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We wrote plenty of resources last year leading up to our Winter of Colorwork KAL, so we’ll use this time before and during the KAL as opportunities to share our tips and techniques for working each part of your colorwork project — choosing colors, swatching for stranded colorwork, and sweater construction (if you’re working on a sweater), to name just a few.

Members of the Brooklyn Tweed Team are also knitting along with Gudrun Johnston’s Pascal Cardigan in Quarry (to be released next week with our Winter 19 collection), so our posts each week will be focused on working the parts of this project in particular. However, many of our tips, tricks, and suggested resources can still apply to whatever project you may be knitting — so feel free to participate with any pattern of your choice. (Tip: If you choose a project that involves steeking, such as the Pascal Cardigan, you can participate in Fringe Association’s Steekalong, as well!)

This week, we’re covering choosing colors for stranded colorwork knitting, the best part after choosing your pattern. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play — you can produce such a wide range of visual results from a single colorwork chart, depending on how you interact with your colors and especially when you have an eye toward the concepts of hue and value. We wrote a crash course on a few fundamental rules about color theory for stranded colorwork and how you can use this knowledge as a springboard in crafting your color palettes — click below to (re)read!

We knit our Pascal samples in the following colorways, and as you can see, you can produce such a wide range of color stories — whether bold or muted, dark or light.

And if you’re in need of more inspiration — Christina of the BT Team is knitting her Pascal in Slate (MC), Sandstone (C1), and Lazulite (C2). We used her swatches for our Steeking article — the motifs look quite a bit like a flock of sheep in this color combination!

Jamie, on the other hand, is knitting her Pascal in Sandstone (MC), Flint (C1), and Garnet (C2). The bright and rich red of Garnet pops beautifully against Sandstone and Flint’s neutral brown tones.

So, now that you’re armed with some color theory and (hopefully) plenty of inspiration — go forth and plan! If you’re knitting Pascal, don’t forget to download our Pascal Coloring Sheet to get your creative juices flowing. This is a great tool to test color placement before starting a swatch. As a supplement or alternative, you can also use the Compare Colors feature on all our yarn pages.

Christina is particularly keen on helping people choose colors for their knitting, so if you have any questions or would like a recommendation for any colorwork project, leave a comment below with the pattern name and color family you prefer, and she’ll be happy to help. (Tip: It’ll make her day!)

All right friends, it’s time to hone your colorwork knitting skills! Next week we’ll be talking about selecting a sweater size and swatching for colorwork, but until then you can read more about the Winter of Colorwork KAL and join the conversation in our Ravelry pre-chatter thread.

Leave a Comment

32 responses to “Winter of Colorwork KAL Part 1: Selecting Colors”

  1. Hi, Christina,
    I want to knit Voe, either in grey (main color) and golds or navy and golds. Suggestions?

  2. Hello Christina,

    I would love to knit Pascal and am thinking of Lapis as the main color and Sulphur or Citrine (C1) and Moonstone or Granite (C2). I am unsure about the contrast colors, which is why I picked two and would love some help or any other suggestions! Thank you – Susan

  3. Hey Christina, I’m knitting the Atlas (cardigan in kids). My main colour is “Woodsmoke” and I was originally thinking of “camper” and “hayloft” for the yoke colors but now I’m worried there won’t be enough contrast. I’d like to do something a little different from the pattern colors, any thoughts? I have pondered changing the background colour just for the yoke to “fossil” but I’d love your thoughts. Thanks!

  4. Hi Edie!

    I would suggest a combination of both ideas. Snowbound, Hayloft and Old World pair together nicely for a classic combination.

    Alternatively, knitting with Pumice, Hayloft and Yellowstone would be really beautiful. The green undertones in both Hayloft and Yellowstone, will pop against a grey background.

    Hope this helps!

    All the best,

  5. Hi Susan!

    These are very creative color combos. I compared the colors next to each other and Citrine leans more towards the warm color spectrum and Sulphur is a cold color. I would choose Sulphur if you are knitting with Lapis as your main color.

    For your C2, Moonstone would be my choice. It has blue heathers throughout the yarn that will compliment the Lapis, where as the Granite doesn’t “pop” as much with Lapis and Sulphur because it is so close in tone.

    Hope this helps and I’m excited to see your sweater!

    All the best,

  6. Hi Kate,

    I think those colors will contrast but it will have a subtle look. For a complimentary Camper color that will “pop” I would choose a purple, orange or red color that has a different value (a darker color or brighter color than Woodsmoke or Camper). Plume or Thistle would be my top choices.

