One of the greatest parts about being in New England, Vermont in particular, in the fall is the ultimate explosion of color. As the trees that surround Green Mountain Spinnery turn to shades of red, gold, orange, yellow and gold, we can’t help but think about color in our fiber projects. Colorwork in knitting often looks more complicated than it is. There are quite a few ways to add color to your knitting and we hope you would consider including one of these techniques when you work on your next sweater, maybe as part of the 30 Day Sweater challenge!
The simplest form of color work is stripes. At first glance stripes may not seem that interesting but there are so many possibilities and combinations of stripes to try! If you’re feeling like making some stripes and want something new, check out this random stripe generator and have fun trying it out. One thing you should watch out for if you’re knitting your project in the round is the little jog that happens when you change colors. For instructions on how to make a jogless stripe in the round check out this great video over at New Stitch A Day. Shown at left is the Solstice Sweater, knit in Denim and Unbleached White Cotton Comfort.
Another easy way to wow your friends with color is with slip stitch or mosaic colorwork. This style of colorwork was developed by the knitting superstar Barbara Walker and is achieved by using slip stitches to draw color up into the next row. It is very simple to accomplish because you only work with one color at a time. That means you don’t have to worry about carrying multiple colors along each row and do the finger gymnastics required to switch back and forth between them. You can knit very simple patterns all the way to intricate motifs. Labyrinth is a design by Cap Sease that is lightweight yet warm, pictured here in Luminosity and Peridot Sylvan Spirit.
One of the most popular forms of colorwork (and the style most people think of when you say “colorwork”) is fair isle or stranded colorwork. Here the design is accomplished by alternating the color the stitches are knit with, in a particular row. The only technique used in this style is the knit stitch; you’ll need to learn to hold two pieces of yarn at once, but the outcome is certainly worthwhile. One unique characteristic about this technique is that it must be performed in the round; if you are not a fan of purling this could be the technique for you! If you want a cardigan, you first knit in the round and then steek it (a method for cutting your work) open. This photo shows one of newest patterns that utilizes fair isle and steeking, the Putney Mountain Vest; it will be released in our upcoming e-book, Green Mountain Weekend. Weekend Wool is an excellent choice for colorwork projects.
The last technique to share with you is the duplicate stitch. This is a way to add color to your work that you don’t have to think about before you begin knitting your project. Duplicate stitch is when you use a contrasting color of yarn and a darning needle to follow the paths of the stitches to create a small area of color like a monogram or small motif. It is a simple way add color and personalize your project after you have knit it. Shown at right are the Squirrel in the Woods mittens in which the squirrel motif is worked in duplicate stitch. If you are looking to design your own colorwork sweater there are many many great colorwork mitten patterns from which to draw inspiration!
If you’d like to learn more about planning your next sweater project, download the free Sweater Planning Guide from the 30 Day Sweater Challenge. This guide is full of advice on design basics, color choice, how much yarn to buy and everything else that goes into knitting a sweater that you’ll love! Click here to download.
This post is a part of the 30 Day Sweater Challenge promo tour. Join us this October as we help 5,000 knitters around the world knit a sweater they’ll love, in 30 days. To sign up just visit 30daysweater.com/greenmountain and download your free Sweater Planning Guide. It will help you get started on the right foot!