Thanks, everyone, who has signed up for the Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless Raglan knitalong. I am very excited by all the participants this year. Knitting together and learning from each other and getting new ideas from others is what this is all about. While I have knitted seven or eight of these sweaters I am still learning, so this is self-help rather than instruction. If in doubt Elizabeth herself will guide you through her lovely book Knitting without Tears.
I hope you have worked out your gauge by now – instruction were provided last week.
Today we are going to discuss colour and stripes.
Here are some designer items for you to consider.
What do we see? Actually on the whole we have exciting and very novel approaches to colour combining, differential widths of stripe and a few interesting details. Have a look at some well-known fashion houses – many of them have some nice striped jerseys at the moment. You may also notice how terribly expensive these items are, reflecting small runs and an exclusive look. But, ladies, our sweaters will be even more exclusive. We are making made-to-measure one offs. And we have the wonderful advantage of chosing colours that harmonise with our colouring.
Colours that suit your colouring
Apart from a couple of muted colourways I have gone for fairly bright examples here as they tend to suit me better than deeps or lights. Think about choosing a set of colours which go your colouring. If you have black hair maybe choose deep colours, with a few brights thrown in. If you have warm colouring what about greens and orange? And if you have light colouring look for subtle, gentle light colours that almost blend as you knit them. The Pringle monochrome is a nice sweater with its shading from light at the base to deepest green near the face. I would have reversed this arrangement so you have the deeper colour around the hips/waist and the lighter colours over the bust and nearer the face, but if you have a large bust you may want to have the deeper shades at the top.
Colours that work with your wardrobe
A striped sweater is a real wardrobe staple as it can go with so many things. When you choose your colours you can introduce colours you wear often – your best neutrals for example – denim blues, grey, black or brown. Or if you like a contrast with your mainly blue wardrobe include pinks, yellow or orange. For me green is a colour I am a bit low on, so I am going towards green this time.
One of my previous seamless Raglan striped sweaters features neutral colours – greys and beige, with a little light pink, lemon and white. This has proved to be a very nice, versatile item. The shades also harmonise well with my hair that includes beige, blonde and grey and silver. Although I generally like to wear colour in my jumpers this neutral colour scheme is a keeper and I am surprised that it is often complemented. I think it is quiet but a bit different – and compared to a plain grey or beige sweater it does have a bit of excitement.
I made one in gray cashmere (you can see this is a try on picture as the underarms are not yet sewn and it is paired with running shorts…). I actually lengthened this with ribbing later on, but you can see how one colour can work well with stripes. I really like wearing this sweater as the cashmere yarn is so very soft it feels marvellous and warm.
My third version is much more colourful. I used whatever I had for this one, with grey and beige playing their part. It includes quite a few blues and greens, deeper reds and purple too, so it works well with lots of my skirts, especially a deep red corduroy one I have, and navy.
I also made a couple of these with an ombre look which might appeal to you. This is easily achieved by using an variegated yarn, or just doing slightly more subtle stripes. The bright pink was a plain yarn, and the rest of the jersey uses the variegated yarn. I have a small amount of the bright pink left and am thinking of using this up with my green yarns this time.
What colours to mix together
While I have made suggestions on tending to stick to one colour scheme, there is also the issue of how you balance and blend colours together. I like to mix neutrals in. I find colour after colour can be a bit tiring, whereas when you add some neutrals it helps the colourful colours along. Some neutrals can really make other colours stand out – particularly if you chose white or black consistently. Helene is planning on brights against black, and recently Helen used rainbow colours against white. These are both the most effective backdrops for the clear colours. But if your colours are a bit softer or mixed then grey or beige will be easier. My stronger colour jumper above has beige, grey, and a few pastel colours in.
Using what you have
And then there is economy and using up what you have. I was sort of following this principle with all my jerseys so far, but when I was buying I had this idea in my mind. I think you can mix just about any colour with any colour, but if you stick with one palette eg deeper, or cool, or muted colours, you will get a harmonious look. In my stronger colour jumper all the shades I have are cool (with a blue undertone), or they are neutrals which go with anything.
Stripe size and placement
I tend to stick to two to six rows. This means my stripes are fairly narrow, but also varied. You can do this too, or use larger stripes, or stick to smaller ones. Generally if you are larger you will suit a bigger stripe, and vice versa. If you are making for a child or a man, bear scale in mind. Also look at what the designers have done. I would steer clear of an obvious pattern like four rows of navy, followed by four rows of white, ad nauseam. This will look like RTW and is more boring to knit. BUT the choice is yours, of course.
How to join your colours
This is a tricky one. I have tried all the techniques and I do get a bit of looseness around the interchange. In the end I do the simplest thing and knot the two colours together. The other method seems to be to knit one or more stitches that include both colours. I don’t have a brilliant solution here, so I will wait to see if anyone can suggest a better method.
The issue of “jogs” will irritate some of you. The method that Helene showed me involves slipping the first stitch on the second row of the new colour. I think this is very neat and you could try this. Personally I don’t care about jogs.
What colours are you planning to use? Any colour, sizing or gauge questions?
And any tips on joining your yarns?