Posts Tagged ‘color’

Gift-Knitting Jump Start

September 29, 2016

Just a couple of days after her new speckled, hand-dyed yarn dried, friend Shelley had selected complementary yarn. Look how great the green and blue (Encore by Plymouth Yarns) pick up the similar colors in her hand-dyed sample.

green and blue balls of yarn with sample of hand-dyed yarn

By now, I expect she’s already cast on and is creating a great hat that one of her grandbabies (-children, -nieces, -nephews) will open in late December. Christmas knitting already? Sigh.

What’s on your needles these days? Or on your gift-knitting list?

Soft, Color-Shifting Cowl

January 19, 2016

After promising an update when I finished my second Chromatic Cowl, I completely forgot to post the finished product!

In the intervening week or two since my back seat knitting, I completed the cowl and grafted the two ends together with the Kitchener stitch. I must be doing something wrong with my provisional cast-on because I ended up with an uneven number of stitches — fewer on the provisional/waste yarn end. However, I cast on one a couple and grafted.

Blocking, as usual, was a tepid bath in the sink.


Drying this airy creation took only a couple of hours. Although I’m not thrilled with the similar color values of the dark gray and hunter green, I love the gradual colors changes.





Topping Off a Baby Hat with a Tassel

March 2, 2015

Gillan, a fiber artist who’s one of the Fearless Knitters in my weekly knitting class, made an adorable baby hat. Don’t you agree?

Simple Colorful Knit Baby Hat

Since it seemed a little bare on top, she asked for advice for some kind of finishing detail. She had crocheted a flat flower, complete with multi-colored petals, but that didn’t seem right. Neither did a pom-pom. Either one would have hidden, or at least obscured, the beautiful detail of the decreases on the hat’s crown.

My recommendation was a two-color tassel, which would provide a nice finishing touch while allowing the crown stitching to shine through. Knitting designer and teacher Lisa McFetridge has a helpful video tutorial on how to make a tassel. Lisa was the instructor on last fall’s Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise. (Doesn’t a Boston – Bermuda cruise in July sound pretty tempting right about now?! Check it out. I believe space is still available.)

Look what a difference this topper makes!

Easy Tassel on Knit Baby Hat

Just not sure about the fit

September 28, 2013

I often recommend neck warmers or cowls as a first knitting project. They’re shorter than scarves, provide the opportunity for trying new stitches (garter stitch gets old really fast), and don’t have to fit in the same way that a sweater does. I’m not so sure about the Albers cowl, but I suspect it’s because I have a larger-than-most head.

The design is terrific, and I love the colors even though — or maybe because — they’re beyond my usual palette.


But the size seems off — feels too big to wear just draped (or maybe I’m not very good at draping!).


But wrapping it around twice required a bit too much stretching and pulling (I come from big-headed stock). Plus I ended up feeling quite choked.


If I make another, I think I’ll make it with 4 squares so I can wrap twice. Or, better yet, I’ll measure my squares to ensure that each is 12″ x 12″ rather than 11.5″ x 11.5″. That 1.5 inches can make a difference.

Running Short

September 15, 2013

You know that feeling when you do a quick mental-visual calculation and realize that the yarn you need is greater than the yarn you have? Yeah, that.


While knitting with the good women of the midday Friday group at JP Knit & Stitch, I suddenly realized that I would a few yards short of the yarn needed to finish the final side of Square 3 of the Albers Cowl. I had about 16 rows of garter stitch to go and had enough yarn for maybe half that. “What yarn is it?,” someone asked. “Maybe you can search for more on Ravelry.”

Alas, I have no idea what yarn I’m working with. This was a small ball pulled from an ample stash of fingering weight yarn by Ann Weaver during our color theory class. It’s black that’s subtly flecked with purple and green — but mostly black.

As luck would have it, there’s a plastic bin of charity yarn at the shop that I was able to dig through in search of black fingering weight. Most of the donations were heavier and not black, but at the bottom of the bin I discovered what I was seeking.

