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I’ve been fascinated by color since I was a little kid.

Green has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember, but, honestly, I love every color of the rainbow. I was the kid who savored the big box of Crayola crayons, not wanting to use them and hoping to preserve them as they were just to look at them and memorize each color and their name. My husband, who is midrange colorblind, tells me, “Your world must be extremely vivid,” whenever I talk about the colors I see.

So, of course, this love of color I have has to translate into my knitting. The beauty of knitting is that we all get to choose how we interpret a pattern. I like to think of patterns as a recipe where improvisation is encouraged. We can all knit the same pattern, but 0ur color choices can make each one unique.

My favorite color combinations include as many colors as possible. To knit a rainbow makes me insanely happy. It’s an exciting thing to knit as each color changes and you see the pattern emerge, and I feel this joy and excitement with knitting something so happy.

Let’s be honest, with the craziness of the world today, don’t you just want to knit something full of joy? It’s always great to wear something so happy—color is definitely my mood booster. I realize that every year I knit a rainbow sweater, so I want to encourage you to push yourself out of your color comfort zone and try something with all the colors.

Ferda Sweater by Anna and Heidi Pickles

My most recent rainbow knit has been the Ferda sweater (it also comes in fingering weight), or as I lovingly call it, my clown sweater. It’s the diamond pattern and the superbright color palette that makes me think of clowns. I tend to ground my superbright color palettes with a neutral like navy blue to make the colors really pop.

For this one, I used a bunch of mini skeins as my pops of color and just came up with a rainbow order and kept mixing and matching from there.

Phases Sweater by Jennifer Berg

For a light summer knit, I decided to knit the Phases sweater by Jennifer Berg in leftover cotton and linen yarns I had in my stash. I enjoyed knitting Jennifer’s Sheep Camp Sweater, so when she released Phases, I grabbed it up as a quick summer knit. I think I’ve worn this a billion times already because the cotton body is so light and airy and the colors just make me happy.

Painting Bricks Sweater by Stephen West

This is one of my favorite rainbow knits. I made my first one as a test knit and then knit Jellybean a matching version. I liked this sweater pattern because it is so simple to follow, and you get lost in the repetition of the pattern. Choosing to make it a rainbow makes it fun as you watch your massive rainbow evolve over the body of the sweater.

Again, almost all the colors were leftover skeins I had in my stash from other projects. It always makes me happy to use up every last drop of my yarn.

Linus by Renée Callahan

And if you are on a brioche knitting kick after Nancy Marchant’s latest Field Guide, might I suggest you try knitting a rainbow like I did for the Linus sweater by Renée Callahan? It can be a cardigan or a pullover. I used a variegated skein of rainbow yarn as the contrast against a gray main color, and I wear this sweater with anything and everything in my closet.

So if you’re feeling a little off or frustrated, or maybe you’re in a knitting rut, might I suggest knitting a rainbow? It’ll infuse a lot of joy into your day.

Be sure to open Snippets tomorrow Saturday, July 9. MDK Summer Camp is coming!

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image credits: Dana Williams-johnson, Anna and Heidi pickles, Stephen west, Renée callahan, jennifer berg

About The Author

Dana Williams-Johnson knits every day. Knitting is what brings Dana joy, and she shows that through her use of color (hello, rainbows) and modifications of favorite patterns into replica sweaters for her dogs.

You can read about it all on Dana’s blog, Yards of Happiness, and watch her video podcasts on YouTube.


  • love your esthetic. Such joyful colors.

  • Beautiful. I often think I only knit because of the colors. It’s so fun to see things together that you never though would work out and yet they do. I love your way of looking at the world and I love your sweaters. And Jellybean looks marvelous in a rainbow. Thanks for giving me a bright start to my day!

  • Greetings
    It’s just so joyful to see and hear from you again.

    I recall you dealing with health issues, the Covid trauma we all endured, and the political/social baggage that has stormed into our lives and psyche. Needless to say to see and hear you in wearing and sharing your rainbows of fiber is a blessing.
    Thanks for your great ideas and sharing some happiness.

    • The perfect way to start my day: your beautiful smile, your incredible knitting and Jellybean!

  • Loved reading your article and seeing your colourful knits. You are always so inspiring.

  • Your beautiful sweaters are only outshone by your beautiful smile! Thank you for sharing. Your writing and pictures made my morning.

  • Wow! You embody the words inspiration and creativity! Jelly Bean is proud! Thank you!

  • Good Morning, Dana. We missed you!

  • Thank you, Dana, for this dazzling letter! So wonderful to see you and Jellybean again.( He is such a stylin’ lad. )
    I can’t begin to describe how deeply you influenced me with your letter that called us all out on the racism imbedded in the world of fibers. Thank you for the wake-up call! It has changed my choices, responses, and how I see.
    It has now led me to pondering and being deeply shaken and yes, angry about the classism as well. Now, when I encounter what I call “yarn snobbery,” I counter with expressing my desire that knitting be accessible to ANYONE, WITHOUT SHAME!
    Well, I have rambled on!!! Now, on to being dazzled by rainbows…so gorgeous!

  • Seeing you, jellybean, and your colors brings my morning joy!

  • You’re giving me startitis! I want to knit at least three of those sweaters, they’re beautiful!

  • Just gorgeous. I love Dana’s Edit; she passes on brilliant tips and ideas and her love of knitting is infectious. More please.

  • Bless you. You always make me so happy with your joy of life.

  • Dana, I have missed your smiles and creativity! Welcome back!

  • Color is such a happy place!

  • Love your colors and your smile!

  • Absolutely GREAT to be reading and seeing your work again!!! Thanks for the beautiful start of my day!

