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Exploring colour with Star Anise

You will by now be very familiar with Emma Wright‘s designs on our website. Designs such as Erea and Kari have delighted knitters with their well-considered features. Emma’s eye for detail and modern take on classic motifs make her such a wonderful designer and we were excited to work with her again for The Almanac Series.

The Designer

Emma was taught by her nan to knit but she really immersed herself in the craft when she went to college creating a 60’s inspired dress as part of her textile course. She went on to study at Nottingham Trent on the prestigious knit course graduating in 2011. The first time we met her was that October when she was chosen for the graduate showcase at The Knitting and Stitching Show, and we were quite impressed by her obvious talents.

Knitwear designer Emma Wright

Knitting Inspiration

Emma takes inspiration from so many different sources; from the catwalk, vintage textile, or even simply a stitch. She is drawn to colour, texture and pattern all of which are showcased perfectly in her latest design for us, Star Anise, enhanced by the subtle texture of the Acadia yarn and its delicious blend.

Star Anise

The colours chosen by Emma have a distinctly retro feel and we love the way she has used Fair Isle, mixing traditional motifs with bold graphic shapes. With so many rich colours to choose from in the Acadia palette, we thought it would be fun to show you some alternatives.

Picking colours for colour work

With five shades of Acadia in this design, it could be a bit confusing to choose shades without being able to see them knit up together. Imagining the combination is easy with 2 shades, but quite challenging with 5. But we are here to help!

The secret to choosing your yarns for a Fair Isle project is to look at the balance of colours. How many light, mid and dark tones do you have? Sometimes mid-tones can be deceptive so it’s worth taking a black and white image of the colours in case what you think is a mid-tone is actually a dark shade.

We knit these swatches to show off a range of colour combinations for the project, but they are also really instructive for understanding the type of colour combination that you want:

The original colourway for Star Anise features shades A Sand, B Butterfly Bush, C Yellow Birch, D Cormorant, and E Thistle.

Looking at the same swatch through a blank and white filter, we see that there is a sharp definition between dark, mid and light colours, which makes the pattern very legible and clear.

Having a range of dark, mid and light shades is a recipe for success in colour work knitting, but you can absolutely tailor these combinations to your taste. For example, but taking out the lightest shade, and revelling in the mid and dark shades. This swatch creates a very different mood by focusing on the darker and mid shades of Acadia shades: A Cormorant, B Summersweet, C Yellow Birch, D Royal Tern and E Blue Heron.

The same swatch viewed through a black and white filter shows off the alteration of tonal values.

Finally, it is worth noting that the most important thing is that the colours suit you. The colour combination in this swatch focusses on mid-tones, utilizing 4 harmonious blue-based tones and one pop of orange, with A Blue Heron, B Driftwood, C Orange Storm, D Mussel, and E Thistle

Seen in black and white, the contrast is lower than the previous examples, but may be just what you were looking for!

Playing with colours in Fair Isle can teach you so much but before you start knitting your garment, make sure you knit a swatch so you can be sure you are happy with the result and don’t be afraid to adjust the colours until you are completely satisfied.

If you are knitting Star Anise, please do share it with us! We would love to see it. If you are sharing on social media, please use the hashtags #MadeWithTheFibreCo and tag us @thefibrecompany.

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