Colourwork Consequences: knitting friendships

Marina and Aleks

Knitting is often a solitary hobby; quiet, contemplative. But I’ve found that knitters tend to like other knitters – so we go to knit nights, join online groups, and maybe message each other with the progress and occasional woes of our projects.

A friend I met through the local knit group on my return to Bath is Aleks Byrd. She’s a talented knitter, designer and illustrator, and over the last six months we’ve got to know each other through our love of yarn, knitting industry chat and stranded colourwork. 

After our lengthy cafe-based knit and chat sessions I always feel inspired and like there’s so much I could do! Often I have to rein that feeling in, because if I don’t, I cast on more new projects than I can possibly work on. But one idea came to me and wouldn’t go away. I wanted to work on something together – with both of us knitting and bringing in our own style. 

The idea for Colourwork Consequences was born. 

The game

​The concept is simple – it’s based on consequences, the parlour game. You know, one person writes ‘[person A]’ on a piece of paper, folds it to hide what they’ve written, and passes it on to someone who writes ‘met [person B]’, and it gets passed on with the next person, who adds the next thing that happens in the story. At the end the papers are unfolded and the stories read out, often with hilarious results. We used to play a picture version: the first person draws a head and folds it over, the next person draws the torso, and so on until an entire mutant creature is created. 

So goes the game, and so will go this project. We are going to make a cowl in two-colour stranded colourwork – I have cast on and will start with a band of a motif that I design. I’ll then pass it on to Aleks for her to add some rows of her own. Obviously we can’t really hide what’s been done so far, but there will be no plan and the only rule for the next section is that it has to fit into the correct number of stitches. We’ll pass back and forth until we run out of yarn! 

Little Grey Sheep yarn

The yarn

​Talking of yarn, a few weeks ago we went on a little trip to visit Emma Boyles at The Little Grey Sheep, as Aleks is designing some beautiful fingerless mitts using their yarn. We decided this was the perfect time to pick out a couple of colours for our little game. 

Slightly overwhelmed by choice of amazing bases and gorgeous colours, we finally picked a dark brown-grey called Chocolate Mud Cake, and a beautiful deep orange, perfectly named Marmalade. The base is British Gotland 4Ply, a naturally coloured wool with beautiful lustre. It’s a somewhat ‘hairy’ yarn that is almost like mohair to work with, with not much stretch, a lovely little halo and colours that glow. These colours aren’t going to give a really strong contrast, but there will be enough that the motifs we create should show up.
Colourwork Consequences knitting

Play along!

Sound like something you’d enjoy? Then play along! You just need at least one other person (probably someone who’s comfortable with stranded knitting) and you can start! 

Aleks and I are in the same city and regularly meet up so it’s easy for us to pass the project back and forth, but don’t let that be a limitation! Maybe you have a friend across the country, even internationally, and you could post the project to each other with hand-written letters! 

If you’re not quite confident enough to make your own colourwork charts, you can use them from books or patterns you’ve bought. You just need to make sure that the pattern multiplies correctly to make your total stitch count. 

A note on needles: Aleks has slightly tighter gauge than me (I’m a floppy-tension person, always have been), so I’m using 3mm needles and she’s using 3.25mm. We’re using interchangeable circulars so it’s really easy to swap over! My love for interchangeable needles is boundless. 

If you decide to play, we’d love to see how it’s going! On Instagram we’re using #colourworkconsequences (n.b. British English spelling) to post our progress – feel free to use the hashtag and tag @marinaskua and @a_blackbyrd in your photos. We’ll occasionally share your photos on Instagram and maybe in a future blog post (and will always ask your permission). If there is lots of enthusiasm, we might put together a prize draw for participants!

Think you know someone who might enjoy this idea? Send them a link to this post or tag them in one of my photos on Instagram!

 

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