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February 20, 2019

When I was designing the Icefall sweater, one of the most pleasant tasks was choosing just the right palette. After quite a lot of stitch pattern development, I settled upon the motif I would work with. But then, which colours to use? Instead of a symmetrical colour pattern, I had this idea to use 4 colours in a different way.

With this in mind I chose a deep rich blacky brown Tukuwool Fingering ’05 anga’ for the main colour of the jumper. Very dark and very light colours for a sweater body make for easy contrast colour choices. Everything pops!

The brights that I chose to set against this as the ‘panes’ of coloured glass were the next thing to choose. While traditional Fair-Isle patterns have a symmetrical arrangement of colour about a pattern centreline (loads of examples of that in this post), I had an idea about a 4-colour palette, with a different kind of symmetry. I thought I’d put the brighter colours, that would have stronger contrast with the body colour, at the centre, with the deeper, more saturated colours on either side. I decided to work two hues, one top, one bottom.

I trialed out A LOT of different options in Tukuwool Fingering (yup, I now have nearly ALL the colours, I love it!). My colour palette trials might give you ideas about how you’d like to work your version of Icefall.

How did I have the time and energy to make so many swatches? Spoiler alert: I used a knitting machine while I was developing both the motif, and then to choose the palette for this design. This allowed me to make slight adjustments to the stitch pattern, and then make a new swatch more quickly than would be possible if I hand-knit every option. And once I had settled on the final chart, I was able to check colour combinations much more quickly on the machine.

While there were many swatches I liked (I’m looking at you top right), I finally settled on the palette we used in Strange Brew, 29 murai, 28 taate, 02 humu, and h31 aava. I was so pleased with the effect of using the lighter/brighter tones in the center, it draws the eye in just the right way.

Alexa’s version of Icefall

While I toiled and debated, swatched, adjusted, and swatched again, Alexa let the yarn do the work! She chose a pretty light grey YOTH little brother ‘oyster’ from her stash and added a precious skein of Spincycle Dyed in the Wool in Melancholia. The light coloured body of the sweater meant the subtly changing teal really popped. Hunter was immediately smitten with the cropped sweater and has asked that all her sweaters be cropped from now on.

So, how what colour strategy will you use for your Icefall? There is always a lot of inspiration on Ravelry too!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sylvie permalink
    February 24, 2019 11:24 am

    What knitting machine do you have? I’m interested in learning machine knitting, but it’s shockingly hard to find useful information on

    • March 3, 2019 1:13 am

      I’ve got a standard gauge machine (knits sport to lace weight yarns comfortably), it’s a Brother KH-881. I was introduced and set up by a friend in-person, so I haven’t gone looking too extensively into the resources online; sorry I don’t have good suggestions on where to find good info.

  2. February 23, 2019 1:25 am


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