Quotidian Colourwork at EYF

For me the best thing about EYF is getting to teach my classes there: Quotidian Colourwork and Colours of Edinburgh. I *love* seeing what people bring as inspiration sources, and the many various and unique ways in which comrades translate these into stranded colourwork. This morning I thought I would share some of them with you in two posts; one featuring Quotidian Colourwork and one featuring Colours of Edinburgh! I’ve tried to be brief but there is lots of glorious creativity to enjoy in the photos, so I suggest getting a cuppa before you dive in! Thanks so much to everyone who knitted with me at the awesome Edinburgh Yarn Festival and for blowing my mind all over again about how much fun it is to swatch the world around us into stranded colourwork.

Anna’s beautiful hostas

Sometimes the way a photograph captures or enhances the colours of nature can be a great starting point for knitting stranded colourwork, as for Anna here with her photo inspiration source of hostas, and the beauteous blue green palette that she extrapolated from it…

Geraldine’s special Indian fabric

…for folk like Geraldine, it is the sumptuous materials of physical things that provide inspiration, like this gorgeous embroidered fabric found on a recent trip to India…

Louise’s landscape

…landscapes are a time-honoured and popular inspiration source, but I especially loved the contrast in Louise’s photo between the lilac bushes and the deep red sand…

Jesse’s suburban rail ticket

…a palette that resonates, too, in Jesse’s beautiful suburban rail ticket, with its peaches, purples and deep coral hues…

Tabea’s new shoes!

…you can’t beat stuff that’s just ON YOUR PERSON for an instant inspiration source, and I love the enthusiasm with which Tabea set about translating her new sneakers into stranded colourwork, and the way that knitting the shoes inspired a discussion about their distinctively bold, high-contrast aesthetic…

Alex’s amazing roof tiles

…and there is something deeply satisfying about transposing the grid-like structure of the built environment into the grid-like structure of charted knitting, as in Alex’s translation of the roof tiles of the Matyas Templom in Budapest, shown here!

Angela’s moss on rocks

…I believe every knitter has a secret stash of lichen photos, documented for future repurposing in knitting… is it the way the soft texture and beauteous colours sing to our knitterly instincts? or the way that heathery yarns so perfectly resemble the semi-solid (often pastel) tones of lichens? I’m not sure, but there is always lichen in my classes, and it’s always a treat to see. I think Angela has done a beautiful job here of drawing out the subtleties of her pastel-dotted rock picture…

Johanna’s salad

…Johanna’s salad is another reminder of the inspiration that daily tasks such as cooking can provide, and it was great fun working out how to shade from green to purple as in the radicchio leaves pictured here…

Joanne’s magazine page

…I love how Joanne drew specific shading schemes and ideas for her knitting from this magazine page, and how in trying to describe the fiddly pattern on the bag pictured in the scene we coined the verb “to specklise” – i.e. to change colours very frequently across your stranded colourwork in order to produce a “speckly” or “detailed” effect…

Dominique’s Abbey

…Dominique bought in this photo of an Abbey in her hometown, from which she drew together a calm and subtle palette of greys, blues and golds, reflecting the light in the sky and glinting off the architecture…

Jannike’s Iceland sky

…while Jannike found some similar (but darker) tones in the beautiful grey blue skies from her photos in Iceland…

Sabine’s lipstick tin

…everyday things are a wondrous source of inspiration, and I was really made up that Sabine brought in this bright, jolly lipstick tin from which to experiment with high contrast, acid bright shades of stranded colourwork…

Andrea’s yarn truck

…and who can argue with the charms of Andrea’s beautiful yarn truck – the itinerant home of Laines & Co.? The found stripes, the restrained reds, the greys and the brick lines behind…

Rhiannon’s picture

…someone always brings a big THING to my Quotidian Colourwork classes – it’s one of the highlights for me to see what it will be each time! – and this year at EYF it was an amazing painting that Rhiannon brought along as her material inspiration source for knitting glorious turquoise and gold ideas…

Rhiannon’s painting translated into stranded colourwork

…the natural world is a popular source of inspiration and I really enjoyed watching the progress of Lene’s ferns, so perfectly matched to her famous cherry blossom yoke cardigan

Lene’s fern bag, charts and knitting
Lene’s fern swatch and cherry blossom cardigan

…I fancy you can really see Lene’s distinctive style when you see the cherry blossoms and the ferns together, and it really is magical to see how every knitter’s different approach distinguishes their ideas from that of their comrades. In Verity’s swatch – also botanical in nature – daffodils are not literally translated into stranded colourwork: instead, they provide the basis for a gloriously bold, striped design. I love how she has reversed the motif to create a kind of symmetry and rhythm…

Verity’s daffodil design
Loret’s Dutch hats

Similarly, I love how Loret has simplified the shapes of these traditional Dutch hats, and found ways to shade the background that reflect the colours in traditional National dress.

Thank you so much to everyone who came and who knitted, who swatched, who took risks, who tried different inspiration sources and who brought so much colour and flair and creativity to QUOTIDIAN COLOURWORK classes at EYF! If you would like to continue your swatches and the conversations we started in Edinburgh, please visit the KNITSONIK Ravelry group, where you’ll find experienced KNITSONIK swatchers happy to help and share ideas. YOURS IN SWATCHING! XF

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6 Responses to Quotidian Colourwork at EYF

  1. Terry Hickman says:

    Beautiful things! Thanks for posting them!

  2. Dianna Walla says:

    I’d recognize those roof tiles anywhere – that’s not Munich, that’s the Matyas Templom in Budapest! I once charted a colorwork pattern based on that roof, which I used for a magazine submission. I’ve still got balls of wool in all those shades… The tricky thing about that roof, though, is that the tiles are hexagonal, so you can’t be entirely literal. It was a fun creative challenge.

  3. It’s always really interestinng to read your posts about your classes, I think it’s impossible to see them without feeling all overflowing with inspiration…as well as seeing all the beautiful swatching and colour play going on here, it’s fascinating to see so many different knittng needles in use…..

  4. Administration says:

    Oh gosh! Thanks for pointing that out – I’ve now corrected the post; I must have misheard when I wrote down “Munich”. Really interesting to hear your experiences of charting from that same inspiration source – one of the real challenges is that very often literal translations aren’t possible, but luckily us knitters are pretty sneaky at finding clever workarounds! Would love to see your magazine submission, is it online anywhere?

  5. Anne says:

    Thank you! It’s 10am in Chicago and you’ve completely altered my outlook on this day.

  6. Elaine says:

    Wow – inspiring!!

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