Choosing Colours for Stranded Colourwork + the Skystone Armwarmers

Ready for something a little different? August’s Boost Your Knitting technique is here, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! This month, we’ll be developing our skills in choosing colours for stranded colourwork with help from absolute colourwork whiz Felicity (Felix) Ford and knitting her stunning design, the Skystone Armwarmers!

I know many knitters find choosing their own colours for stranded projects a bit daunting – I’ve talked before about my own lack of confidence in this area! How often have I heard a knitter complain that they’re just “not good” at picking colours or have no colour sense, as if it’s an intrinsic skill which someone either has or doesn’t? But this month is all about upending this notion! Through years of creative practice, Felix has developed the KNITSONIK system, which takes you step-by-step through a process of translating colour inspiration from daily life into ever-so-pleasing stranded colourwork motifs. The system ingeniously balances a structure to get you started and support you when you’re a bit unsure with plenty of scope for creativity, play, and personal preference – I think you’re going to love it! (Oh, and did I mention there’s a colouring sheet?)

Felix’s design for Boost Your Knitting, the Skystone Armwarerms, provides a fabulous canvas for trying your hand at choosing colours. The pattern uses three darker background shades and five lighter foreground colours of Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight. It features a straightforward, honeycomb-like motif that allows you to really focus on how various shades and hues work together to create a harmonious colourwork whole. This month’s photo and video tutorials show you how Felix begins with inspiration from the world around her – in the case of the two colourways for the armwarmers, the evening sky and stones on the beach – and develops a colourway that stays true to these inspirations but also functions successfully as a stranded colourwork motif.

The Stone colourway was inspired by beach stones, which, when you look closely, are anything but gray!

The Stone colourway was inspired by beach stones, which, when you look closely, are anything but gray!

This pattern and technique made for a unique challenge when putting together our Boost Your Knitting Summer Kit. After considering a few different options, we decided the only practical one was to provide kit purchasers with one of the two pattern colourways (Sky for the Designer’s Choice and Stone for Jen’s choice) which gives you eight shades of J&S 2ply Jumperweight, all of which will be used in the pattern. Even if you follow one of the suggested colourways exactly as the pattern suggests, there’s still enormous value in seeing for yourself how Felix has translated her inspiration sources into concrete shades and working through how these play together in the pattern. There’s also scope for playing with the ordering of the background and foreground shades and seeing how small changes can dramatically alter the final look of your armwarmers. Of course, if you have bits of J&S or similar wool in your stash, you can start with the suggested colourway and swap in different shades as you please. Even if you end up swapping out some or all of the kit colours, we think you can never have too many balls of J&S jumperweight in your yarn pantry. The 100% Shetland wool is really a gold standard for colourwork yarns, and it will sit waiting to be called upon the next time you’re ready to begin a colourwork project!

And on the subject of J&S, if you’re planning your own pair of Skystone Armwarmers and don’t have the Summer Kit or suitable stash, we’ve got nearly 60 shades of J&S 2ply Jumper Weight in the online shop to get you going at just £2.95/ball (and don’t forget to use your exclusive Boost discount). If you’re trying to build up your colour library, we also have some lovely J&S starter bundles which give you five different shades. And, for the extra keen among you, we’ve just added an option to the shop to order one of each shade of J&S Jumper Weight that we have in stock in the shop …. I can’t even fathom how many pairs of armwarmers you could make with it all!

So look around you for some inspiration, grab your coloured pencils, and let’s build our confidence in choosing colours this month! You can join in the KAL fun over in the Ravelry group – as always, any project using the month’s featured technique is more than welcome! And if you'd like to get the Boost Your Knitting patterns and tutorials – and receive the print book with free worldwide shipping at the pre-order price of £30, now is the time as pre-orders will be closing soon!

And finally… Boost Your Knitting Autumn Kits are now officially available in the online shop!

All images in this post © Jesse Wild