What To Do If the Gradient Hides from You

What To Do If the Gradient Hides from You

Whenever we send parcels out to our club members, I have my heart in my throat just a little.

We always work really hard to develop the most beautiful colourways we can and I so very much want everyone to love the yarn they receive, to be wildly excited by the colours. But I never quite know if they will until the parcels go out…

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a member of our Mini-Skein Club who said she was disappointed because it didn’t look like the colours in the bundles flowed from month to month the way they are supposed to (…and the way I promised they would!).

And I’ll be honest, my heart sank a little.

But in truth, I totally understand why she said that. Totally! When the Mini-Skeins are twisted into their bundles, it really can be hard to see the colour flow.

So hard, in fact, that sometimes even we have trouble seeing the flow when the Minis are still in their bundles.

And so hard, in fact, that when I read that email, we suddenly panicked that maybe we’d done something wrong! Maybe we’d goofed and the Mini-Skeins didn’t flow the way we’d planned…?

So my assistant Jade and I quickly broke open the bundles from the last three months and started laying them out.

And then, to our relief, the magic happened…

The colours flowed

January’s bundle started the year with some really gorgeous magentas that morphed into soft ballet pinks — the perfect, bright foil to the dark grey skies of deep winter, don’t you agree?⁠

And then February’s bundle was a little surprising, because you might expect clear pinks to move into something equally bright, maybe purples or corals. ⁠

But we try not to take the Mini-Skein Club gradient on a predictable path, so we mixed up some deep and rich caramels instead. I think the resulting colour flow almost glows! ⁠

(And when they’re worked up together into a project, the juxtaposition of a bright clear hue against a deep muted shade will bring out the best in both of them.⁠)

And then it was only once the Mini-Skein Club gradient had dipped into that lovely caramel that we came out into the clear coral-peach you might have been expecting. ⁠

Honestly, I think it’s these surprising detours that make the gradient so satisfying and club so fun!⁠

And finally, in March, we moved from those lovely rich caramels into the hues of honeydew melon, which you might not think of as a natural flow, but the result is beautiful.

What’s more tricky? Taking that orange swiftly away from hot and spicy and moving to cool and refreshing. But those streaks of green give a little clue…

What a difference it makes to lay all those Mini-Skeins out! I know the gradient is a little bit hidden when they’re twisted in their bundles but, once you see how the colours flow from month to month, aren’t’ they gorgeous?!?⁠

Even more exciting… where will we take the colour next?

There’s so much colour there to explore! But this little adventure just goes to prove, you’ll only see the gradient when you open up your Mini-Skein Club bundles and start playing with them!⁠

(And then we stretched out all the Mini-Skein Club yarns together and ohhhhhh, aren’t they glorious?!?⁠ Honestly, I think they almost looks like a landscape painting of a fiery sunset over gentle, grassy hillsides…)

Creating Stunning Gradient Colour Combos!

Creating Stunning Gradient Colour Combos!

A few weeks ago, on a very snowy day, we put together the latest Gradient Explorers colourways and brainstormed some fabulous colour combos to help get our club members’ creative juices flowing.

First, we laid out the colour flow for the last six months, just to see them all together.

And then we pulled out the skeins from November to January (below) to build our colour combos around…
Six Months of Gradient Explorers

Below, the Gradient Explorers flow, from l-r: Skating Pond (Jan), Plum Wine (Dec), Winter Berries (Nov), Treat Bag (Oct), Sweater Weather (Sept), Bird of Paradise (Aug), Golden Hour (July)

Look how painterly and pretty!!!!!

But the real fun of the Gradient Explorers is in using it as base to create new and exciting colour combos, by mixing it with our standard colourways. So we jumped right in!


Start with Cools

When it’s this snowy and cold, it makes sense to start with cool colours, right? First some gorgeous icy purples — just look how they melt right in!. And then some luscious greens — who’d have guessed they’d blend with those fuchsias so well?!?


Below, from left to right: Breathless, Skating Pond (Jan), Faded Desire, Plum Wine (Dec), Plume, Winter Berries (Nov)


Below, from left to right: Breeze, Skating Pond (Jan), Flow, Plum Wine (Dec), Vortex, Winter Berries (Nov),
Heat Things Up!

Heat Things Up!

By now, my assistant Jade’s fingers were getting a bit cold, so we decided to raise the temperature with colours from the warm side of the spectrum.

