The unbearable cuteness of stranded colour knitting


After all the three-ply colour spinning there has been around here, I started to itch to use those colours in knitting. I settled on these, the Tingvoll slippers by Kristin Spurkland. I began them before I went to Melbourne in March.  I found that knitting them over breakfast in  a cafe in Melbourne triggered a conversation every single day, and usually with another keen knitter.  It made me feel right at home, even though I was far from home and essentially, I was in the cafe because there was nothing for breakfast in the cupboard where I was staying!

Even the soles are cute.


I knit these in Corriedale.  Yes, Malcolm the Corriedale.  The orange is dyed with eucalyptus, and the yellow with my mother’s coreopsis flowers.  While I was in Melbourne, I found myself frustrated by how slowly it was all going and how hard I was finding it to read the charts.  In the learning zone I was in spending my whole day at a workshop–I started to explore.  By the time I was flying home I had found that I could knit withe one colour in each hand–picking the yellow (‘European style’ as some call it here–yarn in the left hand) and throwing the orange (‘English style’, as some call it here–yarn in the right hand).  Best of both worlds!  I love that phenomenon: learning one new thing opens the doors to learning others.  Delightful.


They are smaller than I had hoped, which just shows I settled on this wool and this pattern with no real thought for sizing and not much attention to the instructions.  Clearly it would be a good idea for me to quit spinning finer than I like to knit!  I think they are destined for a small child of my acquaintance.  She is a fine appreciator of hand knits.  Her Dad says when he told her I might be knitting her slippers, she was ‘beside herself!’ Apparently she likes the felted clogs I knit him so much she tries them on a lot, even though he has some of the largest feet I’ve ever knit for…


Filed under Knitting, Natural dyeing

15 responses to “The unbearable cuteness of stranded colour knitting

  1. slipper envy! They’re just beautiful. And nice to know Malcolm will be loved further.


    • Thankyou! I think Malcolm is going to get a lot of love. Skeins of that last fleece of his have gone to the community where he used to live and will be knit into treasured items for people who knew him…


  2. Deb

    Very nice. Great colors. I love stranded knitting too, it is quite addictive.


  3. SubmarineBells

    Those slippers are absolutely adorable! Clearly you’ve got a lot of potential as a colourwork knitter. 🙂

    Re reading charts: I find that it makes it a lot easier to keep track to print out a “sacrificial” copy of the chart, and to draw a line through the bit I’ve knit every few stitches/pattern repeat/whatever unit makes sense in context. It’s much harder to get lost if there’s a big black line showing me the bit I’m up to. Dunno if that would make it any easier for you, but I find it very helpful.


    • Thanks! I might try the crossing out method… I’m using the Yarn Harlot solution, namely super sticky post-it notes. As long as they don’t fall off, and the fact that they are shorter than the chart is doesn’t lead to knitting the wrong row, it’s all good!


  4. gorgeous. but i’m curious to know whether the coreopsis yellow will turn pink when washed? it’s been my experience [when washing coreopsis dyed cloth with with soap].


    • Thanks! And on the colour change… my instant reaction was ‘so it’s not just me?!’ I do hot wash yarn after I spin it, which allegedly sets the twist and certainly improves the quality of the finished yarn. So I am sure I washed this yarn before spinning it, and no colour change took place. Did I soak it in plain hot water or add wool mix or conditioner…?? I don’t remember. On the other hand, I spun a striping yarn from the same fleece in shades of indigo blue, greens from coreopsis overdyed with indigo and coreopsis yellow. Lovely. I left it to soak overnight and perhaps a further day… and when I pulled it from its bath the yellow had turned a pale orange. Not what I had in mind to pair with blue and greens! I assume it is Ph sensitive, but another soak in water with a splash of vinegar did not turn it yellow again. I guess I’ll have to warn the recipients, if this is a risk–be glad I knit slippers and not a frequently washed item–and ask for a report!


  5. They are lovely slippers. One of my favourite things about natural dyes is how all the colours work together. It certainly explains how the old fair isle jumpers had such harmonious colour-schemes, even with several different colours in play.

    I also knit with one colour in each hand and it makes things go so much faster. I have also found simple geometric patterns very easy to knit from memory once I have figured out their ‘rule’. Right now I am knitting my son a jumper with an argyle pattern on the front and everyone looks at it and thinks it is very complex but it is actually very simple. I just look at the rows below, decide whether the lines are leaning in or out, then knit one stitch in or one stitch out. Don’t know if that makes sense in writing but it is quite clear when I am knitting it 🙂


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