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Updated: 1 hour 36 min ago

WIP | Still Making Rainbows

9 hours 39 min ago
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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Categories: Knitting Feeds

How to Create a 7-Stage Gradient

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 10:30
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 in How to Create a 6-Stage Gradient, I mentioned an easy way to adapt that strategy to create a seven-color gradient. Today, we're focusing on a different approach, but it works equally well.

6. Seven-stage gradientColsie Green Gradient

Yarn. Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)
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 the section 1 with CC1.
  • Work the section 2 with CC1 and CC2.
  • Work the section 3 with CC2.
  • Work the section 4 with CC2 and CC3.
  • Work the section 5 with CC3.
  • Work the section 6 with CC3 and CC4.
  • Work the 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 green, are 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 encourage you to 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.

                  To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.
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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Risky Business

                  Sun, 05/21/2017 - 12:30
                  I'm still enamored with the vivid colors and clean lines of the not-so-scrappy rainbow afghan, so 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 done (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 twists ahead, so I'm optimistic. 

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

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  How to Make a 6-Stage Gradient

                  Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:30
                  It's time to tackle the joys of six-color gradients, next in our ongoing series on ombres and gradients.

                  There are, of course, countless ways to create such a gradient, but this one happens to require only three colors, so it's easy and highly adaptable.

                  6. Six-stage gradientColsie Mitts Plumberry
                  Yarn. Richesse et Soie (Knit1 Crochet 2)

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

                  Strategy.  Solid colors are separated by transitional sections consisting of two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
                  • Choose three colors and arrange them dark to light.
                  • Work section 1 with CC1.
                  • Work section 2 with CC1 and CC2.
                  • Work section 3 with CC2 only.
                  • Work section 4 with CC2 and CC3.
                  • Work section 5 with CC3 only.
                  • Work section 6 with CC3 and CC1.

                  In this instance, the colors were worked as follows:
                  • Section 1: Jet
                  • Section 2: Jet and Plum
                  • Section 3: Plum
                  • Section 4: Plum and Cranberry
                  • Section 5: Cranberry
                  • Section 6: Cranberry and Jet

                  I paired rich gemtones with black, but you could use any color combination that appeals to you. Try red, yellow and blue to create a fun rainbow effect, or select three colors in the same color family for a graduated ombre. As an added plus, you could quickly turn this into a seven-stage gradient by working a final section in whatever color you designate as CC1.
                  While I continue to work up samples for upcoming posts, why don't you spend some quality time at your LYS or with your stash. Choose three colors you love and make something fabulous featuring your own custom six-stage gradient. 

                  To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.
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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Knitter's Choice

                  Sun, 05/14/2017 - 12:30
                  Designers in designing mode tend to gravitate to two types of yarn: Desirable evergreens or newly released yarns.

                  This makes sense.

                  Evergreens have gained popularity due to their sustained performance over time. New releases are fresh and current, which creates buzz and appeals to knitters, publishers, producers and yarn store owners. In both cases, patterns written for a particular yarn boost the chances the design and yarn will attract attention, capture a following and be promoted across more venues. This is a very good thing, whether you're a designer, yarn producer or yarn seller.

                  Naturally, I've taken a slightly different approach. My patterns identify the yarns used, but they're deliberately written to accommodate the yarn of your choice, along with easy modifications if you want to adapt the pattern.
                  To me this makes the most sense, because it gives you the maximum flexibility. It's frustrating, both as a knitter and designer, to see how quickly many lovely yarns are discontinued, but with knitter's choice, you can work from stash, invest in something new or do a combination of both.

                  If you're a relatively new knitter, you're probably thinking, What's the big deal?

                  If you're a long-time knitter, you intuitively understand my point. Back in the day, the universal assumption was every knitter would use the specified yarn and work the pattern precisely as written. This viewpoint was so pervasive, producers knew demand would skyrocket and manufactured massive quantities of the pattern's featured yarns in the colors shown.

                  Many of us have always bucked this mindset, choosing yarns and modifying patterns to suit our preferences, an approach that used to earn quizzical looks from fellow knitters and puzzled LYS owners alike.

                  Today, thanks to bloggers, designers and Ravelry, independent inclinations aren't merely accepted, they're actively encouraged. This is a welcome advancement, producing a crafting environment that's fluid, flexible and accommodating, just like the knitted pieces we love so much.

