KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit eBook – projects and postcards from the club

photo by Britt Arnhilds - colouring pencils and shades for Brightlingsea found in Burano, Venice

It’s been a busy week as I’ve been working to move the club for the KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit eBook from Slack to Teachable. The reason for this move is that Slack have changed their terms for unpaid plans, so that the last 10k messages will no longer be accessible – rather, it will be just messages from the last 90 days.

The idea for our Slack group was that it would be an evergreen collection of ideas, thoughts, creative processes and projects shared for – and by – everyone who enrolled back in April. Deleting everything older than 90 days doesn’t fit with that idea and so, since learning about the change of policy, I’ve been copying and pasting all our conversations across into Teachable and re-uploading all our lovely Zoom calls there as well. If you’re a KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit club member, keep an eye on your emails for news of the updates, and how to move across to Teachable so we can keep playing with colours together this autumn!

The process of going through all our notes has been really joyous and has created a lovely opportunity to review some of the amazing things people have been making. I thought you might like to see what folks have been making using ideas from the KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit eBook and how folks have been using colouring-in as a practical aid to creative stranded colourwork.

Check out how Sue has used colouring-in and swatching to resolve ideas around recolouring Patricia’s Brightlingsea Scarf. Brightlingsea offers such a wonderful template for celebrating a multitude of different inspiration sources and here Sue has adapted it to celebrate the charismatic red boathouses of Sunndalsøra, Norway, set against a brooding and dramatic winter sky. I love seeing how Sue has used the KNITSONIK Knit Stitch Template to transpose the blues and golds of the original Brightlingsea sample into moody grey skies and hot bright reds.

pages from Sue's journal, showing (left page) red houses above a brooding lake, in Sunndalsøra; right page showing adaptations of the Brightlingsea motif to reflect this alternative inspiration source

After resolving ideas through colouring-in and swatching, Sue made a beautiful cowl with a striped lining, and the Sunndalsøra skies and boathouses on the outside. It’s amazing! Ravelry users can cover it in hearts here.

closeup of Sue's beautiful cowl, lined with a stripy section of greys and charcoals and featuring, on the outside, the Brightlingsea motif of waves and huts, here speaking to the red boathouses of Sunndalsøra and moody Norwegian skies

Also using the KNITSONIK Knit Stitch Template in a journal, and also in Norway, Joy’s workings – based on the boathouses of Flam – rework Patricia’s motif to reflect a lovely summery Scandinavian palette.

beautiful playful workings of motif and shapes, in a journal, with lots of trying out of colours and shades on the page

Going through our notes, I spotted Elaine’s insight that “the constraints of the pattern led me down a colour path I otherwise wouldn’t have travelled, and I love the outcome!” This, I think, is exactly the point of Patricia’s design and the very helpful guidelines she has put together in the eBook for anyone wishing to recolour it! Elaine drew inspiration from a lighthouse spotted in New England and came to a lovely resolution of ideas in her knitting through a process in which colouring-in facilitated some very creative stash exploration.

Many balls of yarn on a couch, and some workings in a notebook, of different potential colour combinations

A version of the Brightlingsea motif in which the huts are white, the background is pine green, and the diamonds are peach, chartreuse and brown

There were several reasons for deciding to make this an eBook rather than a print book but perhaps the main one is that there are quite a few printable pages designed to be printed and coloured as many times as required. For me, stationery-lover, a massive highlight of the KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit project is seeing these pages in action!

Sue's amazing colouring-in workings for the Cheers! Mitts - breaking down one intense skein of Wollmeise into a constituent set of solid colours in greens and yellows

The Print & Colour pages for Nolwenn’s Cheers! Mitts have proved incredibly helpful to several folks working through ideas for finding solid shades to complement a busy skein of variegated yarn. Sue used the above drawings to refine shading sequence ideas for this amazing pair of Cheers! mitts, the palette for which was drawn from one lone skein of precious Wollmeise yarn.

Sue's glorious Cheers! mitts, the palette for which is based on a precious skein of green/yellow WOLLMEISE yarn

Marilee – creator of this amazing version of Flombre – has also used the print and colour pages from the eBook to refine the shading sequence and palette for her black and white and ice-cream version of the design (read more about her process on her blog, here).