Below, from l-r: Skating Pond (Jan), Troublemaker, Plum Wine (Dec), Mars, Winter Berries (Nov), Oxblood


Below, from l-r: Skating Pond (Jan), Gobsmack, Plum Wine (Dec), Tantrum, Winter Berries (Nov), Troublemaker


Let’s Blend with Variegateds

For the Gradient Explorers, we looove to dye beautifully painterly colourways. So it makes sense to pull them together with other variegateds that will keep that painterly feel flowing. I think this combination is just amazing!

Below, from l-r: Flow, Skating Pond (Jan), Molten Cool, Plum Wine (Dec), Windswept, Winter Berries (Nov)
Go Graphic with Neutrals

Go Graphic with Neutrals

One of my absolute favourite things to do is to break up our Gradient Explorers colourways with semi-solids in neutrals to make things go pop! And this combo really does not disappoint!

Below, from l-r: Sliver, Skating Pond (Jan), Drizzle, Plum Wine (Dec), Dark Skies, Winter Berries (Nov), Dark Matter


Truthfully, we only scratched the surface — there are bazillions of gorgeous colour combos and I’m sure you’ll come up with one even more lovely than ours!

(We were getting cold so it was time to get moving. But first, Jade couldn’t resist grabbing an armful of skeins and taking them on a wild sledge ride down a snowy hill!)

 

Knitting Twitter Gets Heated Over… Blocking?

Knitting Twitter Gets Heated Over… Blocking?

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Do you use the app Knitrino? It’s an app that aims to make following knitting patterns easier and more convenient, but it nearly didn’t come into being when Apple rejected it from the App Store.  I found fascinating this quick article detailing the saga behind the story.


The knitting world exploded with (yet another) controversy recently, when designer Romi Hill tweeted a strong opinion on her belief in the importance of blocking projects.

While there were a lot of comments to the original tweet, the more heated discussions were in quote tweets (along with other threads all over Twitter) and centered on whether blocking was necessary and even whether designers or knitters should tell other knitters how to define when their projects are finished.  There was a lot of food for thought and it seemed like everyone who is anyone on Knitting Twitter weighed in.  Though it may have been a little too heated, as Romi posted this apology a few days later.


I love short rows for creating interesting and almost architectural shaping to knitting.  There are lots of different ways to do them, and if your pattern is written with wrap&turn short rows but you prefer German, I absolutely love this handy (and so clearly written!) explanation of how to convert a wrap and turn short-row to German short-row.

Join the A Secret Friend MKAL with One of Our Yarn Sets

Join the A Secret Friend MKAL with One of Our Yarn Sets

From Kristina Vilimaite, the designer of the delightful Bubbles of Joy shawl, comes A Secret Friend — a beautiful and colourful knit turned into a fun and exciting mystery knit-a-long!

Designed in SpaceCadet Oriana, A Secret Friend incorporates seven colours with garter stitch, mosaic slipped stitches, simple lace, and short rows to create a stunning asymmetric shawl that’s as intriguing to knit as it is eye-catching to wear. 

And we’ve created three gorgeous colour sets for you to make it with.  Cast on is coming up quickly on Feb 22 so click here to get your order in quickly!

What Makes You Buy a Pattern?

What Makes You Buy a Pattern?

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Moreso than any other time of year, Deepest Winter feels like the time for stranded colourwork (oh, those Scandinavian influenced circular yokes!).  If it’s something that’s always intimidated you, check out Kate Heppell’s Guide to Colourwork, full of great tips and even free patterns to try.

three images of colourwork knitting

A tricky thing about hand-knit and hand-crocheted garments is how to wash them.  Of course, when you’re the person who has put hours into making something, it’s not hard to find the motivation to lovingly hand-wash it.  But if you make a gift for someone else, they might be a little intimidated. I think this article is a great walk-through on how to wash hand-made garments in the washing machine… without destroying them!

Designer Kath Andrews recently released a pattern for a lovely yoked sweater featuring a slip stitch pattern and professionally tech edited in nine sizes.  And it sold only two copies.  She shared it on Twitter and asked, “I’m pondering what makes a pattern popular/sell well… What would encourage you to purchase this sweater pattern?”  Frankly, I wondered that too, so I put together a quick 1-question survey to find out.  If you take a moment to fill it out, your insight would be so helpful — and I’ll be sure to share the results with Kath!