    Also, we knit one of the Voe Sweater samples with Camper and Embers against a brown (Truffle Hunt) background and the result was really beautiful. I recommend taking a look at that as well!

    Hope this helps!

    All the best,

  7. I have the exact amount of Quarry in Geode to make the Pascal Cardigan. Suggestions for the other colors? I wound naturally go with something muted but I feel like I want to give it a pop of color!

  8. Would love to knit Pascal in a neutral, with Hematite as the darkest color choice. What would you recommend as the MC and C?

  9. Hi Christina again 🙂

    If I chose Hematite as my main color, what would you suggest as contrast colors?

    Thank you!- Susan

  10. Greetings Christina,

    My name is Chris Archie and I am in need of color support. I am a male thinking of joining the Winter KAL and knitting Pascal. I have been told I look good in navy blue and would like to add at least one color that ‘pop.’ I was thinking Lazulite for the MC, and Garnet and Geode.
    a) What do you think?
    b) Is Geode a light grey or is it a light lavendar?
    c) Is there another color you would recommend.

    PS – I have medium brown skin with a red and slight green undertones.

    Thanks for your help.

  11. Geode would be a really pretty main color for Pascal. I’d suggest Moonstone and Lazulite, for the pop of dark color. Geode is a lavender purple with blue heathers, so it will compliment the Lazulite and Moonstone. Happy knitting!

    All the best,

  12. Sandstone is a great light brown compliment to Hematite. For a contract color, I recommend Garnet, if you want a “pop” of bright color, or Flint for a more neutral contrast. Happy knitting!

    All the best,

  13. Hi, Susan!

    Nice to hear from you again. 🙂

    I would suggest Sandstone and Garnet for contrast colors. Or, if you wanted a brighter palette, Citrine and Gyspum would be really nice with Hematite!

    All the best,

  14. The pattern could potentially be modified to knit as a cardigan instead of a steeked pullover, but it would require knitting colorwork on both the right and wrong side of the garment. We can’t offer any support to modify the pattern in this way, but there are a lot of tutorials online regarding knitting colorwork flat and there may be some resources available to help with converting the pattern.

    That being said, we have just released a steeking tutorial, and would be happy to provide you with any support we can.

    All the best,

  15. Hi Chris,

    Happy to help!

    I really like the idea of adding in a color that “pops” since Lazulite is such a dark color. Geode is a light lavender purple and Granite is a light grey.

    I would recommend Granite instead Geode with Lazulite. The Lazulite sample that the model is wearing in the blog post is with Flint and Granite, to give you an idea of what those two colors will look like together.

    For a pop color with Lazulite and Granite, I’d suggest Lapis, for a blue sweater, or Sulphur for a pop of green. Garnet is a warm red, so my thought is that it might make the Lazulite color look a little flat against it.

    Hope this helps — feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions!

    All the best,

  16. Thx Christina,

    I never thought about using the greenish Sulphur.

    As a follow up question, why did you recommend granite say over moonstone?

  17. Christina,

    Thanks for the recommendation for Geode! I saw the lazulite and moonstone in person today and I can see why it’s such a good fit. I’m wondering if the lazulite and moonstone will look similar to the “flock of sheep” in the image above? If so, do you have another color suggestion?

    Thank you!

  18. Hi Christina,

    I was in my lys today and looked at the colors available to knit Pascal. I have eight skeins of Slate and just need to pick the contrast colors. I liked Moonstone and Lazulite for a more contrasty look, but then I saw Geode and I really loved it. Would Geode and Moonstone be too low contrast to work for this pattern? I was thinking it would yield a more watercolor-y look, which would be more subtle, but would it be TOO subtle? What do you think


  19. Hi Christina,

    I’m making the knitalong sweater for my sister whose school colors are black and gold. I was considering Obsidian (MC), Gypsum (C1), and Citrine (C2), but I’m not sure if Sulfur would be a better match since I want the yellow to pop but not clash. Does this sound like a good set or do you have other recommendations?



  20. Christina,

    I’ve purchased both Fabiola and Pascal and now thinking through colors in stash and what I might need to pick up as CC colors.

    For Fabiola, I have enough Loft in Birdbook for MC, and then woodsmoke and blanketfort as options for CC…what do you think?

    For Pascal, I have enough Serpentine and Sandstone for MC, then one skein options of Lapis, Hematite, and Geode…could we make a combo with any of those?



  21. Hi Carol,

    I think Geode and Moonstone will have less contrast, but I think you’re right that it will have a nice subtle look. Geode will show up against Moonstone in the background. There is a Pascal project on Ravelry using Moonstone as the Main Color, and Geode and Lazulite for the contrast colors. You can see it here, for an idea of how they will look together:

    Lazulite and Moonstone would also look great with Slate as a main color.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    All the best,

  22. Hi Catherine,

    I compared the colors next to each other and I think Citrine will be the best choice if you’re looking for a gold color in the Quarry palette. Sulphur is closer to a grassy green color.

