Making It Your Own – Using Colour 1 – Design Tips

Welcome to the first lesson of a series of blog posts that will help the beginner and more experienced knitter or crocheter feel confident about taking a pattern and making it their own. The lessons will be themed in topics, starting with ideas for novices and ending with hints and tips for the experienced. Our first “term” will cover colour, and include tutorials on colour changing, fairisle, intarsia, tapestry crochet, swiss darning, switching yarn brands, checking and understanding tension.

By the end of the chapter I hope that you will feel confident to experiment with colour in your knitting or crochet. It would be lovely to see you work too and share it with others who are on this journey with you. You can either email me, post your images on Pinterest or Facebook or Tweet them. If you choose to share on Facebook or Twitter, please use the hash code #makingmyown and then I can find you 🙂

Simply Substitute

Rolled Roses

Rolled Roses

Ok so you’ve seen a pattern you love the look of but the colour just isn’t right for you. As a knitter or crocheter this isn’t a problem! Most yarn companies make their yarns in a range of colours. So often its possible to do a simple substitution of one colour for another, as I have done when crocheting these rolled roses.

You can also substitute a colour from another yarn manufacturer if you stick to the same weight i.e. you swap a DK yarn for another DK yarn. We will cover how to make sure that you have bought enough of the new yarn and checking tension in later posts about yarn substitution.

I like the idea of swapping colours but really…… I want it stripy!!!

That’s fine, there are many options for creating stripes – you could use a self striping yarn, so you have no ends to sew in or colour changes to work. Check that you like all the colours used in the ball and are happy to accept that  you might end up with a pair of gloves or 2 cardigan fronts that don’t match exactly!

To download the pattern for these beautiful gloves visit Knitting and So On

Hmmm sounds good….. but I want to choose the colours myself and make things that match!!

Ok, not a problem, decide on your colour scheme and then decide how you want to work your stripes as I did in this blanket. The original design was made in cream and edged in green. I was asked to make it for a customer who wanted it all in cream with a motif. Whilst I was making it my daughter fell in love with it and said she’d like one for her baby. As she is still pregnant she wanted a neutral but modern colour scheme and decided to go with turquoise, stone and cream. Changing the colour scheme makes this very simple crocheted blanket look very different without changing the surface pattern:

Colours - stripes  Ok I like that but…. Any Rules for Making Stripes?

Yes there are – this week we are talking about design – coming up with ideas. Next week I’ll be posting 2 tutorials on colour changing, one knit and one crochet.

For your stripes to look good here are a few guidelines to help you:

1. Colour matching – stripes can be worked in all sorts of colour combinations. You might decide on a particular colour and go for various shades to create an ombre effect. Alternatively you might want a classic combination such as black and white, navy and cream,  go for colours that compliment or colours that clash. You can even knit or crochet the rainbow.

2.Single Row Stripes – to create rows in single stripes, as I have done in the blanket, you need an odd number of colours, a minimum 3. This allows you to swap colours at the end of each line without cutting the yarn and having loads of ends to stitch in

3. Carrying Yarn – You can carry yarn up the side of your work as long as it will be hidden by a seam. However it is not good practice to carry yarn over more than 4 rows as this can cause the work to bunch up. More on this in the next tutorial.

4.  Even Numbers? If you are planning to work your stripes over an even number of rows, don’t be afraid to experiment. You can have one colour that only works 2 rows, 1 that works 4 and another that works 6 for example or 2 colours that work 4 rows each and 1 colour that works 2 or 8.

5. Bust that Stash! Stripes are great for stash busting, if you have lots of small balls of yarn left over you could create a crazy throw by knitting strips of stripes, or having a rule for each colour – for example any purple yarns knit 2 rows, red yarns work 6, brown yarn works 3. As a teenager, I had an amazing jumper knitted by a neighbour’s sister, created from 4 balls of red yarn, plus any and everything from her stash. She followed a similar system to the one I’ve described. I wish I had a photo of it or even better the jumper itself to show you.

Here are some stripe combinations you might want to try when planning out your designs:

Stripe samples