Beginner-friendly colourwork knitting projects

A little while ago, I shared a list of things I plan to knit for myself this year over on Instagram and asked about your knitting plans for 2019. And since many of you said you wanted to knit a very first colourwork project this year, I compiled a few beginner-friendly colourwork knitting projects! You’ll find a selection of some of our favourites as well as our on Sustainablist patterns (such as our brand new Highlander Hat), and quite a few more over on Pinterest (come follow along over there, if you like!). If colourwork knitting is something you're looking to get into, I'll hope you'll find a design you like, and if you’re looking for a quick, easy and helpful trick for choosing colours, this way!

Projects that use no more than two colours

As tempting as it may sound to go for the gorgeous four-colour circular yoke pullover yo had your eyes on for the longest time, you’ll most likely do yourself a favour by going a bit smaller and choosing a project that uses no more than two colours, especially if you’re making something with a fairly large surface. Juggling two different strands of yarn can be quite the challenge without adding even more strands already, promise!

Some of our favourite two-colour sweater designs include Caitlin Hunter’s Koivua and Willowwood, Isabell Krämer’s Humulus, Park Williams’ The Knitorious RGB, Jenn Steingass’ Darkwater and Fern & Feather, Michele Wang’s Adara and Junko Okamoto’s The Twigs. And how stunning is Catherine Clark’s Ixchel! Out of our own Sustainablist designs, we’d recommend Kronblad, Ice Flowers, Yukon or When Snow Falls, all of which use two colours. And in terms of smaller two-colour projets, what about our Vík, Kiyomi Burgin’s Deep Woods Toque, Joji Locatelli’s Vitsippa, Junko Okamoto’s Sister and Bouquet Sweater, or Skeindeer Knits’ Selbu Mittens?


Smaller projects

Projects that aren’t as big of a commitment as an adult size sweater are a great opportunity to try out a new-to-you technique, and colourwork is no exception! Depending on what you like to wear or gift, a hat, a pair of socks or mittens, a cowl or a baby sweater all make for great, doable first colourwork projects.

Caitlin Hunter’s Dyea and Immortalists, Ysolda Teague’s Mīlēt or Trin-Annelie’s Winter’s Fern, all use more than two colours but are fairly small. And the same goes for our Highlander Hat plus plenty other patterns you’ll find over on Pinterest!


slip-stitch colourwork

Did you know that there’s another type of colourwork where you use more than one colour, but only ever one at a time? It’s called slip-stitch colourwork or mosaic knitting and, depending on what feels challenging to you, might be a little easier compared to traditional stranded colourwork.

Our North, Baseline and Tête-Bêche use this technique, and other examples include Justyna Lorkowska’s Cozumel, Irene Lin’s Outing Shawl, Hunter Hammersen’s Incise, Lisa Hannes’ Afternoon in Lisbon, Camille Descoteaux’s Atoca or Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s Hisho.