Just one more row

Like other specialized techniques in knitting, I know stranded colour-work often gets a reputation. It looks so impressive as a finished result that, if you’ve never done it before, it’s easy to hesitate. And I get that, I mean, it does take a bit of concentration to get into it, and if you’re only used to knitting with one colour at a time, knitting with two colours at once can be a little daunting.

But if you ask me, this isn’t the true challenge of stranded colour-work. Once you figure out how it goes and get a bit of practice at it, you’re all good to go and can start using it on projects as big as blankets or as small as mittens. You can go as fine as laceweight and knit yourself some Sanqhar gloves, or go chunky on a Cowichan style cardigan. No no, the real challenge isn’t learning how to do it.

The real challenge is figuring out how to put it down.


I’m so sorry, Other Sweater That Is So Close to Being Finished. And Pair of Socks and Yarns Waiting Ever So Patiently To Be Swatched, I owe you an apology as well. Dearest Yarn Purchased At Sock Summit, well, I’m very sure I meant all those sweet things I said to you about all the good times we were about to have with each other. I’m going to get to you all really really soon.

I just have to knit a few more rows on this colour-work cardigan and then I’ll TOTALLY be right with you.


…Well okay. Probably.

(Relatedly: progress on the Longbottom cardigan is going well. More on the rest soon enough! Happy knitting today.)


  1. I have not been brave enough to try color-work yet, your item is absolutely gorgeous!!

  2. I’m still working on getting my tension even in color work, but I love it! Soon I will do color work socks and combine two things I love! Ha!

  3. You’ll get there! It’s just a matter of practice. If you’re working 2-handed always try to keep the left-hand colour sitting on the left side of you, and the right-hand colour sitting on the right side of you. Helps to not get them tangled up!


  4. I have not attempted color work like that yet…..one day…one day.

  5. Seeing your beautiful WIP and those gorgeously skinny needles makes me want to dig into my stash and pull out the lovely grey and white cakes that have been hibernating (okay, languishing) in my drawers!

  6. Doooo it! You won’t regret it 😉


  7. Can’t wait to see it in colors, looks so pretty and complex. I think I will start to experiment with fair isle this winter, your post makes me want to try it. A few months ago you encouraged me to knit a Pi, so I knitted my very first Pi shawl and I’m very happy I did, it was a great experience. Thank you!

  8. Can’t wait to see the finished sweater…such lovely colors.

  9. I totally understand! The temptation to knit “just one more row” is crazy. BTW- the Longbottom sweater looks aah-mazing! Can’t wait to see it finished 🙂

  10. christine m. east of toronto · ·

    oh i hear ya sister! who can resist the charms of a growing colourwork pattern? not moi, that is for darn sure! 😉

  11. Wow – that is just gorgeous. I wish I could do color work like that – I’m just too scared… but that is drop dead amazingly beautiful.

  12. That is the problem with colour work! I’m itching to get started on another stranded work, possibly something steeked. Any suggestions on finding a steeked cardigan project? (I’m not looking to adapt a pullover into cardigan… yet.)

    Another reason for keeping one colour on each side in two handed knitting (apart from keeping the wool from being tangled) is colour dominance. I learned this the hard way… Two mittens are identical but one looks as though it is red with brown stripes and the other looks brown with red stripes… All because I switched the colours from one hand to the other.

  13. It’s very true about colour dominance! Always a good idea to keep the pattern colour in the left hand and the background colour in the right hand.

    Steeked cardigans are sadly few – though I’m planning to do a couple of patterns myself! I do recommend modifying the Elizabeth Zimmerman yoked sweater for a cardigan as a nice option though, you can use the EPS to do whatever gauge you want and the plain stockinette body gives you some nice plain knitting to get started with.


  14. Mm, I have this problem with lace work. Just one more row…one more…well, maybe another pattern repeat…

  15. GinkgoKnits · ·

    I am currently working on an EPS yoked cardigan — it’s going to be my first try at steeking. I think a lot of beginner frustration with colorwork could be avoided by using yarns similar to traditional shetland wools. The stickiness of these yarns really melds the stitches together during blocking so there are fewer noticeable tension issues. It’s also a neat reminder of why the traditional materials were used in the first place (man, I’ve really become a knitting nerd!).

  16. I totally know what you mean, I’ve got a vest that has to be knit, but the colourwork mittens I’m designing keep calling to me. I must be strong, they don’t have a time limit on them; though I did finish the thumb today

  17. Sharon in VA · ·

    Are you planning to release this pattern? I really love fair isle knitting and this is beautiful. I always vow to NEVER do another one, but fall in love with a design like this every two-three years…it’s time, please share!

  18. Why thank you! I absolutely plan to release the pattern when it’s done, it’s just a matter of…well, getting it done! 😉 But I am aiming for a fall release.


  19. ramblingdesigns · ·

    I do like colourwork! It is great in between knitting socks and lace! 🙂 I am planning a project myself! Love the colours you chose for yours!

  20. Thanks for the tip towards EZ’s yoked cardigan. I’ll take a look on ravelry tonight (I’m princesswarrior). I’m also thinking of steeking the pullover on the cover of Modern Vintage Knits. We’ll see!

  21. “The real challenge is figuring out how to put it down.” — Yes, absolutely! Colorwork and good books just make the hours vanish. Let me know if you ever do get that putting-down thing figured out. I’d love to learn.

  22. Hear hear. Colourwork is the crack.

  23. wow it looks really good! I can’t wait to see it all knit up. And I totally agree with you about the colourwork, it’s addictive and so much fun to do. I plan on making a colourwork cardigan/jumper sometime in the hopefully not too distant future.

  24. Wow, looks great!!

  25. Your project looks awesome! I love doing colorwork

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