                  No judgments here, but I'm curious: Do you use the yarn recommended in the pattern? Make your own choice? Do a mix of both?

                  Have a happy Mother's Day!

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  In the Pink

                  Wed, 05/10/2017 - 10:30
                  At one time, I had a fair amount of pink yarn safely ensconced in stash. Some still remains, but as I was casting on a quick pair of mitts destined for the ombres and gradient series, I realized how limited my current options had become.

                  Naturally, I began to wonder what had happened to all those pink, rose and fuchsia skeins, and this is what I discovered.


                  Colsie Mitts Rose Gradient

                  Dojeling Blackberry


                  Breidan Baby

                  Breidan Berry

                  Color Check

                  Drumlin Bright

                  Lucben Rose

                  Tikkyn Rainbow

                  Rainbow Vivid

                  HEARTH & HOME

                  Graefen Bright

                  Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots

                  That's a fairly respectable lineup, and there are even more examples for which I don't have photos. They range from countless charity hats, scarves and blanket squares to coasters, cloths and a lovely rose gradient sweater for my dog, Stella, which I managed to shrink in the wash, so it's long gone.

                  Back to the present day. Longer than I care to admit, I've been struggling to find a suitable project for this lovely assortment of wool-silk lace weight and rayon metallic yarn.

                  I've come up with yet another plan, and if it works, I'll once again be in the pink.

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  FO | Plumberry Gradient Mitts & Scarf

                  Sun, 05/07/2017 - 12:30
                  Recently, I wrote about how odd it may seem to still be wallowing in wool now that spring has arrived, but what can I say? It's part practicality and part pleasure.

                  This past week is a good example. It's been decidedly chilly with temps falling into the 30s and high winds to make it feel even colder, so working with and wearing wool was the only smart thing to do.
                  Now that the rainbow afghan is off the needles, it was time to tackle smaller projects that deserved some attention. These fingerless mitts, for instance, feature yarn so light and luscious, it's a true joy to knit and a joy to wear. Technically, I suppose it's not classified as wool since it's a blend of cashmere and silk, but let's not nitpick.

                  As simple as they are, these mitts represent that elusive achievement, the knitting trifecta. They:
                  • Are made with shrine of precious yarn, which I've vowed to knit with this year. (I buy it because it's scrumptious, then it lingers in stash because it's too delectable to knit.) 
                  • Illustrate a six-stage gradient.
                  • Complement my beloved Plumberry scarf and turn a lone accessory into a coordinated set.

                  Plumberry was featured in How to Create a 3-Stage Gradient, but somehow it never made it into an FO post, so let's give it one moment in the spotlight:

                  Both the scarf and mitts are fully reversible, but because they feature different gradients and slipped stitches, they don't match. This was a conscious choice and overall I think the look works.  In view of our cool, rainy weather, I may have a chance to test that premise before they're packed away for summer.

                  Plumberry Gradient Mitts & Scarf
                  Patterns: In development
                  Yarn: Richesse et Soie (Knit1 Crochet 2)
                  Weight: Fingering
                  Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
                  Mitts: ~95 yards
                  Scarf: ~300 yards

                  Meanwhile, there are several patterns in development, two new afghans in the works and countless concept swatches on the needles, so the choice is obvious: Focus and finish, right?

                  Well, that would be the mature, disciplined thing to do. Instead, because shawls and mitts are getting such a workout, my rebellious inner knitter keeps whispering we need another shawl ... and more mitts!

                  So, I'm going to ignore what may be the subtle signs of startitis, cast on a shawl and focus on the fact that shawls and mitts are the ideal way to turn shrine of precious yarn into something pretty and practical. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. 

                  What has your inner knitter been whispering in your ear?

                  Mitt-Worthy Shawls & Wraps
                  Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own

                  Categories: Knitting Feeds


                  Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:00
                  In theory this site is searchable, but in reality, sometimes the search function works and sometimes it doesn't. The Google overlords routinely change search algorithms, which often has a direct, surprising effect on the results even the simplest search will produce.
                  (They also routinely alter formatting algorithms, so blog posts have an annoying interesting tendency to reformat themselves and suddenly appear different from one day to the next. But that's a topic for another day.)

                  Back to searchability. There are more than 300 blog posts on the Knitting | Work in Progress (KWIP) site, so if you're looking for something specific, here are some tips. 

