How to choose colours for fair isle (when you know nothing about colour theory)

When I shared my Pyukkleen cowl with you last week, I mentioned I’d do a separate post on choosing colours cos it was a PROCESS. So here I am, about to give you terrible advice for choosing colours when I have zero understanding of colour theory.

A woman stands in front of a garage door. She wears a handknitted, fair isle cowl and handknitted brown jumper.

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Pyukkleen

It’s winter here, which means I have a shit ton of hand knits to share with you. My latest creation is the Pyukkleen cowl, from Ysolda Teague’s Knitworthy. I’ve knitted so many garments from Knitworthy now that it has its own tag, and Ysolda patterns make up the bulk of my knitted projects. What can I say, I know what I like. Continue reading “Pyukkleen”

New Strokkur

It was only a few weeks ago that I shared my Strokkur jumper with you….and now I have another one! You might recall that although I loved the fit and design of the Strokkur jumper, the Lopi yarn I knitted it with was just too scratchy for my liking. So I sold that one, and promptly knitted another.

A woman stands in front of a garden fence. She wears a yellow and grey colourwork yoke Icelandic jumper, blue jeans and brown suede boots.

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Strokkur

After starting with fair isle hats, the next progression in my colourwork knitting was a yoked jumper. The classic style of a colourwork yoke knit in the round above a plain knit body seems to have been around forever, but it is in fact a fairly recent invention – Bohus-style jumpers appeared in Sweden c. 1940, followed by Icelandic lopi yokes (or lopapeysa) in the 1950s.* They really took off in the 60s and 70s, then as now contributing to Iceland’s national identity and tourist trade.

Icelandic girls wearing traditionally patterned lopapeysa sweaters
Icelandic girls wearing traditionally patterned lopapeysa sweaters. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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INSULATE! Hat

One thing I love about the knitting community is how its members unabashedly embrace pop culture. Ravelry forum groups, designs and challenges revolve around Harry Potter, Star Trek and Totoro. And of course, there are a pleasing number of designs in tribute to my favourite TV show, Doctor Who.

Woman's head in front of a weatherboard house. She wears a handknitted grey hat with Dalek colourwork motifs.
The motifs on this hat were really hard to photograph, especially by myself, so bear with me.

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My first colourwork – Saudade

I’ve finished my first Fair Isle project, Saudade! In my last post, I mentioned I’d been struggling to achieve consistent tension as a beginner to stranded colourwork. You guys assured me I was on the right track with my technique of spreading and holding in place the stitches on the right needle before knitting on the left with a new colour, and that any imperfections would come out in the wash.

Woman wears colourwork handknit hat and scarf.
Worn with my Rockcliffe Scarf.

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Experimenting with colourwork

Knitting colourwork has never been my strong suit. Besides my complete inability to choose cohesive colour schemes, the technical skills involved in stranded knitting and intarsia always seemed beyond me. Recently, I’ve decided to challenge myself and take on a colourwork project to broaden my skill set.

The pattern that tempted me was Ysolda’s Saudade. With a traditional Fair Isle pattern and the colours already selected for me in a kit in her shop, it seemed the perfect way to dip my feet in.

Pattern designer Ysolda Teague wears a handknit, colourwork hat.
How could I resist this??

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