Beginner Colorwork: First Project Ideas

With cast-on day for the Colorwork Accessory KAL just around the corner, we are excitedly picking patterns and swatching yarns! For many, deciding on a pattern can be the most exciting and difficult part of a project. We know for those who have never done colorwork before, this can be a daunting part of the process. If too many options only leads to more confusion, nothing to fear! We are starting a blog series leading up to our Colorwork Accessories KAL with pattern inspiration, and our first post is all for the first timers! 

If You’re Nervous to Use Two Colors at Once  

If working with two colors at once can feel like too much for a first colorwork project – try out mosaic knitting! This technique features slipped stitches so that you only have to knit with one color at a time but still end up with a multicolored piece. The Mosaic Cowl by liZKnits is a beginner-friendly pattern with both charts and written instructions to get you in the hang of mosaic. 

Mosaic Cowl image by LiZknits

Mosaic Cowl: liZKnits on Ravelry 

© liZKnits

For the Daring Beginner 

This KAL is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself if you’re looking to learn how to work with two colors at once. For a quick and cute project, we recommend the Quick Ombré Hat by Emily Dormier (available for free on Ravelry) as a perfect introduction. We have seen this pattern knit up and suggested by many Thistlers including for last year’s Colorwork KAL! 

 Quick Ombre hat made by bonewoman

Quick Ombré Hat made by Paula (BoneWoman on Ravelry) for the 2022 Colorwork Accessory KAL 

© bonewoman


Choosing Your Yarn

Like any new technique, you’re likely to drop a few stitches along the way. For first timers, we recommend working with a woolly wool as it’s a beginner-friendly fiber. If you accidentally drop a stitch, wool is less likely to unravel until you put your stitches back on the needle. Wool also behaves nicely if you have to frog (aka rip-it rip-it) as it’s less likely to shed and retain its shape for the second (or third or fourth) time around. 

It’s no secret that we have lots of woolly wools in the shop, and you’re bound to find the perfect fit for you! We currently are loving our yarns from Retrosario Rosa Pomar: a lovely, all-natural wool that comes from various breeds of Portuguese sheep in different varieties. 

For Fingering weight projects check out Mondim, an all-natural sock yarn named in honor of a Portuguese town famous for its cottage sock knitting industry. If heathered all-natural wools are more up your alley, take a look at Pegulhal: a breed-specific yarn that smells delightfully sheepy as soon as you take it out of the box!

Skeins of variegated Mondim yarn from Retrosaria via The Woolly Thistle


Skeins of Pegulhal yarn by Retrosaria via The Woolly Thistle


If you’re hoping for a thicker project and a quicker knit, we cannot get enough of Retrosario’s worsted weight Brusca! This combination of Saloia and Merino Branco & Presto wools is super warm, so when made knit up in colorwork it produces a super dense and cozy finished object. 

Retrosaria Brusca yarn skeins via The Woolly Thistle


We’ll be posting more knitspiration during the lead up to cast-on day! If you’re still eager to look through patterns, we’ve pulled together a Ravelry bundle of Colorwork accessory suggestions for you to browse. (You can even try using Ravelry’s advanced search to filter based on yardage, accessory, or weight to point you to the right direction).

Stay tuned for next week’s post and happy knitting! 


  • Sue

    That was so helpful and I liked the intro to new yarns! Thank you!

  • Sarah Eadie

    I just ordered a couple of the hat kits and am looking forward to joining the KAL for the first time. I am new to fair isle knitting and this will be my second project. I’m glad to have found TWT!

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