Art of Swatching – Winter Warmth

Art of Swatching – Winter Warmth was inspired by the cold weather outside, venturing out for walks wrapped up in scarves, mittens and cosy coats. Snug indoors in woolly sweaters, sipping hot chocolate and sitting by cosy open fires toasting our toes…

The central colour theme for Winter Warmth was the image of witch hazel in its full autumn glory. This was inspirational because there was such an amazing range of colours from reds, plum, greens, golds, russet and brown. I loved swatching with these colours in my ideas book and ended up with 4 pages of swatches and ideas for the Winter Warmth collection. The Evergreen Collection also evolved from this set of ideas pages. These colours are a pleasure to work with.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

One of the pleasures of creating Winter Warmth was collecting the beautiful selection of wool, silk, tweed and bamboo yarns and the gorgeous cotton fabrics and corduroys.

The wonderful tunic sweater is knit using a richly coloured Noro Sock Yarn. The Autumnal colours of rusty orange, gold, green and rich deep reds were wonderful to work with. The neck of the tunic was fastened with a pretty silver clasp. This was teamed with a dark red needlecord for the trousers. I added a gold wool for knitting her bag and socks. This outfit showcased the inspirational colours drawn from the rich tones in the hazel leaves.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

L to R: Matthew, Annett, Anna, Kathleen, Rowena, Katie, Pip, Sasha, Pippa. At front: Green Eyed Sasha Baby.

I created a few new styles of knitwear for the Sasha dolls when I was working on Winter Warmth. These included the cute alpaca sweater dress with the pocket on the front worn with leggings, the modern ear flap haps, a white gansey and a cosy long sleeved bolero cardigan.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

Annett was wearing a dark red tweedy ear flap hat with plaited ties. I loved the textural quality of the yarn used to knit the hat set against the silky smoothness of the alpaca yarn I chose for knitting the sweater dress. The gorgeous richly coloured polo neck alpaca sweater dress with long sleeves and a pocket on the front is very cute. Loved the shades of red, gold, green and brown. I picked out the chocolate brown for her leggings and finished with brown Ugg boots.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

As Christmas approaches, I am putting up my Christmas tree. I loved the traditional Christmas room featured on the old Christmas Card. Dark green holly with shiny red berries, little bunches of mistletoe hanging from the door frame, contrast colours of Golden Heart ivy draping the door, the last of the autumn leaves clinging to the Japanese Acers and Witch Hazels.

The warm brown cashmere yarn used for Matthew’s hat and scarf is wonderfully soft to touch. I used the sweater yarn for the stripes in the hat. I love stripes. His sweater was knit using a lovely ombre sock yarn in many shades of russet and warm brown drifting into each other. The needlecord straight leg trousers worked wonderfully with the colours in the sweater and hat.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

Kathleen wore a fabulous outfit. The dark green needlecord trousers set off the fair isle sweater perfectly. I used two multi toned contrasting sock yarns to knit the fair isle sweater. I used the pale coloured sock yarn for knitting the socks. The darker sock yarn was used for knitting her moss stitch scarf and hat. Love this style of hat the icord loops are so cute.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

Pip wore a beautiful richly patterned smocked cotton dress. The long sleeved bolero is hand knit using a fine 4ply dark red tweedy wool. I used a pretty peach lace weight Shetland wool for knitting her ankle socks. It toned nicely with the peach background colour of her dress. I knit icord hair ties using the same Shetland wool.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

Love the colours in these two beautiful outfits. These colours work equally well with Katie’s lovely blonde hair and the brunette baby. Katie’s fair isle polo neck sweater is knitted using a ginger coloured 4ply wool and the lovely variegated green sock yarn. Her socks are knit using lace weight cream Shetland wool. The sweater is very cute worn over the sleeveless cotton dress. Lime green icord hair ties for her plaits.

