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Detail of the Katherine Howard knitwear design from Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore in pure wool Hebridean 2 Ply hand knitting yarn

Colour & Texture

Colour and texture can be comibined in a variety of ways, from the relatively simple through to the very complex. The most important part of preparation for knitting any design is ensuring that you achieve the correct tension. It is not only crucial for producing the correct finished measurements but also ensures that the knitted patterns and textures are consistent throughout the work. Working texture and colour together can be a real test of skill and so it is well worth taking the time to get the tension and consistency right before embarking on the design, even if it involves making several swatches beforehand. This should never be considered to be time wasted as it hones your skills and ensures that you have a result worthy of your time and effort. This gallery covers some of our colour and texture designs for a range of abilities.

The Merveille du Jour poncho combines a stranded yoke and rib border worked in Hebridean 2 Ply, with the main body worked in Stocking Stitch in Hebridean 3 Ply. So two different types of pattern and two different weights of yarn are used in this design. I carefully figured out the instructions so that both types of stitch and yarn work together based on the tensions for each part. The Herald Combined Set, worked entirely in Hebrdean 2 Ply, takes the idea of Stocking Stitch as a foil for a stranded pattern further. As well as the plain Stocking Stitch body, the cuffs, gloves and neckpiece have a border which I designed with sharp decreases over Stocking Stitch to create a ruffle-like effect that is flamboyant and reminiscent of the striking edges of the Herald Moth's wings.

The Elizabeth Woodville design is an excellent quick knit. The fitted Stocking Stitch body is knitted in Hebridean 2 Ply on 4mm needles, creating a very lightweight fabric which drapes beautifully and is ideal for warmer times of year. I used short rows to shape the hemlines of the body, sleeves and collar, and these are emphasised with a bold colour contrast and picot edging. This really is an easy and yet interesting knit. It is also a great design for those a little nervous about working with colour. Just go for your desired main colour and then have fun choosing a contrast for the edgings.

I originally designed the The Elizabeth of York pattern in texture only but for the 2013 edition of Tudor Roses I wanted to try working some colour into the same pattern to see if I could develop a brocade effect. So I have combined both stranded knitting and textured knitting together in the one pattern. Patience is required for this as working both techniques slows down the knitting and it is important take time to ensure that the tension remains even whilst stranding colours and working knit and purl stitches and knots at the same time. The result is uncannily similar to brocade with the purl stitches and knots providing a richly defined and very tactile fabric. If you are adept at both stranded knitting and working fine texture then this is a project to extend your skills.

If you are new to combining colour and texture then the Catherine Parr pullover is an ideal place to start. It is knitted in Hebridean 3 Ply throughout with a straight body shape and set-in sleeves. The lower body and cuff border combine a stranded pattern and texture knots. The main body is knitted in one colour with a little texture pattern which is easy to memorise once you get started. Depending on the colours chosen, the garment can be sutble or striking, but it is still well within reach of someone near the begining of their knitting journey.

The Mary Queen of Scots design is a step up in complexity from Catherine Parr. The main body is worked with a vertical texture pattern worked on Reverse Stocking Stitch in Hebridean 3 Ply. I shaped the garment within the Reverse Stocking Stitch panels so it is gently fitted from the waist to the armholes. The colour is introduced in the layered surfles and edgings around the waist, neck and cuffs, which are knitted in Hebridean 2 Ply. This is another design that can be easily worked in your personalized colours.

These next designs are for the more advanced knitter, as they use contrasting coloured cables and travelling stitches as well as textured work. It takes practice to knit evenly and without gaps for this style of knitting, but it is worth taking the time to achieve the right results as the effects are beautiful. Boudicca's Braid is a starting point to this technique as it is a straight shape, and concentration can be kept on colour and cables rather than shaping of the garment itself. The photos show clearly how the final garment should look both inside and out.

Katherine Howard is an advanced project designed by Jade for Tudor Roses. It features a peplum at the lower body and sleeves. This is overlapped with a knit and purl border, worked before the main body is begun and joined to the peplum. The main pattern is a cabled diamond pattern in 3 contrast colours. This is worked gradually from the centre of the bordered peplum to fill the V-shape before reaching the waistline. The garment itself is also shaped at the sides, so it does requires concentration and patience throughout.

For the main body of Jane Seymour  I designed a textured pattern with a travelling diamond and vertical single stitch worked in a contrast colour. I emphasised the textures by working a twisted stitch for the diamond and vertical contrast lines. The small scale of the pattern allows it to be stranded throughout. After each piece was knitted I added further colour by embroidering simple horizontal stitches over the travelling meeting points. The edging requires knitting separate petals, which are then joined together to form a border.

The Anne Boleyn design is a wonderful exercise in shaping. The very fitted style is achieved through hidden shaping throughout the vertical Reverse Stocking Stitch panels between each of the textured and coloured knotted patterns running up the length of the garment. This gives the shirt-like style an effortless grace when worn. I took my cue from the classic sewn shirt for the cuff design and so more sewing is featured here than for most knitted designs. The garment is finished with a back panel that emphasises the back waistline.