Posted on September 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I am delighted to share in the new Knitty a sweater I knit last spring for Lorna’s Laces. I call it Plum Rondo a la Turk. It’s knit in my favorite yarn at the moment, a soft-to-the-skin but sturdy-to-wear worsted weight yarn called Haymarket.


As the pattern story in Knitty explains, I looked for a name from my love of jazz, because the sweater itself came out of a bunch of people’s ideas all flying around at the time and a doodle on a page (of course) that grew into the large graphics and bright colors of the yoke. It felt like a jazz collaboration, built on traditional forms, but very spontaneous and a little out of the box.

My favorite part of nailing down the design was choosing colors from the wide palette that Beth Casey offers at Lorna’s Laces. I knew somewhere in there I had to include a color she calls Farwell (a coincidence too good to pass up) which ended up as the contrast band behind the paired hearts (yes, those are heart shapes, but some people think they look like leaves. So be it). I knew when I started working on colors, this was a sweater that might take a few bold souls to dive into before most knitters would begin to see the possibilities for color play and personal interpretation. So let me get the ball rolling by showing you a few ideas that might inspire you to give it a try.


I always start with a color or two that I know I want, and build from there. In this sweater, the main color and the contrast stripe are a good way to use analogous colors, in this case, a purple and a fuschia. The yellowy-green is a complimentary color on the color wheel to the deep plum, and the orange is bright enough to pop out against the fuschia background. A deeper orange would have disappeared. Notice that the hearts pop because they are in contrast with the other colors, which are all dark. This is a contrast in tone, when colors are darker or lighter because of how saturated they are with black or white. Contrast in tone is every bit as important a factor in multiple color play as hue is, and getting the balance right really brings out the details.


So how do you substitute yarn colors for a version of Rondo that will fit in your own wardrobe?

A lot of people love black. One way to start thinking about changing the color of this sweater is to think in black and white. Throwing a great primary in there with black and white gives the whole thing a kind of kabuki quality. A band of bright olive green dresses it up a little. Royal blue or hot pink would also be fun options and would give very different feelings to the final sweater.


A safer idea is to look for colors all close to each other; a collection of greens or blues, with maybe a grey background as a neutral starting place. Any of these color families play nicely with jeans.


Or if you want to go even brighter than the version I knit (and still be jeans friendly), start with a pure hue like yellow or red to really amplify the impact. Are you feeling brave enough? This yellow in the Lorna’s universe is called Firefly. That just makes me happy.


If you want to knit a Rondo, go stand in front of your stash, or the worsted bin at your LYS. Pull out your favorite color or two, don’t worry if there’s a reason you like them together: if you like them, they’re a good choice. The rules will help you from there if you need direction in the next choice or two. Look for contrast in both hue and intensity. This thread in the Ravelry group is a great place to share color ideas, or to ask for help if you want some. I hope you give Rondo a try.