I chose to use the ginger and lime green 4ply wool for the baby cardigan and earflap hat. The hat is very cute, with the icord ties and gathered at the top with a ginger icord. I used the ginger wool for the cardigan’s main colour with a lime accent stripe. It buttons at the front with 6 ginger coloured buttons. Baby also wore a sleeveless cotton dress. I knit lime green bootees fastened at the top with ginger icord ties. These were very cute outfits that I so enjoyed knitting at the time.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

This was one of my favourite sweaters. I loved choosing the colours for the sweater. Rowena’s beautiful striped sweater was knit in random stripes in a wide range of shades of red, from pinks, rusts, reds, corals, purples and browns. Sumptuous colour combination. I used the deep plum 4ply wool used in the sweater to knit the moebius cowl, hat and bag. These were very cute on Rowena with her lovely auburn hair. Initially, I visualised this outfit with lighter coloured trousers but I decided when I was making the outfit that the darker red needlecord was much more elegant. I used the ginger 4ply for knitting her socks.

Winter Warmth Sasha Collection

I was working on the beautiful Winter Warmth collection in the late Autumn and it has been a pleasure to work on. I loved working with the lovely warm colours through the chill of the winter while it was icy and snowy outside.

This lead to the icy coloured white lace weight Shetland wool gansey. This was a very pretty sweater when it was finished. I teamed it with a warm wooled red tartan skirt. Her hat was knit using 4ply red wool, the edge and scarf are knitted in moss stitch. Fell in love with the cute little red shoes with cat faces. Adorable outfit.

About Nicolette


  1. Nikita Eileen Krupoderov says:

    Absolutely love all of your creations…but especially treasure your Sasha doll clothing and knits…such a gorgeous myriad of colors…I so hope to see you create for Sasha dolls again soon…

  2. Great work, those are fantastic! Do you make these for pets too?

  3. Wow, very impressive! Looks like you have been doing this for a long time. Keep it up.

  4. What exquisite workmanship! Charming and fun.

  5. Lovely colours!


  6. Are these patterns and yarns for sale and, if so, how to purchase them. The colors and their use in your patterns are unbeatable. I am so glad I found your site.

    • The majority of the patterns are my own designs for Sasha and I’ve never formally written them into patterns that would be saleable. They are just in my Sasha knitting notebooks. I love using different colour. For Sasha I’ve always used sock yarn, 4ply yarn or lace weight. I particularly love using shetland wool as well. I’m so please you enjoyed the Knitting Squirrel.

      • I do not understand why you are teasing us with such beautiful patterns and yarns. Is there any way we can, at least, purchase the yarns that you use. Frankly I have never seen such beautiful uses of color.

        • I’m revisiting the Sasha collections that I made and the swatching process because I haven’t made an outfit for my Sasha dolls in over 3 years and I thought it might inspire me to open my notebooks and design something for them during 2015.

          I sell similar yarns to the ones I have used in the collection on the Knitting Squirrel although all of the actual yarns came from my large personal stash and many are discontinued yarns. I tend to use wools and yarns like paints. When designing an outfit, I’d find the inspiration for my colour, start choosing colours, then I’d enjoy swatching some of my ideas. All the yarns and wool that I used are either sock weight, 4ply, light fingering, shetland wool or lace weight.

          As these were the type of yarns that I was used to buying and knitting with, they are also the type of yarns that I stock in the Knitting Squirrel’s Yarn Shop.

          I like using yarns that are mainly natural fibres. In the Sasha Collections I used a mixture of self patterning and plain wools as well as hand dyed yarns. When using the hand dyed yarns I always washed the finished knitwear to make sure no dye was still coming out.

          I have been planning some new posts for next year that will go through the process of making an outfit for Sasha and will use some of the yarn colours that are in the shop.

          Thank you Marilyn for the lovely compliment about my use of colour. It is much appreciated.

          • Yes, the creative process is a long term thing, isn’t it. How long we spend thinking before we actually proceed is usually longer than it takes to make the project. I am looking forward to 2015 with you.

          • The finished project at the end is wonderful but I’ve always loved the whole creative process. Thinking about it, choosing colours… too much fun. I am looking forward to 2015 with you too.

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