When it comes to knit colorwork, you have a ton of choices. If you’re a color lover, you’ll have noticed a huge trend over the past few years of yarns with short, long, ombre, multicolor, stripe, or even knotted yarn color changes. Your yarn choices are many, as are the patterns created for these yarns (which you’ll see farther down the page).
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But what if YOU want to be the master of changing colors? What if YOU want to choose your own colors different from those chosen by the color-changing yarn designers? What options do you have to be the owner of your color choices and patterning?
I’m so glad you asked! Let’s dive in!
First of all, I’ll answer a few important questions.
What is colorwork in knitting?
Colorwork in knitting is any knit patterning that uses more than one color within a small area.
Simple? Yes…and no.
Usually, knit colorwork is viewed as using two or more colors in one row, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ll look at some options in a little bit.
How hard is colorwork in knitting?
It depends on the colorwork you choose to knit as to how simple or difficult it is.
For example, stripes are probably considered the easiest of all colorwork. You simply choose two or more colors you like and work one or more rows in each color.
Note: If you do work single rows of stripes, you’re going to have LOTS of ends to weave in. If that doesn’t bother you, go right ahead. Pairs of rows and multiples of two are usually the way to go.
What is the difference between Fair Isle and colorwork?
Fair Isle is a form of stranded colorwork where at least two yarn colors are used along the same row. Stranded colorwork would be the main type of knitting, and Fair Isle falls under that umbrella.
Fair Isle knitting comes from a specific location – a small island off northern Scotland. Fair Isle knitters used multiple colors to form elaborate patterned sweaters, vests, etc. Certain colorwork designs originate from this small island, and the technique is now very popular.
What is the best yarn for colorwork knitting?
The best yarn for colorwork knitting is wool or a wool blend. Wool fibers have scales that allow the yarn to cling to itself and help prevent a dropped stitch from running quickly down your work.
Can you imagine trying to pick up a single stitch through several colors and intricate patterning? Getting it right is a bit stressful and takes time and patience.
How do you keep knit colorwork stretchy?
Ah…keeping knit colorwork stretchy – that’s a really good question. You don’t want your finished piece to pucker up, as you won’t see the pretty patterns you’ve spent days (or weeks) working.
Here’s a couple of tricks…
- Carry the non-working yarn no more than three stitches behind your work, then catch it up with the next stitch if there’s still more to work before the next color.
- After you’ve worked three or so stitches, spread the work down your right-hand needle. This separates the stitches a little, so you add a little extra length to the float before your next stitch in the carried yarn.
- Knit more loosely than you’re used to. If you wrap the yarn twice around a finger to tension it, try wrapping it once so it flows a bit more loosely.
- If you’re a tight knitter, go up a needle size or two as long as you still meet the gauge.
And now for the knit colorwork patterns!
We’ve collected 65 knit colorwork patterns! Yay!
Some are more difficult than others, but we have something for all levels here, from beginners to advanced. You’ll know when you see them which ones are in your league.
If you’d love to try knit colorwork, but are a bit intimidated, don’t be.
I have a course that’s absolutely perfect for you: Camp Colorwork!
Camp Colorwork isn’t just for knitters. It’s for crocheters too. I walk you through many colorwork techniques so you can tackle ANY of these patterns. No problem!
Check it out – Camp Colorwork. Let’s get you some colorwork confidence going!
And now…the patterns!
Simple Knit Colorwork – Stripes
Stripes are by far the simplest knit colorwork technique out there. It’s simply a matter of choosing colors you like, and off you go. Here’s a few stripe patterns to get you going.
Intarsia Knitting Patterns – Changing Colors Within A Row
Intarsia knitting involves blocks of color. These patterns are usually charted and pretty simple to follow. The difficulty with these projects is when you’re working them flat and have to remember which direction you’re reading the pattern. Once you get used to it, you’ll be fine.
Stranded Colorwork Knitting Patterns
This is where your knitting gets a bit more complex because you’re changing colors several times within each row. But we have all kinds of choices for you, from scarves to sweaters and some stuff in between.
Color Kaleidoscope Poncho If you haven’t already, YOU MUST SEE THIS!!! KAL in action right now!
Knit Colorwork – Mosaic Knitting Patterns
Mosaic knitting is a technique where you only use one color per row, but you use slipped stitches to get the patterning. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Check it out! It produces some fabulous looks!
2-Color Knit Brioche Patterns
Brioche is one of my favorite techniques. It’s so squishy and extra cozy since you have two colors in a rib pattern. It’s fascinating how this works, but don’t think too hard about it, just give it a try.
I know you’ll have found something here that piques your interest!
And don’t forget…there’s no need to be intimidated by knit colorwork when you can learn all about it at Camp Colorwork!
Summer might be just about over, but Camp Colorwork is open all year round!
All the lessons are yours FOR LIFE!
Here’s a few more options that may interest you:
Crazy Stripes Shawl – LOVE THIS ONE!!!