Recently I have been trying to spend more time paying attention to neutrals as part of my knitting colour palette. Although I very much enjoy wearing neutral colours – oatmeal grey, chocolate brown, demin blue, and cream white in particular – I much less frequently enjoy knitting with them. When I’m choosing yarn from a store or my stash I have a much easier time reaching for a colour – being particularly fond of reds, greens, and purples – than I do for a neutral. I know this is entirely because if I’m going to be spending sometimes several weeks (or even months) looking at a project, its going to be much more fun to look at a colour than a (relative) absence of colour.

Mineshaft Jaywalkers

I’m trying, though. Neutrals are super versatile in one’s wardrobe, and I actually think they feel very foundational and comforting to wear, so it probably makes no sense that the actual knitting of them makes me hesitate. So, yea verily, when I finished my last pair of Jaywalker socks last week and it was time to pluck another bit of yarn from the stash for the next one (my sock yarn stash is ample, that’s how I roll), I actively made myself pay attention to the neutral options. There are greens and reds waiting ever so nicely, but no no, not this time – this time we go with the greys and browns.

Mineshaft Jaywalkers

I won’t lie, it is less fun than looking at greens or reds, but I’m cranking out the rows gradually and I know that once I get these done they are going to be one of the busiest pairs of socks in my drawer. They’ll be great with jeans. Is this the real secret of product knitting vs. process knitting? I always figured it had to do with skill level and stitches or garment style but maybe it’s actually about the colour. Who knew.

Have an awesome weekend, knitter friends – and pet some nice grey yarn for me while you’re at it. Over and out!


Pattern: Jaywalkers (Ravelry link), pattern by Grumperina originally featured on Magknits, now free on Ravelry
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in ‘mineshaft’






  1. Oh Glenna I can relate with reaching for the color yarn. I too tend to have much more color in my stash than not. But…. I love, love, love the look of neutrals in the pictures people post. I may take the challenge and start something neutral. That means buying more Yarn – oh darn.

  2. Caitlyn M. · ·

    I don’t have any trouble knitting with grey, since it’s one of my favorite colors, but I struggle to buy any navy yarn, even though it’s another favorite and a great neutral option. It’s not that I worry it will be hard to see the stitches while working, but that any pattern will be swallowed up by all the shadows and hard to see or photograph when it’s done. It seems a shame to hide a textural or lace motif in dark yarn, but knitting a navy sweater in all stockinette might kill me with boredom. (Then again, it probably wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t always find myself knitting with fingering weight. I suppose a worsted weight stockinette sweater would knit up pretty speedily during a Netflix binge.)

  3. caityrosey · ·

    I know what you mean. I have to remind myself that when knitting a garment a neutral color might sometimes be a better investment of my time.

  4. Although I love red too, I also have a thing for brown. Like grays, browns can have so many shades! The variegated gray is a great match with the Jaywalker pattern, too.

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess · ·

    They are beautiful. I agree the bright colors are much more fun to knit but I also prefer to wear the neutral colors.

  6. My son noted a few years ago that I was “knitting like a magpie” – with only bright coloured yarns. He was right. Gradually I moved over to more neutral tones and I find they really show off my knitting better. Very gratifying. Interestingly, people can’t believe I knit the muted pieces myself but they are always ready to guess the bright stuff came off my needles!

  7. I sometimes seem to have the opposite problem. Besides the fact that I adore wearing neutral colors, especially brown and grey, my husband won’t wear a knitted sweater that isn’t neutral. Knitting these colors in winter doesn’t bother me as long as there is stitch definition, but now that Spring has arrived, I am itching for more color! It is funny, though, that when I crochet, I have to use color. Knitting, not so much.

  8. […] at: Recently I have been trying to spend more time paying attention to neutrals as part of my knitting […]

  9. I can so relate to this……with knitting as well as sewing and in all areas of my life. I love the look of neutrals in clothing and homewares but working with them just does not give me the same buzz. Colours make me happy and seeing them in my fabric and wool stashes also makes me happy….for me they have the same effect as flowers. So I try to work with a healthy balance of both.

  10. I always go fro color and my wardrobe is neutral. I knit color for everyone.

  11. Moorecat · ·

    I agree, but neutral knitting doesn’t have to mean all in one shade.

    Currently working on “All the Shades of Truth”

    I am cheating slightly, replacing the cream with a soft teal 🙂

  12. I find I’m more likely to pick neutrals in the summer. Winter makes me crave bright vivid colours.

  13. I’m the same! I love bright colours, especially for socks, and yet I’m usually just a plain black sock kinda gal…. Hmm, maybe you’re on to something 🙂

  14. Hillary · ·

    These are beautiful! I would love to see a post of pictures with you modeling your socks with the outfits they go with! (Mainly the shoes– I’m hesitant to knit socks because I don’t know how I would wear them!)

  15. I am just past the toe of my second sock with that exact yarn….. Looks completely different in jaywalker though.

  16. I try to see the beauty in the wool itself. If it’s a good quality fibre, and the light is just right, you get the same thrill from knitting beige as you would from red or purple.

  17. I’m totally a neutral person. Lisa Lloyd’s “A Fine Fleece” is one of my fave books and a constant inspiration for me both as a designer and a spinner. I also love Japanese knitting books, which frequently feature neutral tones. I’m not averse to a brightly coloured scarf, though!

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