Sweet Honeycomb Cowl Knit-Along: Choosing Your Colors

In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is—as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.
—Josef Albers

Join the Sweet Honeycomb Cowl Knitalong on Ravelry!

View our second post in this KAL blog series and get the stitch tips you need!

There are two choices for this pattern, a short cowl and a long cowl, one you can wrap twice around your neck or wear infinity-scarf style.

Download the PDF for the short cowl

Download the PDF for the long cowl


I don’t know about you, but I find choosing multiple colors for a project a little intimidating. That’s why I usually take the easy way out and stick with a single color, or maybe a couple of high-contrasting colors. It’s difficult for me to get a sense of what a color will look like when it’s knitted up just by seeing it in a skein. Invariably, the picture I had in my mind doesn’t match the finished product.

The Sweet Honeycomb Cowl provides a great opportunity to play around with different color combinations. For one thing, the myriad gorgeous colors available in Sugar Bush Yarns Bliss (affiliate link) makes the process of choosing colors much easier. And even though the color pattern in the cowl looks complex, it’s really very simple.

The fabulous colorways in Sugar Bush Yarn Bliss

The cowl is worked in the round, beginning with a provisional cast-on, and the top and bottom stitches are grafted together to create a doubled fabric—with no wrong side.

Each side of the cowl (front and back) has 15 rows of color blocks, with each color block consisting of just 8 rows. The color pattern is worked using slip stitches, which makes it possible to create different color combinations using only one color on any given row. To achieve the honeycomb effect, the beginning of the round shifts back and forth 4 stitches after every 8th row. (I’ll talk more about the techniques used in the cowl in the next two blog posts.)

The order of colors on the front and back is symmetrical. Block 8 is in the center, and the 7 blocks on each side of the center mirror each other. Thus, the only colors you really have to decide on are the ones for Blocks 1–8 of the front, because after that all the other colors are set.

You can see this clearly in the color diagrams below. For the small cowl, Block 8 is dark red, and Blocks 9–15 are the reverse of Blocks 1–7.

Color Combination for Small Cowl

For the large cowl, Block 8 is the light aqua color.

Color Combination for Large Cowl

For both cowls, the main color is the one that outlines all the shapes. Each block is a square, but the slip stitches pull the rows together to create more of a diamond shape. The little flecks of color in the center of each block are created on Round 5.

Arranging Colors

When choosing and arranging colors, try to choose colors that will look good next to each other—and with the main color. Also think about what happens when grouping dark, light and mid-tone colors.

Interestingly, the two-stitch flecks in the center of each block had more of an impact than I originally thought they would. To add yet another element of visual interest, I sometimes went with a fleck color that contrasted strongly with the block color and sometimes I picked colors that were closer in tone and value.

About Yarn Amounts

If you’re following the small or large cowl patterns as given, make sure to designate each of your contrast colors with letters A–G (for the small cowl) or A–H (for the large cowl), and follow the order of colors as indicated in the Contrasting Color Table. Note that the small cowl uses two balls of color A and one ball each of the other six contrast colors. If you decide to choose your own color pattern, keep in mind that the yarn amounts for each color will change. For the short cowl, you will need ten balls total: two balls of the main color and eight balls of the contrast colors. This could mean using eight different contrast colors, or any combination thereof (the pattern for the small cowl used two balls of A and six other contrast colors).

Once you’ve decided on your color order, print and fill in the blank table below.

Once the table has been filled out, look at which of the colors appear more often in the upper row of the table (on Rounds 3, 4, 6, 7, 8). Colors that appear more than two times will need more than one ball.

Get Your Own Personal Color Chart!

We’re offering something really fun for ten KAL participants—a personalized color diagram just like the ones above! Just go to comment #5 in the Sweet Honeycomb KAL group over on Ravelry, and follow the directions there. We’ll create a pictorial depiction so you can see what your cowl will look like before you even cast on! (Please note that this is only available if you’re using Sugar Bush Bliss.)

Can’t wait to see you there!


Need More Input on Color Selection?

We have some great resources from our blog feed about the glorious task of color selection and how to plan your colorful attack.

9 Hints for Selecting a Colorwork Palette for Stranded Knitting

This article will give you the tools you need for confident color selection. For instance, using the colorwheel and the harmonies of that colorwheel. Huh? Don’t worry. Master knitter Nancy Shroyer has your colorwork back.

How to Choose Colors from Your Stash for Fair Isle Knitting

Fair Isle specific? Maybe. But Fair Isle is stranded knitting after all, and this article will walk you through color theory in a very gentle manner. Many thanks to Mary Jane Mucklestone for her expertise!

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