the ancient(really ancient) stories and mittens knitted in the cold northern countries. So far I have seen the Eastern Europe (Latvian and Russian) and Scandinavian styles. I have yet to find info or pictures of Japanese Ainu or Mongolian or Himalayan mittens. I’m on the hunt! My point I want to make is there is a practical side to the color work style besides all the color coordinating. What is interesting is how all these wonderful designs were twisted and knitted into gorgeous fabric which turned into warm wearable clothing and accessories.

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