                  If you want to:
                  • Buy patterns, click on the Patterns tab (above).
                  • Read about patterns, go to the Browse category in the sidebar, scroll down the list and click on Patterns.
                  • Find a post about a particular topic, go to the Browse category in the sidebar, scroll through the list and click the appropriate tag, such as Ombres & Gradients.
                  • Find an earlier blog post, use the Search box and enter a keyword, such as afghan, mitts, rainbow, etc.
                  • Locate something specific, enter it in the Search box with quote marks, such as "Tikkyn afghan" or "Christmas trees" or "Might Could List."
                  • Read a post from a particular timeframe, go to the Archive list in the sidebar, select the correct option and it will display everything posted that month, e.g., March 2017.
                  I'm evaluating the pros and cons of moving the blog to a different platform that offers more layout options, better search functionality and greater flexibility. Until that happens, I'm soldiering on here and hope the suggestions above will help make it easier for you to more quickly find what interests you.

                  If you have feedback or a specific search-related question, just let me know, and I'll do my best to address it.

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  FO | Not-So-Scrappy Rainbow

                  Sun, 04/30/2017 - 12:30
                  The last time you saw my not-so-scrappy rainbow scrapghan, it was something of a jumbled mess. I was weaving ends and the borders were curling like crazy.

                  Luckily, blocking worked its transformative power, and now the borders lie flat, the stitches have relaxed and the rumples have disappeared.

                  For me, this project was all about color, so I kept everything else quite simple, from the triangular banners to the crossed stockinette stitch that creates a subtle texture on the front and plush texture on the back.

                  The ever-growing pile of Cotton Fleece partials and leftovers from past projects made the yarn choice obvious. Picking the right mix of rainbow shades and placement was a challenge, so I spent many enjoyable hours auditioning different combinations, until I landed on this one:
                  • Top row: Cherry Moon, Tropical Coral, Sunny Yellow
                  • Middle row: Mint, New Age Teal, Caribbean Sea
                  • Bottom row: Lapis, Raging Purple, Berry

                  To streamline colorwork and keep the project compact and portable, I used a strip strategy, then framed the piece with a plain, solid border. In these angled shots, the banner sizes and shapes seem to be different, but I assure you they're all the same size and shape.

                  Not-So-Scrappy Rainbow Afghan
                  Pattern: In development
                  Yarn: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)
                  Needles: US 8 (5 mm), US 9 (5.5 mm)
                  Size: Small
                  Dimensions: 24 x 36 ins
                  Yardage: ~650 yards

                  I confess I'm rather taken with the end result, so I can't decide whether to put it into the afghan rotation or hang it on the wall for decoration. What do you think? 

                  Meanwhile, I'm eager to cast on another, and for better or worse, the stash holds plenty of partials and leftovers, so options abound. Undoubtedly, this will lead to countless hours playing with color combinations and arrangements, but for me, this is part of the pleasure of knitting.

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Wallowing in Wool

                  Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:00
                  One of the few things I love about winter is the unbridled opportunity to wallow in wool. From scarves and shawls to cardigans, mitts and afghans, every woolly item sees action on a regular basis.

                  Spring has arrived and summer is on the horizon, so an ode to the wonderfulness of wool may seem odd, but like many of you, I work with it year round. From 100% wool to fiber blends, I value the springy resilience that keeps my stitches even and helps pieces rebound after blocking.

                  Years ago, I discovered wool's inherent versatility years ago, when I worked in an environment where business suits were daily attire. After much experimentation, many false starts and lots of wasted dollars, I discovered the solution: classic, tailored suits in fine wool fabrics. They traveled well, required minimal maintenance and lasted a long time.

                  When I used my noodle and chose wisely and well, a few suits and a handful of separates offered countless variations that made it easy to dress for work and pack for business travel. In concession to our hot and humid summers, I had a few summer weight pieces, but overall, my work wardrobe consisted of a year-round core of wool and wool-silk blends.

                  When I began knitting in earnest, I had to relearn this important lesson. Early on, I made an oversized gansey in a wool-acrylic blend, followed by a sweater jacket in 100% wool. Both pieces survive today, but the difference between the two is notable. Pilled and rather limp, the gansey is restricted to at-home use. The all-wool jacket, on the other hand, looks fresh and (nearly) new, so it's quite wearable. (One day soon, I'll try to get pictures of both.)

                  All of this is a long way of saying, with a few notable exceptions, wool is the common denominator in the yarns I love most. Warm weather may be on its way, but one way or another, I'll still be wallowing in wool.

