I like to think of myself as an astute observer of knitting trends. I feel like I walk around with my head immersed in the knitting universe at all times. I guess that means the knitting universe hovers about 5 feet above the ground. I’m not sure how astute I really am, but I’ve noticed one thing lately: it’s all about the fade. There’s really nothing new about this look that’s variably called gradient, dégradé, ombre, and fade, but there’s a slightly different emphasis in the “fade” of 2017.
Pink hair + ombre hair!
Side note: Remember when ombre-dyed hair was all the rage, like 10 years ago? Ok, so I’m not as up on hair dye trends, though I have noticed a preponderance of soft pink hair ever since I read this article about “Millenial Pink” on thecut.com. I even tried it myself, but nobody ever tells you just how much upkeep is involved in maintaining pink hair! Has anyone ever used hand-dyed yarn as inspiration for a hair dye job? Mim keeps talking about Malabrigo hair lately. But I digress…
When I first started working at Over the Rainbow Yarn just a few years ago, I noticed that long-striping gradient yarns were all the rage. Noro in particular is famous for the long-striping gradient look, and we’ve carried a few yarns in the gradient-striping style for years including Gina, Seasons, and Jawoll Magic Dégradé.
Then there were the super-long striping gradient yarns that took the entire length of a skein to fade from one color to the next. They were hard to find, being mostly arduously hand made and necessarily wound into cakes before selling in order to display the full color spectrum. But oh my, they made the most stunning shawls. Alternatively, there were the sets of gradient mini skeins which produced a similar look when worked in wide stripes.
Color play has always been one of my favorite aspects of knitting. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I can hardly ever limit myself to one color in any given project. When I wander about the yarn shop or peruse my personal yarn stash, I’m always thinking about color combinations before thinking about weight, fiber or even what I intend to knit. I once visited a yarn shop that was organized entirely by color rather than yarn weight, yarn company, or fiber content. Even yarn from the same line was separated by color. I imagine it was a nightmare for most shoppers, but it completely delighted me. Patterns like the “Find Your Fade” shawl are all about the color play, and I personally love it!
Find Your Fade is different from the popular gradients of a few years back in several ways:
First of all, you get to pick your colors. In my opinion, calling it “Find Your Fade” was a stroke of genius. The implication is that you played a part in the design of your own shawl. And you did! A shawl of seven colors affords you all kind of opportunities for personalization!
Second of all, it typically features the speckled and hand-painted yarns that are also wildly popular these days.
And thirdly, it’s less subtle. You can make a fade out of any bold combination of colors – be free, color-loving hearts! The transitions from one color to the next are simply produced by knitting a swath of color A, then a swath of Colors A and B alternated every other row, then a swath of color B.
Andrea Mowry and other designers including Stephen West have released a number of fade-themed patterns this year, so the sheer big-ness of the Find Your Fade shawl need not stop you from getting your fade on. I’ve collected a few patterns for your viewing pleasure and inspiration, and maybe for posterity. I’m really curious too – are any of these fade-themed designs on your to-knit list? Which colors would you choose?
You may associate knitting with winter. Maybe you don’t even believe in summer knitting. I myself am hopelessly in love with warm, fuzzy fibers like alpaca and cashmere. The ones you want to wrap yourself in when it’s chilly outside. There is this delightful image always lingering in my mind of a woodstove, a cup of steaming tea, an oversized blanket, snowflakes, snuggly kitties, comfort, gratitude and yarn – lots and lots of yarn. You know – the definition of hygge. Jennifer wrote about it once.
But let’s get back to summer knitting. Imagine this instead – an elegant lightweight top knit in linen, an ethereal shawl draped around your shoulders while you take a stroll outside in the evening, or a lacy cover-up to wear while knitting on the beach and sipping icy lemonade. You can wear your hand-knits in the summer too.
Today, I’m in the midst of a summer sweater called Cullum, designed by Quince & Co. for their sport-weight 100% linen yarn, Sparrow. It’s the first time I’ve worked with linen. It behaves differently from wool – it’s not springy. Instead, it’s slick and drapey. It almost feels rough in the skein, but it’s not. It’s just the lack of elasticity that I’m unaccustomed to.
We have a few light, summery yarns for sale at the shop, each with their merits, but Sparrow is the one that most resoundingly shouts summer, in my humble opinion. Linen is a summer fiber. I associate it with elegance and warm-weather daydreams.
Are you in getting in the mood yet? I don’t know about you, but I was also inspired by the latest issues of Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits. This summer, both magazines featured stunning but uncomplicated lace shawls and sweaters with a delicate, classically feminine vibe. I love it. I really love it. If you’ve been in the shop lately, you might have already heard me gushing about this issue of Interweave Knits. Here, you can even preview the patterns on Ravelry.
If you’ve been around the store lately and/or follow our instagram (which you shooouuuld ) you may have noticed a few new faces running about! A few tiny, adorable, yellow faces. After our spring cleaning sale we were left with a decent amount of yellow Cascade 220, and I was tasked with making as many baby chicks out of one skein as I could using this adorable pattern that I found (You’ll see later that I decided not to add the knit beak or wings and just went straight to felting their features, because you know me. I have to.) So far I’ve been able to make 5 and still have plenty left over– probably enough to knit up another 3 or 4, possibly5.
Despite the large number of them, they are all individuals with their own names and personalities! So, at the request of Jen, here are their little profiles! (Or was it Lauren…or was it both…)
Penny is the oldest. She’s soft spoken and loves to garden!
Richard is a bit shy until you get to know him, but he’ll beat you in an eating contest any day.
Bashful little Lilly loves bright colors, and makes friends easily!
Hans has a bit of a temper and lets things ruffle his feathers too easily, but he can play a mean guitar solo.