Marilee's pink and white and black and icecream shades, coloured-in, to help visualise the end appearance of the mitts

Marilee's pink and white and black and icecream shades, coloured-in, to help visualise the end appearance of the mitts

I have been very struck, in the club, by how much difference it makes to the overall appearance of Nolwenn’s Cheers! Mitts to simply change the order in which the complementary yarn shades are arranged – a process reflected in some of the many pictures of coloured-in printable pages present in the club.

Marilee's black and white and ice-cream colour mitts

The whole idea for KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit was to do much more than simply provide a pattern and some blank templates – each design includes a lot of resources so that recolouring the design isn’t a wide open brief, but a nice contained one with pointers and guidelines. I think of it like this, if you say to me “Felix can you make dinner” I have no starting point and there’s just a big blank space where DINNER needs to go. But if you said “Felix can you make dinner, we have some mushrooms that need using up, and there’s a load of ripe green fennel seeds out in the garden” then my mind is immediately thinking “hmm what about a mushroom risotto with some tarragon and fennel… how about some ham to go with that?”

It’s just the same with colours and creative play – we all need a starting place. This is a central tenet of KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit because I know that if I say “you can use any colours you want/do whatever you like” there is no point from which you might happily begin. In contrast to this, both Cheers! and Brightlingsea offer lovely, inviting starting points to get a creative process going – and to get it going in different ways. Brightlingsea has everyone both spotting hut-shaped buildings and narrowing down infinite possible palettes to just five precious colours while Cheers! gets you reappraising variegated yarn you bought once (because you loved the colours) and really appreciating, analysing and using what is there. As Marilee says, “I really enjoyed this project! It was interesting to really look at the variegated yarn and figure out how to make the colours play with each other and the basic yarn”.

It’s lovely to see people’s process of starting – as Nolwenn does in her beautiful photo tutorial for the eBook book – with a skein of variegated yarn, and mining it for their very favourite shades. How gorgeous is this Old Maiden Aunt yarn, photographed by Joy? I just love the shades she’s found within it using coloured pencil. Would you have picked the same ones were you looking for four shades within this very variegated skein?

Joy's photo of a skein of Old Maiden Aunt yarn, with coloured pencils picking out her favourite shades within

Bev struggled with finding just four in the special skein she used for the starting point for her Cheers! mitts…

Bev's amazing skein of multicoloured yarn, and ALL THE POTENTIAL MATCHES in solid shades, behind

…and ended up adapting the design so she could use more complementary colours in her finished pair.

Bev's amazing multicoloured mitts

Bev had to have this skein because it was so colourful (how many of us can relate to that?) and Cheers! provided the perfect opportunity both to really appreciate its colours AND to make something useful from them. Bev says these mitts are “probably the brightest things I’ve ever knitted and I can’t wait for it to be cool enough to wear them for walking the dog and yes, they make me smile”.

Thanks to everyone in the club for sharing your ideas, for bearing with me while I move all our photos and stories from Slack into Teachable, and for bringing such creativity and playto our work together. If you didn’t sign up for the club you can still make these projects and undertake these processes in your own time as the eBook has everything you need – and much more than I’m able to show here! The club took a slight hiatus over the summer because 1. I needed to finish laying out the book and 2. the last two projects are far too hot and heavy to knit in the very hot weather that we’ve been having here these past few weeks! However, there’s a slight coolness in the air today which is making me really excited about doing more with Flombre and Japonica in coming weeks, and seeing new colouring-in and creativity based around these patterns and their inherent use of gradients and shading.

Heidi peeps out mischievously from beside her mitts; they perfectly match her cowl and hat

Japonica by Beverley Dott - A dramatic statement wrap bearing a complex allover pattern and beautiful coloured, ribbed edging - is worn by Taia, who looks really snug, it as she pulls it up around her neck and face. Under the wrap Taia wears a bright red dress and some coordinating leaf green eye makeup. She is smiling.

If you use Ravelry you’ll find all the patterns from our eBook listed in the database. I’m afraid I have deeply struggled with trying to manage a Ravelry forum on top of everything else I do, but if there are folks here who use Ravelry and want to share ideas and processes from KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit, please feel free to start something up in the KNITSONIK Ravelry group.

Until soon,

PS the featured image for this post is by Britt Arnhilds and features colouring pencils and shades for Brightlingsea found in Burano, Venice

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