Rather than finish with the original yarn and then switch to the replacement, I switched between them every two rows. It’s nearly impossible to see the difference except if you’re very close.


After binding off the final row, I had two very small bits of each. I wondered if maybe I had enough of the original yarn so that I didn’t need the black “replacement” after all. But I’m not about to find out. Sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone and start blocking.



Taking the “Eeks!” out of Steeks

August 5, 2013

One of the captivating aspects of knitting is the engineering of the craft. It’s ingeniously simple — everything’s made with two basic stitches — but the variety, complexity, beauty, and artistry are endless.

Various techniques are used to transform knits and purls into beautiful works of all kinds — fine lace, Fair Isle sweaters and mittens, cabled creations of all kinds.

Steeking is one of those techniques that can strike terror into the hearts of knitters. It’s basically cutting your knit-in-the-round creation and turning in the edges. Think of taking a pullover sweater and cutting up the front (from belly button to neck) and then turning under the edges and making button bands.

Since it’s much easier to knit multiple colors (like Fair Isle) in the round than going back and forth on straight needles, steeking is most often used with color work.

Barb came prepared to our steeling class with two elbow-length wristlets (which probably have a fancier name in real life).


Jackie came with a gorgeous and HUGE 30-year old pullover that she wanted to convert to a cardigan and tighten up along the sleeves. You can see why.


It’s the cutting that’s nerve wracking. What if it all unravels? How can I cut this beautiful thing I’ve created?

The magic is that it doesn’t unravel — at least, not if you’re using “sticky” wool. The fibers of each strand tend to stick to each other and don’t unravel. Plus before you cut, you crochet up both sides of your cutting line to hold down the stitches. If you have a sewing machine handy, you can use that instead of crocheting. Not surprisingly, none of us had brought a sewing machine on the cruise!


As each intrepid knitter prepared to steak, we gathered around to watch, take photos, and lend moral support.



On the final snip, we cheered. Knitters are such generous folk!

Color Theory or Making Your Colors Pop

July 29, 2013

Day #2, Knitting Cruise: Saturday morning started with a workshop on color theory, which, in simple terms, is using colors that work together so that each color looks its best.

In our goodie bag, we each got a nifty color wheel, one more detailed than the one I recall getting in elementary school art class.


Contrast between and among colors is the key here. If you’re thinking, as I was, that contrast is light-dark (white, black, gray), you’re thinking too narrowly (as I was). The talented and charming Ann Weaver took us through a few other types of contrast:

hue: different primary colors (red, blue, yellow)

warm/cool: contrasting between the two sides of the color wheel — red/orange/yellow and blue/green/purple.

complementary: colors that are across from each other on the color wheel are contrasting. For example, red-green, yellow-purple, blue-orange (and variations thereof)

light/dark: also known as “value,” this is how a particular color looks on a gray scale. Ann said that, with practice, one can begin to see this type of contrast between colors by “squinting and looking sideways at the yarn.” When I did this, I saw blurry colors but had no ability to discern light and dark. Colors are gold, apple green, charcoal gray, purple, and cream.


A nifty black-and-white camera app on my phone is really helpful in seeing the values of different colors. These colors are different, but on the gray scale, several of them are the same.


Cool, huh?

Ann had all kinds of examples of the power of contrast — in knitting and in art. Think stained glass windows with all their red, blue, yellow — contrast so the designs can be seen from a distance.

We’re working on the Albers Cowl, designed by Ann, based on the paintings of Josef Albers. Ann brought lots of extra fingerweight yarn for people to choose from if their color combinations needed a bit more contrast. When she looked at the colors I’d selected, she recommended something darker than the charcoal gray I’d chosen for my dark color.

“Go darker,” she exhorted, “That’ll make all your colors pop.” And, with that, she placed a small ball of purple-y black yarn next to my other colors. She was right.


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