Admit it, sometimes you’re afraid of color, aren’t you? You love beautiful colorwork knitting projects, but if you made one you’d have to make it in the colors shown because you feel intimidated about selecting your own colors. And you’d never even think about designing your own charted pattern.
Well, I’m here to tell you that Knitsonik, AKA Felicity Ford, has created the answer to your problem. In her brand-new book, the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, she gives you a step-by-step process for creating beautiful and original colorwork patterns in palettes inspired by the everyday things around you!
There’s lots of inspiration here, as well as Felicity’s charted motifs and patterns for fingerless gloves and wrist warmers, but my favorite part is the “Knitsonik System” for designing your own colorwork motifs.
Without giving too much away, here are the basic steps you’ll be going through as you let your creativity run wild:
2. Pick your palette
3. Design an initial pattern
4. Pick an initial shading scheme
5. Review knitting stranded colorwork techniques
6. Start swatching
7. Review and modify your patterns and shading; analyze your swatch
8. Finish and block your swatch
Did I mention swatching? Yes, you’ll be swatching! But don’t think of it as a bad thing or an obligation. Instead, think of swatching as sketching and playing with yarn and needles. It’s just as much fun as making a project and less stressful because it doesn’t have to fit or come out right. It’s just for you!
Whether you’re a professional designer, a fiber artist, or a knitter who wants to dive into working with color more, the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook is for you. Nab a copy as soon as you can! Before you know it, you’ll be creating your own one-of-a-kind designs. I promise! Check out the Knitsonik blog for more photos from the book as well as a schedule for the book blog tour.
I used a very similar process for designing the Gur-e-Amir hat and stole that will be in Stories In Stitches Book 4 (coming out very soon, get on my mailing list for announcements if you aren’t signed up already!) This pattern is inspired by the mosaic tile work on a 14th century mausoleum.
Seriously, you can do this! Here are a few of my tips on overcoming color fear:
Everybody has favorite colors and color combinations, but many people don’t know what they like. Look analytically at your wardrobe and you’ll see colors you obviously like—since you choose to wear them. Some of your clothing—a scarf or tie for instance—likely has patterns incorporating several colors. Look at how well these colors go together, and you’ll get an idea of how to select your multicolored palette for decorating.
Successful decorating schemes work well when they use a maximum of three colors. One should be the main color; the other one or two colors should be used in smaller amounts as accents. Many patterned fabrics and wall coverings make choosing a color scheme easy because they contain a good combination of colors, which you can see at a glance work well together. Wall covering books are particularly useful because the coordinating patterns are presented side by side.
Here are some of my favorite tips for selecting colors and designing your own pieces:
Don’t be afraid of color! This can be quite inhibiting and seems to be a very common block from my observations. I have a great natural sense of color (I can match thread to fabric without bringing the fabric to the store with me), but I am totally overwhelmed at the idea of trying to design a Kaffe Fassett type of project or even a Fair Isle design with more than two or three colors.
If you have this type of block, try these “shortcuts”:
1. Design single-color projects with texture stitches, lace, cables and so forth.
2. Buy yarns that come with families of coordinating shades.
3. Work with yarns like Noro, La Lana Wools Forever Random Blends, or other handpaint yarns and let the yarn do the work for you.
This way, you can start designing simple patterns, without worrying about complex charts or choosing colors “from scratch” until you gain confidence.
Don’t try to start on something too big. Try designing a hat or fingerless gloves before you work on a sweater. I designed accessories for a year before I designed my first sweater. These small projects let you learn how colors and textures work together, and they are fast and relatively inexpensive so you don’t have to worry about wasting $100+ worth of yarn on a failed experiment. The key here is start where you are comfortable, don’t try to design a 25-color patchwork or Intarsia masterpiece if you’ve never designed a simple seed-stitch pullover or even a hat.
P.S. Don’t miss my previous interview with Felicity, here.