Feb 3, 2019

Color Does All the Work

Not long ago, I stumbled across a Kaffe Fassett profile in Let's Knit Magazine. (It's well worth the read, so I hope you'll take time to check out the link.) 

I've never knit one of his designs, but I've admired his work for longer than I care to admit. Like countless others, I've always found his jubilant use of color inspiring, albeit a bit daunting with all those ends to weave. Much of what he shared in the profile resonates, but one quote really captured my attention:
Because my main interest is colour I feel no need for fancy stitches like lace and raised textures. The colour does all the work, particularly in good pattern structures ... 

Whew, what a relief! 

While I admire and respect knitters who delight in intricate shapes and complex lace or cable designs, these are not the things that continue to fascinate me after decades of working with needles and yarn. 

Instead, I'm drawn to designs that feature simple shapes, subtle textures and a focus on color. I'm not now nor shall I ever be in Kaffe Fassett's league, but if pursuing these qualities is good enough for him, then it's more than good enough for me.

To see all posts related to color, click here.

Jan 27, 2019

Living Coral: Color of the Year

Every year, the color experts at Pantone designate a color of the year. For 2019, they've chosen Living Coral (16-1546), a color that hovers somewhere between apricot/pink and peach.

Trend-watching isn't my thing, especially in knitting. I prefer to make what I want in colors and fibers that appeal to me, regardless of whether or not they're on trend. In fact, one reason we choose to knit, crochet, sew and weave is to create specific items that reflect our personal tastes and preferred color palette. 

That said, I always find it interesting to peruse projects past and present to see how often (if at all) a hot-right-now color appears.

Initially, the only project that came to mind was this version of Herlacyn, which features a soft coral worked as part of a diagonal gradient that shifts from banana and butter yellow to warm pink, fuchsia and red.

Then I remembered this project, where soft coral also appears in something every knitter needs, a quick pair of spring-weight mitts worked in gradient shades that match the new afghan.

A deeper dive turned up this rainbow Valere, which has a coral banner positioned top and center.

Its sibling incorporates the exact same coral in the same location (top center), but it's taken on a pinkish hue due to different lighting conditions and the other colors surrounding it.

In Twegen Harvest, the third and fourth strips pair coral/peach speckled yarns with light and medium clay for very different effects.

That's not a lot of projects, but I was surprised to see hints of coral and apricot have been been surfacing in my knits for awhile. I would never knit a specific color just because it's fashion forward, but Living Coral is attractive and versatile. This might be one time where the color of the year deserves to be highlighted in a project of its own.


Jan 20, 2019

Organizing the Stash: The Result

Last year was a watershed year on the knitting front, not for the number of projects completed or yards processed, but because I finally managed to wrangle the stash into some form of submission. 

Don't get me wrong. As I explained last week, the stash has been relatively functional for some time, but my long-term goal was to find a way to organize it more efficiently to make the most of space available.

After lots of measuring and weeks of research and comparison, I invested in a daunting collection of clear storage boxes from the Container Store in three sizes (women's shoe, men's shoe and sweater boxes). These boxes stack securely and make it possible to see at a glance what's in each container. The shoe boxes are just the right size for smaller quantities and finer yarns, while the large ones  aptly dubbed sweater boxes  hold heavier weight yarns and sweater (or afghan) quantities.

All that planning, measuring and agonizing paid off. Once the containers arrived, I emptied the old bins and began reorganizing the yarn. My strategy was simple: Whenever possible, I wanted same/similar yarns together, so I sorted first by weight, then by fiber, then by quantity and finally by color (weight > fiber mix > quantity > color).

The end result has been immensely satisfying. Sweater quantities occupy their own dedicated boxes. Stash staples like Cotton Fleece occupy multiple containers organized by color type (cool shades, warm shades and neutrals). 

Smaller quantities and mixed colors are stored like with like (shrine of precious, lace weight, workhorse worsteds, etc.), and in some cases, I've tucked in an oddball, singleton or variegated skein that works well with the yarn in question.

The entire stash now fits into two built-in, half-height cupboards that flank the fireplace. One holds all lace, fingering, sport and DK yarns, while the other holds worsted, aran and bulky. 

I've lived with this new system for awhile, and so far, I'm delighted. It's much more efficient and works beautifully. If I want a specific yarn or weight, I know precisely where it's stored, and I can access or restash it with a minimal amount of fuss.

As an added plus, consolidating the stash freed up several large drawers and smaller cupboards. One goal for this year is to reduce the number of knitting-related things that tend to sit out, so I hope to use this storage for WIPs, FOs, knitting tools, swatches, blocking mats and more. But first, of course, I'll need another plan ...

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