                  PS: The photos show some of the wool and wool-blend yarns currently on the short list for summer knitting. Subject to change, of course!

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  WIP | Not-So-Scrappy Scrapghan

                  Sun, 04/23/2017 - 12:30
                  The last time you saw my not-so-scrappy scrapghan, it looked like a hot mess. The strips had been seamed together and I was starting the border when the sun emerged briefly, so I grabbed a quick shot:

                  I'd hoped to be sharing a finished afghan today, but the past couple weeks have been so hectic and jam-packed, it just didn't happen. 

                  Luckily some progress has occurred, but you might be hard pressed to spot it. The border is nearly finished, and as you can see, it's curling so madly, I'm a bit concerned. I've used this technique many times because once it's properly blocked it tends to magically relax and lay flat, but at this point it's difficult to believe that will actually occur.

                  I'm now diligently weaving ends and striving with all my might to work slowly and carefully, because this isn't my strongest skill set and I want both sides to be attractive. If you look closely, you can see the tapestry needle in the upper left:

                  I can't speak for you, but once a project reaches this stage, I'm so eager to see the finished piece I get antsy. Clearly, patience isn't my strong suit, but if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's an important quality to cultivate as a knitter. 

                  Like this afghan, it's something I'm still working on.

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Knitters' Insider Terms: Deciphering the Code

                  Thu, 04/20/2017 - 10:30
                  Recently, we took a quick look at some of the acronyms and abbreviations knitters use in blogs, comments, social media venues and everyday conversations. 

                  Today, let's tackle another part of the picture, and look at the meaning of some of the most common insider terms knitters use.


                  Audition. To experiment with different color combinations and/or textures to see which ones play well together.

                  Cold Sheep. To stop buying yarn and focus on using yarn from stash.

                  Destash. To sell, donate or give away yarn to reduce the size of the stash.

                  Dismount. To decide to purchase yarn after a period of cold-sheeping.

                  Frog. To rip out completed work, because "rippit, rippit" sounds like a frog.

                  Frog pond. To put a project aside, with the intention of frogging it in the future.

                  Hibernate. To put a project on hold indefinitely.

                  Knitworthy. The ultimate compliment, describing someone who appreciates your handiwork and for whom you'd cheerfully knit.

                  Marinate. To put a project aside for a time, while you figure out the next steps.

                  Mileage. Refers to how much yarn a specific project may require, how quickly a project progresses, or literally how many miles of yarn a knitter has knit.

                  Moderate Merino. To take a balanced approach, acquiring yarn as needed without overdoing it. 

                  Non-knitworthy. Describes someone who doesn't appreciate your handiwork and for whom you wouldn't knit.

                  Odd ball. Refers to unusual or challenging one-of-a-kind yarns.

                  Orphan. Refers to one-of-a-kind skeins lurking in the stash. 

                  Partial. Refers to leftover skeins that are partially used.

                  Reknit. To rework all or part of a project.

                  Simmer. To put a project on the back burner and let it evolve slowly.

                  Singleton. Refers to any lone skein. 

                  Stash. Large or small, it refers to your personal collection of yarn not in active use. 

                  Stashbuster. Projects or patterns designed to use large amounts of stash yarn.

                  Stashbusting. To focus on using yarn from stash.

                  Stash enhancement. A phrase used to describe recent yarn acquisitions, often used to describe new yarn for which you have no immediate project or plan.

                  Stitchworthy. Essential stitches to have in your repertoire.

                  Swatch. As a verb, it describes the act of knitting a fabric sample to test a stitch, establish gauge and determine how the yarn behaves. As a noun, it describes the finished fabric sample itself.

                  Time out. To put a frustrating project on hold until you have the patience to deal with it. 

                  Tink. Knit spelled backwards: hence, to undo completed work stitch by stitch.

                  Unknit. Same as tink: to undo knitted work stitch by stitch.

                  Unvention. Coined by renowned knitter, Elizabeth Zimmerman, it describes a new-to-you stitch or technique that has most likely been discovered (invented) by other knitters before you.

                  Yarn chicken. To continue knitting, even though it appears you'll run out of yarn before you finish the piece.

                  Yarneater. Describes projects or stitches that eat up lots of yarn.

