Color studies II

Published on Wednesday October 11th, 2006

Here’s what I learned about colorwork last week:


Project: “Mist” by Kim Hargreaves, from Rowan’s A Yorkshire Fable

Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-Ply, eight shades

Needles: US #2 and #3

This beret is worked flat and then seamed up. This presents the special challenge of colorwork on purl rows. The center line of that teal band with brown and white crosses? Pure fiery hell, my friends. It’s the only line of the chart where Kim introduces a third color, and naturally it happened to fall on a WS row. I think the working of it may have taken me about half an hour. You bet your boots I realized this was going to be a problem from the outset, and if I could have thought of a way to knit this puppy in the round I would have. But alas, I possess neither 16″ circulars nor #3 double pointeds. And I confess I was concerned about the jogs looking messy anyway. So I worked it as given.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result. I scrapped the suggested pompon (yes, that’s the correct spelling – you can blame the French), because those are for the birds. I notice the folks who did the photo shoot for the book agree with me. I can just picture the Rowan fashion editor stalking the models with a pair of scissors – snip snip! – and little colored balls of fluff skittering away over the Yorkshire moors like so many grouse chicks. (Do they have grouse in Yorkshire?) Anyway, the hat looks rather ducky, although it needs to be blocked over a dinnerplate (thanks, EZ!) to achieve proper tam shape. Here’s what’s less ducky:


Ends, the curse of colorwork. Scores and scores of Medusa-like ends. Minus the ends, I love the purl side of fair isle, or anything stripey. I’ve long intended to knit a striped baby sweater intentionally wrong-side out.

So what did I learn about colorwork from this project, besides the devilish dexterity necessary to manipulate three working strands of yarn across a purl row? Don’t be afraid of bright and contrasting colors in fair isle. These are not the colors Kim H. dictated in the pattern. In my defense, Yorkshire Tweed 4-Ply is hard to find, having been discontinued, and for all my scrounging in yarn stores I never did come up with two of the shades she calls for. But I rejected the recommended lawn green and peacock blue as too garish for my taste, and that was probably a mistake. I chose eight colors I thought were harmonious, but I’ll bet it doesn’t look to you as if there are eight different colors in these pictures. The mulled wine, chocolate brown, and deep neptune blue are too close in value, and it’s hard to distinguish them unless you look very carefully. And the bone color looks very white in comparison to the darker shades. Lesson learned! I’ll go for more contrast when I start my mittens.

18 Comments to “Color studies II”

  1. Amanda Comment Says:

    you are a knitting rockstar. Are you related to EZ???
    You have made a lovely beret my dear. Lovely indeed.

  2. Lori Comment Says:

    I actually really like all those muted colors together! They really speak of autumn to me!

  3. gleek Comment Says:

    i think that you did a lovely job of color choice! if the colors were too contrasted, it might have looked like a holy mess. i’m sure you’ll rock that tam in portland this fall!

  4. Veronique Comment Says:

    I agree with the other commenters: the muted tones look great together!
    Also, please do not blame the french for spelling things the right way. 🙂

  5. Lisa Comment Says:

    I love your choice of colors – they go together nicely and are pleasing to the eye. Great job – now get started on those ends!

  6. Jessica Comment Says:

    I love it! And I agree with everyone above–the colors are beautiful together. It’s so Fall!

  7. Lynn Comment Says:

    Very pretty just as it is, ma’am!

    I learned to knit in the ends as I went; a real sanity-saver, though my kids might quibble about precisely how much sanity I’ve managed to save, LOL.

    Almost thou persuadest me to fish out a 15-year-old UFO and see if it’s salvageable. Scads and scads of Harrisville Designs Shetland Wool, carefully washed and air-dried and wound into balls, in various values of cream and camel and grey.

    Those HD yarns are wonderful for stranded knitting. We used to have a really great knitting/spinning/weaving shop in BigD that carried the looms and the yarn, and I bought ridiculous amounts when I still had my loom…

  8. minnie Comment Says:

    i still think it was very nice. and i did notice all the colors. admittedly, i’m a detail freak (thank my mother, lol), but still. i caught them.

    ok, thanks for the heads up on the pattern. i don’t do much colorwork to begin with, and if it’s got it on a third row, i’m not interested, lol.

  9. Ingrid Comment Says:

    I found almost all the Yorkshire tweed colours seem to go together and you’re right it’s hard to find now. How do I know? I’ve run out of the light blue on the last sleeve of suzette…argh I brought some off Ebay from Canada…but was unaware that it has been so long since I brought something off ebay that the shipping address was old. So the erstwhile ball (which I spent 3x what I spent on the original and only need a fraction of) as been sent to the wrong address. I left a note at that address imploring them to contact me should it arrive. So I have a favor to ask…if the ball is lost forever would you consider swapping the remains of your light blue for all the rest of my left over colours?

  10. Jenna Comment Says:

    I’m working on some colorwork socks and man, doing the pattern on the purl rows of the heel flap was bad, bad, bad. Three colors must be exponentially worse. At least you have a lovely finished product!

  11. marnie Comment Says:

    that is beautiful!

  12. Rachel Comment Says:

    What a lovely beret! I like your choice of colors, too. Sometimes I find Fair Aisle colors to be too overwhelming. Your color choice has started me wondering if I should pick up the needles for a “Fair” bit!

  13. brooke Comment Says:

    Looks great!

  14. carrie m Comment Says:

    beautifully autumnal. i’m sort of ashamed of my current lame projects now! i’m not sure i’d have the patience for that, but i guess you don’t know until you try…

  15. Katie Comment Says:

    What a wonderful, colorful autumn hat! I love it and now I want to do some colorwork (yeah, sometime between all my OTHER projects!) Nice work.

  16. Karma Comment Says:

    Your tam turned out beautifully and will be the perfect compliment to your chic hairdo as the leaves start to change color and the air turns nippy. Well done!

  17. Monika Comment Says:

    I’ve just scrolled down this one side and I’m LOVING all your knitting!!! The BSJ is fantastic, I love the colors. I’ve got to read the entry to find out what yarn you used. By the way. I thought I’ll stop shaping 4″ before it’s done. ;o) I’ll bookmark you site now.

  18. Kristen Comment Says:

    Gorgeous! A Yorkshire Fable is my favorite pattern book, and I’ve been wanting to make the Mist hat for a while. It’s so lovely! Your version is even prettier than the one in the book – I love your colors.