My Design Inspiration: Carol Sunday

Knitting has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. So has designing sweaters. In fact, by the time I was in high school my wardrobe contained at least a dozen sweaters that I had designed and knitted or crocheted. I also sewed - a lot! - so garment construction and clothing design are things that I've enjoyed for a very long time, although I did them just for my own pleasure until about eight years ago.

That's when I started my own yarn and design business, and one of the things that excited me and spurred me on professionally was color. I love working with color … well, playing with color is really more like it! I had a lot of design ideas incorporating stranded colorwork and stripes, but I couldn't find yarns in the right weight and softness that had the colors I wanted. I am especially fussy about my color palette, and eventually realized that the only way to get the right yarns to suit my designs was to develop my own line of yarns.

The milll I now work with is in Italy, and - very important to me - they share my commitment to ethical, humane and sustainable practices every step of the way. So I have confidence that the yarns I sell are as planet and person friendly as if the sheep were farmed right here in Illinois. Moreover their spinners and dyers are true masters of their craft! I feel really fortunate to have formed such an alliance with people I admire and trust, and have, through that relationship, been able to create the yarns I've always wanted for myself. And I'm so pleased to be able to offer them through Knit Purl to all of you.

Today I'd like to share with you a little of what goes on when I create a new colorway. 

A color gradient is usually where I begin, that is, I'll put together a group colors that range from light to dark or dark to light. They might be all in the same family as far as hue goes, like these blues, although this gradient begins with more of a green blue at the light end and ends with more purplish blues at the deep end.

Then I'll add a second gradient. Adding a neutral range to a more vivid one will actually give more pop to brighter colors as they play off of the neutrals. 

The two gradients can be combined so that one goes from dark to light while the other goes from light to dark. That strategy can be especially effective with stranded work. Or they might both follow the same path value-wise, going from lighter to darker together as they do here. This is an especially nice way to give stripes an ombré effect.

Maybe we'll toss in a third gradient. I like these muted greens. They don't compete with the blues, and are close enough in hue to them that they have the effect of adding width to the range of the colorway.

And now how about a few color complements to give our main colors something to get excited about! 

I think I'll call this new colorway Rides the Wind. It'll be featured in a new wide scarf or shawl and also a new sweater, both coming out this fall.

A color gradient doesn't necessary mean that all the colors in it are in the same family, as far as hue goes. It can span a wide range of hues as long they follow an even sequence of values (light to dark). Here I have a cool gradient that ranges from mustard through yellow greens and blue greens to grape and ending with a deep neutral. And a second gradient - a warm one - that ranges from sand to buff, curry, tomato and berry, and that shares the same deep neutral with the cool gradient.

By arranging these two complementary gradients as a color circle, with the neutral tones at the light and dark ends, the gradient becomes more or less continuous.

This is the color sequence I used in my Milano sweater. Because there are are an odd-number of colors used, the stripe sequence circles around on itself, favoring first the cool gradient, and then the warm one. Fun!

Thank you all, and thanks, Knit Purl, for the opportunity to share a bit of my colorplay process with you. Always happy knitting!

xoxo, Carol.

Visit Carol's website at

All images © Carol Sunday. 

June 13, 2016 by Guest Blogger
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