I always find it exciting when different iterations of my patterns are posted on Ravelry. This is particularly the case when knitters’ colour choices and personal modifications really transform the look of a design. Some amazing Ursulas have begun to appear which, because they have a completely different feel to my original, and also because they just look bloody lovely, I wanted to share with you.

Ursula was inspired by the shades of Shetland’s summer wildflowers, and the original had a pale, botanical palette.


But Sarah knitted her Ursula with natural and sky-blue shades set against a background of midnight blue — creating a garment with a totally different feel.


Sarah says: “I am completely in love with my Ursula. This was an awesome project from the very beginning, using one of my favourite yarns from JC Rennie and my own handspun. . .


“Apart from completely changing the colours, I didn’t make any changes to the pattern, but accidentally knit the body at the narrowest point of my waist a little tighter, which gave me perfect and unintentional subtle waist shaping. It was the first time I’d tried a crochet steek (using the directions in Colours of Shetland) and it was joyous! I haven’t done a steek any other way since. I knit Ursula mostly on holiday, so its a lovely reminder of my trip too. I’m sure I’ll make it again in similar colours to Kate’s original, as the fit is absolutely perfect and it was so fun to make.”


I particularly love the fact that three different breeds of British sheep are represented in this garment (Sarah spun the fawn shade from Masham fibre, the brown from Manx Loaghtan and the vivid blue from Jamieson and Smith Shetland tops). Her Ursula is ravelled here.

Next up is Georgie, who chose to knit her Ursula with a single contrast shade, rather than three.


Georgie says: “My modifications were mainly due to yarn constraints, as I’ve been having to be thrifty, unravelling cardigans I no longer wear. I had already knit a cardigan in the three shades I used for Ursula (Marie Wallin’s Mika) a lovely cardigan I never really wore, mainly due to the style, I prefer a more classic shape for cardigans. Anyway, Mika was first in line when I was scouting around the house for suitable yarn for Ursula. . .

. . . It’s knit in a combination of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (the green), then Blacker Yarns Alpaca/Shetland in cream for the body and grey for the sleeves. I could see while knitting that I wouldn’t have enough of the main colour to finish the cardigan as written, so I shortened the body so the ribbing started on my waist. The sleeves were also shortened due to my yarn levels, plus, I thought they would work best with the length of cardigan.”


I was blown away when I saw Georgie’s Ursula how her use of a single contrast shade totally transformed the feel and look of the stitch pattern: in her cardigan, the zigzagging tri-coloured stripes of my original have become an allover with its own integral structure and continuity. I also really like how the cropped body and three quarter sleeves lend the garment an incredibly neat, vintage look. Georgie’s Ursula is ravelled here.

Finally, here is Rebecca’s Ursula, knit in four lovely shades of Jamieson and Smith jumper weight: 203, 118, fc14 and fc41.


Of her modifications, Rebecca says: “I lengthened the body by simply adding an extra peerie repeat in green before beginning the armhole steeks. I also made the sleeves snugger by decreasing very quickly and then lengthened them a bit to come further over the hands.”


Rebecca’s contrast shades really pop out against the grey background, and this garment feels to me like a refreshing change of key. I love the way that the colours she chose speak to one another, and find the juxtaposition of the complex plum tones of fc14 against the solid Spring green of 118 particularly pleasing. Rebecca’s Ursula is ravelled here.


Ursula is one of my favourite designs in Colours of Shetland, and it makes me so happy to see knitters making it, transforming it, and enjoying wearing their own beautiful hand-knitted cardigans!

47 thoughts on “Ursulas

  1. All these items are so beautiful! And look how happy each knitter looks. It’s a testament to your book. I love the book yet so far am just delighting in the puffins… These are inspirations to start the puffin sweater.


  2. Dear Kate, it is a delight too see this variations. I feel less worried seeing that you are doing well, writing about “Ursula”: here in Germany we have seen in the many horrible cenes from snow chaos in Great Britain. thank you for these lovely fotos.


  3. What fun to see what color change and subtle shaping changes can do. I love the 3-color, cropped version. I would have never thought of making the sleeves a different color. It inspires me to think of my stash in a whole new way. This example is such a wonderful visual of re-cycling unused garments into smashing new style! Thanks for sharing the creative adventures of fellow knitters.


