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10 Projects to Learn New Skills: Colorwork

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10 Projects to Learn New Skills: Colorwork

Often, when I am looking for a new pattern for a project, I like to pick something that features a technique that I haven’t tried before. This way, I learn something with each new project. Usually, I pick something on the small side (a hat, scarf, mitts, etc.). But I know more than a few knitters and crocheters who like to “go all in” when they take on a new challenge, picking out large, more complex designs to keep their yarncrafting interesting.

Whether you like a small project or a large one for a new challenge, I hope you learn something with these projects.

Join me next week for 10 more projects with which to learn new skills!

Intarsia Knitting

Create elaborate-looking designs with basic stitches when you follow a colorwork chart! By switching colors at various points in the pattern, you create graphic designs that look extremely impressive.

Got the hang of it? Create your own designs  with knitting graph paper.


Image of Intarsia Polka-Dot Scarf Image of NYC Skyline Afghan
Knit Intarsia Polka-Dot Scarf Knit NYC Skyline Afghan

Intarsia Crochet

Just like in intarsia knitting, you’ll follow a chart to create beautiful designs in simple stitches.

You can also create your own charts by using crochet graph paper to draw your designs!

Image of Stripes And Arrows Afghan Image of Intarsia Brocade Afghan
Crochet Stripes and Arrows Afghan Crochet Intarsia Brocade Afghan

Slip-Stitch Knitting

Create colorwork without having to work two strands of yarn at a time. With slip-stitch knitting, elongated slipped stitches give the look of a more complex pattern.

Image of Berry Sparkle Scarf Image of Shaded Stripes Afghan
Knit Berry Sparkle Scarf Knit Shaded Stripes Afghan

Spike Stitch Crochet

Crocheters, you can get a similar effect to slip-stitch knitting with patterns using elongated stitches or spike stitches. By working stitches that sit in front of a previous row, you create colorwork without having to switch colors within the same row.

Image of 2 Color Crochet Sally Doll Image of Zen Spiral Afghan
2-Color Crochet Sally Doll Crochet Zen Spiral Afghan

Fair Isle (or Stranded Knitting)

Working with two colors in a row can feel a little strange, but once you get used to it, Fair Isle allows you to create wonderful repeating patterns in your work.

Image of Fair Isle Hat Image of Colorful Fair Isle Throw
Knit Fair Isle Hat Knit Colorful Fair Isle Throw
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  • Very beautiful projects!! I love the intarsia scarf, the shaded stripes afghan, and the fair isle hat. I haven’t worked intarsia before so I might have to knit up that scarf. I too like working projects using techniques that I’ve never done before.
    One questions I have (and perhaps in the future maybe you can do a tutorial) is when I knit fair isle patterns in the round, such as a hat, I get that weird jog which I know is inevitable when doing color in the round. I was wondering if, when working fair isle, there is a way to avoid or “fix” it. When I work stripes I do the slip stitch purl wise, move stitch marker over one stitch method that I had seen on TechKnitting’s blog. But I don’t know if I can do that with fair isle while also keeping my pattern.
    Thank you!! And I am also glad to hear Lion Brand (and people in New York and New Jersey) are slowly recovering from Superstorm Sandy!

  • I would love to see more intarsia related posts!

  • Wow, these are amazing!, my favorite is the NYC skyline one, but I am nowhere near advanced enough to attempt that yet!. It is so admirable to see such amazing work done by hand; I must admit I don’t know if I would have the patience or persistence needed to complete such a time-consuming project. I do love to increase the difficulty of my projects to improve and challenge my knitting, I recently completed my first sweater using hometown USA and it looks AMAZING! ^_^ that is one of my fav. yarns! yay Lionbrand! *_^

    Thanks for the inspiration, I love receiving my friday newsletters! *_^

    XoX, Meli


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  • Love the Intarsia Polka-Dot Scarf, and so will my grandkids! Thanks very much.

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