  • Yay! So good to hear from Dana!

  • Thank you Dana! So happy to see your smiling face again. I always look forward to reading your posts. Love your pattern and color suggestions!

  • Such a happy start to the day to read your post & see all your beautiful, colorful sweaters! Love your cute little dog’s name (And sweaters)

  • wow what a bright start to Friday! Hit parade of some of my favs. I love all the colors too.

  • I love knitting a rainbow myself. It makes me so happy! I’m sad for anyone who suffers from being color blind.

  • Oh my gosh! I love all of Dana’s beautiful and colorful knitwear. Kudos Dana!

  • Missed seeing you here Dana! I love your bold color outlook. It’s not for me, but it’s always fun to get a glimpse of someone else’s world. I love your brilliant brain and how you share your thoughtful heart with us. You are so beautiful, it takes my breath away.

  • So great to see you and Jelly in full glorious color Dana! I follow you on IG but its wonderful to read your letters, glad you’re back and sharing again with us fans here at MDK.

  • Seeing you in those rainbow sweaters gave me a lift this morning! Beautiful! Maybe I need to lean towards the rainbow!

  • Aah, Dana, your letter was what I needed today. Wishing you health and happiness and many more Edits!

  • Thank u, Dana! Your colors make me want to sing and dance. I love them!! Go big or go home is my knitting color choice mantra! No grays or browns for me, thank u.

  • Yes! YESYESYES! I’m an artist and colors make me crazy happy. I could go on and ON… Love the idea of grabbing stash and knitting something rainbow-y.

  • Every sweater’s a winner, including Jellybean’s, of course. And three cheers for your enviable eyewear, too!

  • Love all these sweaters. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think I like the Linus the best

  • Your joyful sweaters are so inspiring! I’m putting a rainbow in my queue! I hope you are taking a break from school this summer and that you are doing well.

  • You are a master sweater knitter so glad to see your articles on MDK!

  • I love your rainbow sweaters! I definitely need to be more daring in my color choices, but I think I could definitely start with something like your Linus sweater. : )

  • You and Jellybean are *adorable*. Those bright colors look fantastic on you; quite honestly, few can wear them like that. Or at least, *I* think so…

  • It’s great to see you in theses pages again! Seeing your rainbows always brings me joy!

  • I was also that kid with the huge love of the crayon box. And I still adore color, especially the greens and the burnt oranges. I think you have now convinced me that I need a rainbow colored sweater too! Many thanks.

  • Those sweaters look fantastic, and your megawatt smile is the perfect accessory for them! It is good to see you and Ms. Jellybean back here again. I hope all is going well and that we’ll see the two of you back at MDK soon. (PS: Jellybean deserves a treat. Of course, you know that.)

  • Makes me happy just looking at her sweaters ❤️

  • Thank you for this colorful happy article and beautiful sweaters. Dark times are better with color and connections with knitting friends.

  • Seeing you and Jellybean, just brightens me and my knitting. Thank you always for being you and letting your knitting spirit shine through!!

  • Very joyful! Each picture, I’d think ‘oh that’s my favorite of her rainbow knits’… until I would get to the next picture. I love all of them.

  • This sweater is gorgeous!!

  • Your rainbow eyeglasses in the Linus photo are perfect with the rainbow sweaters. Thanks for pointing out that a bit of navy makes the colors pop even more.

  • Great sweaters, Dana! They are bright and uplifting. I especially like the Phases sweater. It just has that relaxed Saturday feel about it.

  • I am always amazed by your beautiful knits!!! Thank you for this column today.

    • What a perfect anecdote for a dreary stormy morning!

  • I’m old enough to have worn the vivid colors of the 60s and ‘70s and have been saddened by the era of black, black and Only black. (All black is fun sometimes, but not All the time, IMHO.) So am always so happy to see your bright happy colors, worn with your bright happy smile. And I love your Linus cardigan – the best of both worlds.

  • I love the colors and patterns you chose, but matching sweaters for your dog made me laugh out loud and made my day – thanks for sharing!!!

  • You do indeed live in a vivid world and I so grateful that you share it with us! I love all your knitting but I also adore the color of the wall you take your photos in front of. Going to try and find something like it to paint my office!

  • I just love Dana’s love and joy of colour.

  • I have so much admiration for your eye for color!

  • I am very happy to see you back! Rainbow sweaters at the end of Pride month are a perfect way to raise everyone’s spirits. I was also happy to see your name recently in two books I am reading: This Long Thread and that Harry Potter knitting book you designed for! It was such a pleasant surprise to see you appear in both. Thanks for being fully you, and sharing your joy and your lovely pup with us.

  • This was just the inspiration I needed. I love colors! Just subscribed to the youtube chanel!

  • Exactly what yarns did you use for the Linus cardigan? I can not tell from your article. It’s beautiful!

  • Dana, I LOVE these! Ferda is my favorite, but Linus is a close follower. .I’m more of a process knitter (have only once knitted a sweater) but I can identify with your love of color. For me knitting is playing with colors and yarns to see what happens. Good to see Jellybean again, too!

  • It is a joy to hear from you again, and to see your beautiful smile, and your beautiful knits. Best wishes.

  • Beautiful. I’ve been wanting to try a Stephen west sweater. And wow. I love your use of color. You inspire me

  • So happy to see your joyful self, Jellybean and your knitting back on MDK! Beautiful knits as always!

  • I’m just happy to see your smiling face! Rainbows and smiles go so well together.

  • This really made my day — after some intense weeks at my day job, I needed some joy. Fantastic combinations of color and pattern.

  • You put a huge smile on my face! I love that you make a rainbow sweater every year, and I love concept of making things for the joy of it. Thank you for sharing this story!

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