Colorwork knitting is a technique in which you knit with multiple colors of yarn. It’s quite similar to pixel art, except it is done with yarn and not a computer.
When I was younger I fell in love with the beauty of pixel art, how it could be simple or complex, realistic or stylized, and yet it was all made up of the same things: pixels! Just little squares of colors adding up to brilliant images.
With just those little squares you could make circles and gradients, curves and color changes; you could do anything even if the medium at first seems limiting.
Doing colorwork in knitting is a way to bring that beautiful art into a physical object, which is why I love it so much.
There are many techniques that can be used in colorwork knitting. For example you can make various color and shade gradations by patterning the various pigments in different ways.
Various color changes (all 17 x 15):
In the top pattern the colors change randomly, which creates a progression that looks like something that could be found in nature.
In the top-middle pattern the colors change in a repeating patterns, which creates a gradient that looks very clean and deliberate.
In the bottom-middle pattern the colors change in a sharper repeating pattern, which creates a streamlined color change.
In the bottom pattern the colors change suddenly, which creates a very sharp and unnatural color change.
Of course you don’t have to limit yourself to just color gradients. Using just two or three colors you can create all kinds of interesting patterns.
Here I have made some patterns using just two colors:
In the left square, I have created a 25 x 25 pattern that draws in the eyes by using just two colors and alternating lines.
In the middle square, I have created a 24 x 24 pattern inspired by the pine trees outside my home. They are a rich shade of green, and right now they are covered in snow! I tried to capture that snow and evergreen look with white dots and diamonds on a green background.
On the right square, I made a 24 x 24 repeating pattern that has hearts and stars. This would be a very nice pattern to use on a Valentine’s day gift.
Here I have made some patterns using three colors:
On the left square I have created a 27 x 25 pattern using two shades of green, and one shade of blue. This pattern and these colors were chosen by the way they remind me of the sea and water in general. With the correct yarn material, it would be great as a washcloth!
In the middle square I made a 27 x 25 pattern that was inspired by my fascination with night. The dark purple is the sky and the white and light purple are the stars in this ever expanding cosmos.
On the right square I created a 27 x 25 pattern inspired by embers and coal. This repeating pattern would look very nice as part of a quilt or afghan.
Here I have designed some animal faces using just two colors each:
These designs could of course all be done in the same two colors, or they could be done in different colors than the ones that I chose. If done in the same two colors, these animal designs would look very nice on a blanket!
I had a lot of fun learning how to do colorwork knitting, and I had a lot of fun designing all of those patterns.
If you enjoyed this blog post feel free to leave a comment or share it on social media. If you use any of these patterns send me a tweet @CozyRebekah and show me the results!