If at first you don’t succeed.

One of my challenges for this year was to learn to knit colorwork. I love the look of stranded or fair isle knitting and I felt like I was to the point where I could learn a few things in knitting.

I got started with this challenge fairly early in the year, with the Pixel Rise Cowl :

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A little puckery, but the bigger issue was that my colors weren’t very suited to the pattern. All the work I was doing was dissapearing into the speckles. Frustrated, I ripped it all out and took a step back from colorwork for a while. The next foray was the Sunset Highway pullover:

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Really, really puckery. This was my second attempt. Try as I might, I could not get the floats to lay well. I was carrying my yarn in both hands. Normally, I’m an English style knitter, meaning I carry my yarn in my right hand. I really struggled with learning both to knit with my yarn in my lefthand and do it while also knitting with yarn in my right hand. And so I ripped out the project and stepped away from colorwork again.

I considered for quite a while that maybe this wasn’t the year for colorwork. Too frustrating, it’s been a waste of scarce crafting time, just not working out for me.

Fast forward to last weekend. As I scrolled through Instagram, I came across a few posts tagged #howiknitcolorwork showing knitters–fair isle designers, even–using only their right hand and dropping and picking up each color as needed. I was fascinated. I kept going back to those videos and watching them, intrigued.

With that, I decided it was time to try again. I cast on for the Selbu Mittens, a pattern designed to be a first go at colorwork. I worked on them for a while and it was as if a miracle was occurring! It was working! Not horribly slow, which had been my main fear, and I was able to keep my tension loose enough.

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Before I knew it, I’d knit most of a mitten. Oh my goodness, can you even stand it? This was so much fun, I was immediately obsessed with it. I’m knitting these in Quince & Co. Chickadee in Egret (natural, undyed) and Storm (grey).

And then I started thinking about sweaters again… I am still a bit scared of jumping right into to a full colorwork yoke sweater. So I compromised and have now cast on a Zweig, by Caitlyn Hunter. It has to small-ish bands of colorwork in the yoke, and then is just single color everywhere else. I’m just past the first colorwork band now, and holy smokes. It is just so pretty.

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The yarn is Skein Top Draw Sock in Japanese Slipper (teal) and Nice & Knit Sock in Old Bay (pink). I’m digging the combo.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but if I can continue to practice and get better with stranded knitting, the possibilities are endless. There are soooo many beautiful patterns that I’ve dismissed in the past, because I “don’t knit colorwork.” I’m so excited to be finally in the process of changing that.

At the moment, I’m just working on finishing up these {gorgeous} mittens.

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Happy making!

5 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed.

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