May 28, 2017

WIP | Still Making Rainbows

The simplicity of this afghan design makes it a fast, fun knit, precisely what I need right now to offset the demands of life and work. It's Memorial Day weekend in the US, so I was sorely tempted to set it aside and whip up something quick for the holiday, but I resisted the urge and focused on making rainbows. 

The last time we looked at this project, the first strip was finished:

Since then, the second one has been completed:

And the third one has been, too:

Like the first version, this one features Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep). To keep things fresh and interesting, I opted for a slightly different rainbow scheme with several muted shades and fewer brights. The off-white background prevents the muted shades from turning muddy and keeps the saturated shades pure and clear. The colors are:

  • Strip 1: Lapis, Hawaiian Sky, Provincial Rose
  • Strip 2: Sugar Plum, Light Jade, Tropical Coral
  • Strip 3: Cherry Moon, Mint, Buttercream
Now that the strips are completed, seaming can commence, and with a little time and luck, the body may be fully assembled before the weekend is over. Then, I can begin tackling the simple border and final finishing steps.

With its soft cottony feel, light background and cheerful rainbow colors, this version is perfect for summer, so I'm eager to finish it and get it into the active rotation.

Happy Memorial Day to my fellow Americans, and wherever you are, I hope you're having a lovely weekend.

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May 24, 2017

How to Create a 7-Stage Gradient

By now, it's obvious I'm a fan of ombres and gradients in all their forms, but there's something particularly appealing about seven-stage gradients, the next topic in our ongoing series.

Recently, I mentioned an easy way to adapt a six-stage gradient to create a seven-color version. Today, we're focusing on a different approach, but it works equally well.

6. Seven-stage gradientColsie Green Gradient Mitts

Stitch. This fast, easy slipped rib stitch is stretchy, reversible and does a respectable job of blending colors.

Strategy.  Solid sections are connected by transitional sections with two-row stripes. To achieve a
 similar look:

  • Choose four related colors. 
  • Arrange them dark to light or light to dark.
  • 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.

                  In this instance, the colors were worked as follows:
                  • Section 1: New Age Teal
                  • Section 2: New Age Teal and Sage
                  • Section 3: Sage
                  • Section 4: Sage and Light Jade
                  • Section 5: Jade
                  • Section 6: Jade and Rue
                  • Section 7: Rue

                  Seven-stage gradients work with any color combination, and because they're infinitely adaptable, they hold universal appeal. As a bonus, adding a fifth color makes it easy to expand this seven-stage gradient into a nine-stage version.

                  Uncertain where to start? Try creating a neutral ombre using four shades of grey ranging from deep charcoal to light silver, or four earthy tones ranging from dark brown to light sand. Or try a vivid scheme using saturated shades of fuchsia, purple, turquoise and lime.

                  Small, quick projects like these mitts, which feature leftovers generated by a steady stream of projects worked in shades of greenare an effective way to transform remnants and random skeins into something fun and functional. I'm off to tackle more examples for the next round of ombre and gradient how-to posts, and hopefully make some headway on the way-too-many WIPs on the needles.

                  Meanwhile, I hope you'll choose four colors that speak to you, cast on something simple and experiment with the rich possibilities of seven-stage gradients. And if you do, be sure to come back and tell us about it.

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                  May 21, 2017

                  Risky Business

                  Because I'm still enamored with the vivid colors and clean lines of the not-so-scrappy rainbow afghan, I decided to cast on another.

                  As luck would have it (ahem), there are enough Cotton Fleece partials and leftovers to make a second one, featuring a slightly different mix of rainbow banners set against a creamy background. The first strip is finished (and the second is underway):

                  So far, so good, right? 

                  Sure, except another colorful design has been loudly clamoring to get out of my head and onto the needles. From experience, we all know working multiple large projects at the same time can be a risky business, especially if like me you're a slow knitter with limited knitting time.

                  Of course the mature, disciplined approach would be to ban new cast ons, focus on what's already on the needles and finish ... which is precisely what I kept muttering under my breath as I started this new number:

                  It doesn't look like much yet, but there are a few interesting developments on the horizon, so I'm eager to see how this concept shapes up. 

                  What distractions are finding their way onto your needles?

                  For those of you who've inquired, the pattern for the not-so-scrappy rainbow afghan is in the tech editor's hands.

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