That One Neon Stripe

This week’s blog post is kind of a follow-up on last week’s blog post, in which I wrote about the fade, a trend inspired by Andrea Mowry’s “Find Your Fade” shawl. The fade is all about gradients made from hand-painted, speckled, and highly contrasty colors. The speckle-dyed look is so hot right now, and I think it’s because it screams “hand made”. It usually is, but even the odd machine-dyed speckled yarn suggests hand-crafted quality.

At the same time, neutral tones are surprisingly modern looking lately. There’s a connection between the rainbow speckles and the neutrals that didn’t occur to me until a few days ago. Neutrals are the colors of wool and other natural fibers, even if they are in fact bleached or dyed. We want our yarn to be straight from nature, raw and real, and we want it to be hand-made. I think both impulses are a reaction against mass-produced things, harmonious with the ethic of slow fashion.

Now, here’s another observation about contemporary color schemes in the knitting universe. It’s the combination of neutrals and super-brights. It’s that one neon stripe incorporated into a classic design that bridges the gap between the 19th century and the 21st. Maybe it also bridges the gap between handcrafts and mass production.

I found so many examples of this type of color scheme on Ravelry that I’m not even sure where to begin with examples. It’s everywhere when you look for it. It has an undeniably contemporary look. I feel like all the cool kids are doing it. Meet a few of the cool kids:

Pictured:  Ticking Stripe Wrap, Super Easy Lap Blanket, Friendly Fair Isle Sweater, Color Dipped Hat, Beautiful Spring Scarf, Pointy Newborn Hat, Baby Jumper, Granny Stripe Scarf, Crocheted Balls

Above: Nine gorgeous designs by Purl Soho. Purl Soho is a super-trendy yarn shop in New York City that puts out impressive free patterns with tutorial-style instructions on their blog on a regular basis. Their color choices and photo styling are to die for, right?

Pictured: Wrap & Run, Stat Hat, Speedy Cowl, Rainbow Warrior Shawl, Painted Windows Shawl, Loop Shawl

Above: Casapinka is an ER-doctor turned knitwear designer who claims she loves pink too much. I disagree. Her use of bright pink combined with soft neutrals is so on-point it makes my heart swell with joy just to look at her designs. I was inspired to knit her Rainbow Warrior shawl in bright pink Malabrigo sock. You may have noticed that I am typically a fan of more subdued hues, but Casapinka turned me over to the bright side.

Pictured: Radiate Sweater, Ohlala Sweater, East or West Sweater, 3-Color Cashmere Cowl

Above: Joji Locatelli is a knitwear-designing mama from Argentina. She designed the gorgeous neon-edged shawl at the top of this post. I am kind of enthralled by her East or West sweater (bottom left). It’s sleek but unusual, with its side-to-side construction. I’d love it even without the hot pink accents, but I think they take the pattern from clever to brilliant. Joji’s 3 Color Cashmere Cashmere Cowl (bottom right) is one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry. Not everyone chooses to knit it in neutrals with a neon stripe, but I would contend it’s that stunning stripe that drove its fame.

Pictured: Rose Bowl Hat & Cowl, Happy Street Shawl, Bulb SweaterDipped Cowl

Above: Veera Välimäki is a Finnish designer whose designs “focus on simple and clean lines with small modern details” according to her website. That’s exactly what I’m on about with this blog post: those small modern details. Veera says yes to classic, neutral colors and yes to bright, surprising accents at the same time.


Written by Lauren Chesis

Lauren Chesis

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