  4. I love that you post iterations of your patterns. I love Ursula, and have been thinking about what colours to knit it in since you published it. Honestly, each of these makes me want to do it a different way. I wonder if I’ll end up with several before I’m done…


  5. Oh my, the Ursula is my favorite from the Colours of Shetland. Seeing these beautiful cardigans makes me want to cast on soon for my own Ursula! Thank you Kate. Your designs are the best.


  6. These are all gorgeous (as are the women)! It’s funny, I loved the Ursula design when I first saw it, but I’m not a big colour work knitter, except for accents (although your designs are lovely). This post motivated me to buy your book today and commit to the cardigan.


  7. Amazing how one cardigan can look so different knitted in different shades, and yet all three are equally as beautiful as the original. Clever ladies


  8. Love all the variations. It is amazing what color will do. I love this pattern because it is one of the few you have done without raglan sleeves. I cannot wear raglan sleeves because of too wide and square shoulders, so am always looking for inset sleeves, or changing pattern directions to suit. Are raglan sleeves particularly common in Shetland style? I would love to know.


  9. Reblogged this on All She Wants To Do Is Knit and commented:
    I find it so inspiring to see how the knitter’s yarn choices can utterly transform a garment. It’s a good reminder, when considering a pattern, to do “the squint” –give myself a little bit of imaginary distance so that I can fuzz my initial perception of the design and imagine the possibilities.


  10. All three interpretations are fantastic – and they look wonderful on their beautiful creators. What a complete thrill it must be for you to see the shape your design is taking in the pattern wild.


  11. Kate – Thank you for showing them. Sweaters and models – beautiful. Love all the different colours – especially the purple with grey main colour!


  12. Amazing what wonders knitters can do with one design and I applaud you Kate for showing them, some designers might not! Love the dark blue on the first, the 3/4 length sleeves on the 2nd and the purple on the 3rd. Great job one and all!


  13. Thanks so much Kate for digging these out and giving us your take on why they are effective and pleasing. Colour choosing is hard!! I just finished your headband and after much swatching with different colour choices, dug in with what I thought would be gorgeous. The colours swallowed each other alive. But the band is wonderful; I live in the Canadian Rockies’ foothills, where the wind blows cold most of the year, and this is the best answer to it I have ever worn. :) Take care, robin


  14. Thanks for sharing these different takes on your design. i find the effect that changing color has on a garment endlessly fascinating!


  15. Saz and Rebecca’s cardigans are simply gorgeous. I am probably going to have to knit a full-length version with the long sleeves now… It was such an enjoyable knit and the finished garment is something that will be in my wardrobe for years!


  16. I’m in the process of spinning (and spinning and spinning) yarn for my own Ursula so this is very timely! Trying to decide what colors to dye the yarn once I’ve spun the yardage. great inspiration!


  17. Its really striking how different they appear, especially with a two-tone palette. Most of all I love that vintage elegance they all have. So clever. I wish I was a fair isler, but I’ve heard its easier when knitting using the continental method. Is that true?


  18. Those Ursula’s all have a different feeling to them though they are equally beautiful.
    It just goes to show what a great and versatile design Ursula is. I’m always amazed how little changes can make a huge difference. It certainly makes my colour choices for Ursula more difficult!


  19. These are fabulous and great inspiration. My husband bought me Colours of Shetland for my birthday and I’m looking forward to casting on.


  20. Thank you for showing these pictures. Now I will also stick your nice sweater “Ursula”. I have your book, but because I am a little unsure in English (I’m from Sweden) I have not really dared to start knitting it yet. But now I’ll start planning for the cardigan.


  21. I love seeing different interpretations of knitting patterns. That’s the fun part of knitting for me – to take a great design and add a personal touch. Thanks for showing.


  22. Such creative and imaginative ladies!! I never would have thought to try those colourways! Especially the dark blue background!! You must be so proud of how your pattern has gone out into the world and “grown up” kate.


  23. Such beautiful cardis worn by beautiful women. When I see what you have achieved, how your designs and inspiration have spread around the world, I am so full of delight.

    One day….


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