    Obsidian, Gypsum and Citrine are really beautiful together. If you want a more subtle contrast color, you could substitute Sandstone for Gypsum, as well.

    Let me know if you have any additional questions!

    All the best,

  23. Hi Glenna,

    I’m excited to hear you’re going to knit both Fabiola and Pascal! I hope you’ll join us for the KAL.

    For Fabiola, I like the idea of those colors together, but the color value of Blanket Fort and Birdbook are really close, so the design might not “pop” enough. You might knit with Old World, Birdbook and Woodsmoke. Or You could use Postcard instead of Woodsmoke if you want to knit with a different purple. These Ravelry projects may help to visualize how the colors will look together:

    For Pascal, I recommend Sandstone (main color) and Lapis and Geode for the contrast colors. Hematite and Serpentine are really dark and don’t match quite as well with the other colors. You could knit a quick swatch in the round to test out the color combinations first, though. Sometimes unexpected colorways go together quite nicely!

    I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    All the best,

  24. Hi Christina,
    I would like to knit the Pascal. I like Moonstone as the Main Color and Lazulite as color 3(the “trees”), but I am unsure about what to do for Color 2. Would Slate bias everything too blue? Would granite work? Do you have any other color suggestions? I don’t have a LYS near me, so it is hard to tell how the tweedy flecks within the yarn can affect the actual color just looking at it online, nice to have a second opinion.

    Thanks a bunch,

  25. Hello
    I am thinking of joining the KAL and knitting fabiola, but could do with a little advice from anyone regarding potential colours. I was thinking for the main colour I’d really like to use Homemade Jam and for one of the contrasts I’d like Blanket fort but am not sure what the third colour should/could be. If its any help I have light/cool rosy skin and white hair. Any suggestions gratefully received/considered. Sadly all the gorgeous warm colours look great on other people but I can’t do them justice – they look terrible on me

  26. Hi Christina,

    I am planning to knit the Pascal cardigan for my husband. The colors we like are granite as the main color with hematite and lazulite for the pattern work. Without seeing the colors in person it is difficult to decide whether they will work well together. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.



  27. Hi Emily,

    Slate is grey but it does have blue undertones so it will lend itself well to Moonstone and Lazulite. I don’t think it will make the sweater overall look too “blue”. Granite will also work well. It is a true grey that is a slightly flatter color than Slate, in that the heathers are neutral as well. You could also use Lapis to brighten up the palette.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    All the best,

  28. Hi Carolyn,

    Hematite and Lazulite are both deep, dark colors so they may not make the motif “pop” next to each other. Lazulite, Flint and Granite were used in one of the samples that we photographed, to give you an idea of what those two colors look like together. I suggest swapping one of the dark colors for a lighter color, such as Sandstone, Moonstone or Flint, that will work well with Granite as a background.

    Let me know if you have any additional questions. We’d also be happy to send you some photos if that’s helpful!

    All the best,

  29. Hi Juliet,

    We hope you do join the KAL! Postcard would be a great complimentary color to Homemade Jam and Blanket Fort. It’s a light purplish-pink cool color. If you want more contrast Fossil would also work well as a neutral.

    Let us know if you have any additional questions!

    All the best,

  30. Today I received the yarn for the Pascal sweater from my favorite online stockist, in a colorway shown in the pattern: Lazulite, Flint and Granite. The Flint color that I received is a dead brown. It is darker and does not have the “life” of lighter toned color variation that is apparent on the Brooklyn Tweed website, showing a ball of the color. Even allowing for monitor color variation, this is a disappointment.

    How much variation is there in dyelots? I need that bit of warmer (tan) & lighter (medium) color to contrast with the Lazulite, and the Granite. I am experienced with colorwork and usually make independent color selections. This time, I trusted Brooklyn Tweed’s example.

    I am making the sweater for a guy who does not want bright colors, but this is dull.


  31. Hi Christina!

    I would like to knit the Galloway but am a little stuck on the color work choices. 🙂

    For one idea, I was thinking of using Pumice or Iceberg as the main color. But I’d like to have more of bright palette for the color work part. Something like Tartan or Thistle? But I’m not sure what would work well there?

    The other idea was to use maybe Embers for the main color, then Almanac for the color work, and maybe a leafy green + light neutral for the other two color work colors? But I’m not sure which green / neutral would work well?

    Thank you!

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