Sep 24, 2017

How to Create a Double-Take Gradient

Technically, this post should be titled "how to create a multi-stage gradient," but I think of this as the double-take gradient for one simple reason: Work the colors as described below, and you can literally double the number of shades embedded in your project to achieve a more subtle, gradual transition as each color fades into the next.

If you have difficulty picking and pairing colors, the double-take strategy is for you. Simply choose a gradient or ombre mini-skein pack and you're ready to get started. 

For this example, I choose a mini-skein pack featuring five shades of blue-green, but the double-take strategy works with any number and any color. Choose three colors and you can create a six-stage gradient. Choose four and you can create an eight-stage gradient.

Let's dive in and take a peek at the particulars.

Double-take gradient: Shawl swatch

If you carefully study the photos, you can see the gradual shift of colors. (Try to ignore the loopy effect at the right edge. The yarn tails are tucked under the swatch to reduce visual distraction.)

Stitch. This features the fluted rib stitch. Not only is it one of my all-time favorite reversible stitches, it does a lovely job of blending colors.

Strategy.  Solid sections are worked plain, while transitional sections are worked in alternating two-row stripes. This works with any number of colors, but to achieve a look similar to what's shown:
  • Choose five related colors and arrange them light to dark or dark to light.
  • 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.
  • Work section 8 with CC4 and CC5.
  • Work section 9 with CC5.

                  Could rhis be any easier? The swatch shows five colors worked in a nine-stage gradient, but you could quickly double it (hence the name) to a ten-stage gradient by working the first and last CCs together. This method works no matter how many or few colors you've chosen.

                  Like all the gradient (ombre, fade) techniques we've discussed, this super-simple strategy is packed with possibilities. The swatch features five very closely related hues, but you can use any color combination from rainbow shades to neutrals or monochromatics. It's also an effective way to tame challenging skeins of speckle, confetti and variegated yarns.

                  As an added plus, you can take any project to new heights by combining a mirror gradient with the double-take strategy. Simply work the sequence in the order described above, and work it again in reverse order but skip the last step on the return run. In the swatch shown, you would work the CC5 sequence once, which puts this color at the halfway point of your shawl or scarf or afghan strip, then work the remaining steps in reverse order (CC5 with CC4, etc.).

                  I worked this swatch to determine needle size and gauge for a shawl I'm itching to cast on, one that's been in my planning pipeline for so long, it's embarrassing. The holdup now is determining exactly which type of gradient I want to use.

                  While I struggle to sort that out, I encourage you to give the double-take gradient a try. Whether you're working with a pre-packaged yarn collection or using yarn from stash, it's a fun, effective way to take any project to a fresh, new level and put your own creative stamp on everything you knit.

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                  1. GREAT ideas, I'm going to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

                    1. You're welcome, Anne. Have fun and happy knitting!


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