                  Obviously, this list isn't all-encompassing, but hopefully it captures the most common terms used in knitterly conversations and online venues. Of course, we haven't even begun to tackle the abbreviations and acronyms used in patterns and stitch dictionaries, but we'll save that topic for another day. 

                  As always, if you spot a term that's missing, just let me know and we'll add it to the list.

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Ombres & Gradients: Which Would You Choose?

                  Sun, 04/16/2017 - 12:30
                  Knitting time has been as elusive as the Easter bunny. This means my rainbow scrapghan is progressing at a turtle pace, but the finish line is in sight so I'm striving valiantly to stay focused.

                  Several fresh afghan designs are clamoring to be cast on, however, and a knitter has to plan, right? That may explain why I've been scouring the stash, playing with color, and experimenting with various ombres and gradients as time permits.

                  Here are five combinations I'm considering:

                  1. With its blues, lavender and purple, this cool gradient would make a nice counterpoint to the vivid brights of my rainbow afghan, but don't you think it looks a bit bland and boring?

                  2. With livelier shades of green, turquoise and purple, this cool gradient offers (to my eye) a bit more visual interest and appeal.

                  3. With shades of teal, sage, jade and grayed greens, this tonal ombre speaks to me, partly because green has recently been on my radar screen.

                  4. With soft yellows, varied pinks and a subdued red, this gradient feels slightly tropical. (You'd think my stash would be overflowing with shades of red and rose, but I've done such a good job of knitting orphans, partials and leftovers, the choices are limited.)

                  5. With bright yellow and warm coral tones, this spicy gradient has an earthy look that lands somewhere between the heat of August and the harvest colors of fall.

                  I confess I'm stumped. I like all of them for different reasons, and most will eventually find their way into one project or another. That said, if I had the opportunity to cast on tomorrow, I don't have a clue which one to pick.
                  If you were in my shoes, which would you choose?

                  Meanwhile, I hope you're having a lovely weekend, and I wish a Happy Easter or Happy Passover to those who celebrate.
                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  FO | Colsie Mitts Green Gradient

                  Wed, 04/12/2017 - 12:00
                  Slowly but surely, spring is creeping forward. Several untimely freezes managed to zap the buds of early blooming trees, shrubs and flowers, so the colorful display that makes this time of year so appealing is more subdued than usual.

                  On the other hand, tender shoots and leaves are beginning to emerge and the grass and dandelions are growing at an alarming rate. To celebrate all this burgeoning greenery, I finished another pair of spring-weight fingerless mitts, this time in seasonal shades of green and teal.

                  Mitts | Colsie Green Gradient
                  Pattern: In development
                  Yarn: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)
                  Size: M
                  Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
                  Yardage: ~81 yards

                  With it's blend of cotton and wool, Cotton Fleece is perfect for the season, offering warmth without a woolly feel. As a bonus, the mitts were super fast and easy, and allowed me to use up several small balls of leftovers and scraps, Right now, the only thing they complement is my Lucben Tidepool afghan, but they should work with a teal and lake shawl in the planning pipeline.

                  In contrast to the Colsie Rose mitts, this pair incorporates a seven-stage gradient created with just four colors. From top to bottom, they are:
                  • Rue
                  • Light Jade
                  • Sage
                  • New Age Teal
                  I suspect it makes me sound like a simpleton, but I'm having such fun making these gradient and ombre mitts, I've already selected more leftovers for future pairs. A few weeks ago, I casually said I could see these in every color of the rainbow. Considering the array of Cotton Fleece leftovers tucked in the stash, that possibility seems more likely every day.

                  What knitting obsessions have captured your imagination this week?

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  WIP | Fresh Slant on Scrapghans

                  Sun, 04/09/2017 - 12:30
                  I love the colorful, dynamic look of the random scrapghans so many knitters and crocheters make. Some are vibrant, some are tonal, but each one is unique. Whether they're lively and bright or subtle and blended, they're an excellent way to transform leftovers into something attractive and useful.
                  As much as I admire these makers and their beautiful projects, random is not my natural approach. So when I found myself eyeing an ever growing pile of colorful Cotton Fleece scraps and leftovers, I faced a personal challenge: Could I create an appealing scrap-eating afghan design that allowed me to put small quantities of yarn to good use?

