3 hour class: Colourwork Top-Down

In this class, we’ll discuss embarking on making a top-down yoked sweater to fit you – without using a pattern! Knitting from the top down, with a particular focus on adding colourwork, is an adventurous way to work. There will be fun choices and tricky ones along the way (fit, short-rows and colours, to name a few). You decide how much (or little) planning you would like to do before you pick up your needles and yarn. It’s about the thrill of a journey where you have a looser idea of your final destination. While not for the feint hearted, but you don’t need to be a mathematical or knitting whizz to do it.

Whichever level of wing-it suits your approach to knitting (and likely, life), it’s useful to start with knowing a few simple principals, so you can think about how your measurements and stitches relate to each other (and your dream sweater). This class is discussion-based and aims to send you off inspired, with a good grounding in garment construction to allow you to proceed with confidence (and plenty of permission to fudge).


– You must have experience knitting a sweater involving colourwork.
– You must be totally comfortable knitting in the round and understand the terminology.

– planning a top-down knitted sweater to fit you
– measuring for fit
– considering ease
– deducing tension
– the benefit of short rows
– combining colours to build a palette
– applying colour and pattern to a sweater

– pencil
– tape measure
– note paper/book
– calculator (if you don’t have a mobile phone with one on it)

If you have a favourite sweater fit-wise (bought, borrowed, handmade or not) wear it to the workshop (or simply bring it along) so you can take some measurements from it as reference. If you have a dream sweater in mind, draw it and bring your drawing along.

If you would like a second opinion on your potential colour palette, bring a good selection of your woollen DK or 4ply/fingering weight oddments leftover from previous projects and lonely single balls! This will allow us to discuss building our palettes together from what we have and what is available around us in the yarn shop/festival. Swapping encouraged – the colour you have lost the love for may be exactly someone else’s cup of tea. In colourwork, you never know what strange (and sometimes revolting) colours will make it sing – so bring them nasty ones. The weight you choose depends on which weight you would like your sweater to be, but note that examples will be given for DK.


– quiet space for teaching
– chairs
– tables
– light
– refreshments
– possible use of white/blackboard or flipchart – a big piece of paper of some sort will do.