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Mother Nature’s Colour Palette

June 6, 2024

When it comes to choosing the colour palettes for my knitwear, there is always one place I look to first for inspiration: nature. 

No one does colour better than Mother Nature. When you pay attention to the tones and hues of the natural world, you will start to see colours that you would never imagine sitting together, yet they complement each other perfectly with harmony and elegance. These colours are also constantly changing, throughout the seasons, bringing new inspiration all year round. If you know where to look, you will never fall short of ideas.


I am mesmerised by the vibrancy and depth of the natural world, such as lichen on rocks, treasures found on a beach and the flowers filling a typical English garden. Whether I am in the countryside, by the coast or even in the middle of a city, I am always seeking out inspiration from the natural world. The variety of tones of green across different mosses, the contrast between the leaves and blossoms on trees, different combinations of flowers planted in gardens – everything I spot in nature inspires me.

It’s easy to get swept up in the colours of flowers and foliage, but I also pay close attention to everything from fungi to rocks and stones. I am transfixed by the complex, dramatic and colourful tones of rocks – from pebbles picked up on the beach to majestic crystals and huge stone cliffs. Every single stone is unique, boasting its own irregular forms and distinctive markings, formed over time to be a one-off treasure. I also love the unusual colours and subtle differences in tone that you can spot when studying fungi.

I seek inspiration from all of these elements of the natural world when choosing the yarns for my knitwear designs, especially with the complex twists of my lambswool marls. I love entwining two colours or more of yarn together, sometimes unexpected combinations, but often inspired by patterns and colours I have spotted in nature. The colours of the changing seasons are forever captured in my mind, and I recreate these through the twisting of my signature yarns.

Here are four examples of yarns that were inspired by specific experiences involving the natural world:

The Alloa Cardigan in Lichen was inspired by lichen I came across on walks all across the UK. I love the vibrancy of lime green and tonal hues of grey that you find when paying attention to lichen – from fallen sticks and the branches of trees, to apple blossom trees covered in lichen with hints of pink blossom. On a recent hike in the Lake District I came across pink and burgundy lichen on the rocks, which is now on my mind for a future yarn.

The Geometric Scarf in Pearl is inspired by stones I found around the Teviot River when I was visiting the factories I work with in Hawick. I love looking for pebbles on the beach and in river beds; I collect them like treasures and am always amazed by their complex patterns and rich tones. These particular stones had hints of light pink cutting through their tonal greys, creating geometric patterns.

The Alloa Cardigan in Jasper was inspired by my love of gemstones. I picked out hints of blue I that captured my attention in vibrant red and spiced orange rocks.

Extra yarn for Genevieve Sweeney Premium knitwear

During a trip to Edinburgh, I purchased a piece of local Scottish agate that had been found on a beach. The colours of this gemstone inspired several pieces from my collection, such as the twists of marls and geometric patterns of the Oversized Blanket Scarf and Brook Sweater.

Finally, the tones of the Alva Cardigan in Drift were inspired by my love of the British seaside and the colours you can find there: beige, putty grey and twists of rope.

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