Sep 24, 2017

How to Create a Double-Take Gradient

Technically, this post should be titled "how to create a nine-stage gradient, but I think of this as the double-take gradient for one simple reason: Work the colors as described below, and you can literally double the number of shades embedded in your project, and achieve a more subtle, gradual transition as each color fades into the next.

If you have difficulty picking and pairing colors, the double-take strategy is for you. Simply choose a pre-packaged gradient or ombre mini-skein pack and you're ready to get started. 

For this example, I choose a mini-skein pack featuring five shades of blue-green, but the double-take strategy works with any number and any color. Choose three colors and you can turn them into a six-stage gradient. Choose four and you can turn them into an eight-stage gradient.

Let's dive in and take a peek at the particulars.

Double-take gradient: Shawl swatch

If you carefully study the photos, you can see the gradual shift of colors. (Try to ignore the loopy effect at the right edge. The yarn tails are tucked under the swatch to reduce visual distraction.)

Stitch. This features the fluted rib stitch. Not only is it one of my all-time favorite reversible stitches, it does a lovely job of blending colors.

Strategy.  Solid sections are worked plain, while transitional sections are worked in alternating two-row stripes. This works with any number of colors, but to achieve a look similar to what's shown:
  • Choose five related colors and arrange them light to dark or dark to light.
  • Work section 1 with CC1.
  • Work section 2 with CC1 and CC2.
  • Work section 3 with CC2.
  • Work section 4 with CC2 and CC3.
  • Work section 5 with CC3.
  • Work section 6 with CC3 and CC4.
  • Work section 7 with CC4.
  • Work section 8 with CC4 and CC5.
  • Work section 9 with CC5.

                  Could it be any easier? The swatch shows five colors worked in a nine-stage gradient, but you could quickly double it (hence the name) to a ten-stage gradient by working CC5 and CC1 together. This approach works no matter how few or many colors you've chosen.

                  Like all the gradient strategies we've discussed, this super-simple approach is packed with possibilities. The swatch features five very closely related hues, but use any color combination that appeals to you from rainbow shades to neutrals or monochromatics. 

                  I worked this swatch to determine needle size and gauge for a shawl I'm itching to cast on, one that's been in my planning pipeline far longer than I care to admit. So, whether you're working with a pre-packaged yarn collection or using yarn from stash, give the double-take gradient a try. It's a fun, effective way to take any project to an entirely new level and create a custom effect that's completely your own.

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                  Sep 17, 2017

                  Crossover Combos

                  My core wardrobe is compact and built on basics, so I rely heavily on accessories to change up the look, especially when the weather turns cool. Some time ago, I began slowly but steadily making mitts to complement my favorite scarves and shawls. It's a three-way win. I stay warm, indulge my love of knits, and still appear somewhat pulled together.

                  It's time to take this thinking to the next level. 

                  Two-shawl weather is on its way and I'm determined to be prepared, so I've decided to create a cozy collection of coordinating wraps, cowls and scarves that aren't matchy-matchy but work well together. Because yes, indeed, I've been known to layer two scarves or cowls twisted together, or a cowl and scarf combo, or a small shawl topped with a larger wrap.

                  In other words, I'm on a mission only a fellow knitter can understand: I want to leverage the knits I have by making a series of mix-and-match knits. With this in mind, there are two color combos on my radar screen.

                  One involves various shades of teal. According to some interior designers, it's the most versatile hue for home decor, because it blends well with virtually any color scheme. I'm beginning to believe the same is true for clothing and accessories, since it seems to complement any skin tone and plays beautifully with black, grays, earth tones, reds, roses, purples, blues, golds and oranges, especially deep pumpkin shades. (Hmmm, I see another color post on the horizon.)

                  In practical terms, that helps explain why many recent posts feature shades of teal, either on its own, paired with neutrals, or blended with closely related tones of turquoise, lake and sea.

                  The other combination involves a mix of reds, wines, plums and purples. For me, the scarf below hits all the marks. It's soft. It's light, It's warm. It's reversible. It features some of my favorite colors worked in a simple three-stage gradient, and it's long enough to wrap multiple times without becoming overwhelming. 

                  There's enough of this exquisite cashmere-silk blend (Richesse et Soie) in the stash to make a coordinating cowl or scarf, but if I blend it with another yarn, I could make a shawl or wrap. I was playing with various combinations, when I discovered this.

                  I'm still in the concept stage, but this interesting mix may be just the crossover combo I need to tie this whole whacky plan together.

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                  Sep 10, 2017

                  WIP | Herlacyn Heatwave

                  Slowly but surely, Herlacyn Heatwave is making headway. The last time we talked about this afghan, the first strip had just been completed.

                  As soon as that strip was done, I cast on strip two. It looks an awful lot like the first one, doesn't it? It's true, all three strips are quite similar, but each one features a slightly different mix of colors worked against a black background, which creates an interesting ombre or gradient effect once all the elements are assembled.

                  Speaking of finishing, let's cut to the chase. After a bit more knitting, all three strips were ready for seaming. Normally, I wait until the end and weave ends once the entire blanket is finished, but knitting time is so scarce these days, I decided to try something different, and weave ends as I seamed.

                  If you look closely below, you can see as I picked up stitches along the strip edge, I wrapped (trapped) the contrasting color with the black working yarn during the pick up process. This created a tidy braided effect, and it will definitely save time during the finishing process.

                  Now the seams are completed, and it's waiting patiently for the next stage. So far, I like how things are coming together. 

                  Mornings and evenings have been slightly cool, a reminder that fall is right around the corner, so I'm eager to get this finished. I confess, I'm already fantasizing about greeting each fall day sipping a steaming cup of coffee, watching the sun rise with this happy harlequin afghan draped over my legs. All it needs is a simple border, so I'd better get busy. 

                  Looking for the pattern? It's in development and will soon be heading to the tech editor for review.

                  Meanwhile, I'm connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

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