                  So, while we've been talking about other things like gradients, ombres and grey streaks, I’ve been quietly working in the background. To get started, I spent much of one weekend weighing partials and leftovers, calculating estimated yardage and playing with color combinations. I drew up a series of sketches, scribbled lots of notes, and began swatching.
                  After a fair amount of experimentation, I decided to start with a fast and easy concept that featured a single unifying main color, used nine partial skeins and appealed to my simple self. I went back to my collection of Cotton Fleece partials, targeted those with sufficient yardage, selected a rainbow of colors that played well together, and cast on.
                  The last time you saw this project, it looked like this:

                  Since then, some progress has occurred:

                  It looks like a hot, royal mess, doesn't it?
                  Of course it does! In the photo above, I had just finished the seams when the sun came out for 3.5 seconds, so I dumped the afghan on the work table and grabbed a quick shot. In spite of the way it looks here, I'm pleased with how it's coming together. It's bright, it's colorful, and it's putting a noticeable dent in my leftovers.

                  With luck and a bit of time, I'll finish the borders and edging this weekend. Then, it'll be time to tackle the edging and weaving ends, followed by blocking and the never-ending struggle to get semi-decent photos. 

                  If all goes well, sometime this week, this fresh slant on scrapghans will be completed and ready to share, then you can tell me what you think.
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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  Knitters' Acronyms: Deciphering the Code

                  Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:00
                  Like any dynamic, creative field, the world of knitting is awash in acronyms and insider terms. Knitting is a living, breathing endeavor, so like the craft itself, the terminology is constantly evolving.

                  This profusion of terms can be quite daunting, especially for new knitters. To help all of us decipher the code, I've compiled two lists that attempt to capture the most commonly used acronyms and insider terms, along with brief definitions for each.

                  Today, let's focus on acronyms.


                  ABD. All but done, as in a project that's almost finished.

                  AFO. Almost finished object.

                  AQ. Afghan quantity of yarn.

                  ATT. All the things.

                  COAT. Cast on all (the) things.

                  DAISY. Dubiously averaged individual stash year (how long it will take to knit yarn in stash).

                  FO. Finished object.

                  FOFri. Finished object Friday, a tradition in knitting blog world.

                  FRAT. Frog all (the) things.

                  HO. Half object (e.g., one mitt, one sock).

                  ISO. In search of something such as yarn, patterns, books, old knitting magazines, tools, etc.

                  KAT KATT. Knit all (the) things.

                  KWIP. Knitting | Work in Progress (this blog).

                  LOSY. Leftover sock yarn OR leftover stash yarn.

                  MAT MATT. Make all (the) things.

                  OTN. On the needles.

                  PIP. Pattern / project in progress.

                  SA. Stash acquisition.

                  SQ. Sweater quantity of yarn.

                  SABLE. Stash accumulation/acquisition beyond life expectancy.

                  SSS. Second sock/second sleeve syndrome.

                  TBD. To be determined.

                  TO. Time out, putting a project aside because you've run into difficulties.

                  UFO. Unfinished object.

                  UNO. Unamed object.

                  WIP. Work in progress.

                  YMD / YMMD. Your mileage may differ, referring to variable factors such as how fast a project progresses or how much yarn a project may require.

                  YMV / YMMV. Your mileage may vary, in the same vein as above.

                  YT. Yarn time, how long it would take you to knit all the yarn in your stash.

                  This list doesn't claim to be all-encompassing, but it reflects the most common acronyms used in knitterly conversations and online venues.

                  Soon, we'll take a look at common insider terms, but in the meantime, if you spot a missing acronym, just let me know and we'll add it to the list.

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                  FO | Colsie Mitts Rose Gradient

                  Sun, 04/02/2017 - 12:30
                  Spring has arrived, which in this region means erratic temperatures coupled with cold and stormy weather punctuated by tantalizing flashes of sun and warmth.

                  To celebrate the latter, I broke my grey streak by making a quick pair of spring-weight fingerless mitts in cheerful shades of red, rose and pink. The last time you saw them they looked like this.

                  And here's what they look like today:

                  Colsie Rose | Reversible Mitts
                  Pattern: In development
                  Yarn: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep), Four Seasons (Classic Elite, discontinued)
                  Size: M
                  Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
                  Yardage: ~80 yards

                  Colsie, an old-fashioned Scottish word for cozy, captures the everyday simplicity of these mitts. The stretchy ribs hug my hand, offer plenty of give, and are fully reversible. Cotton-wool blends are perfect for this time of year, providing warmth without a woolly feel.

                  Each mitt incorporates six colors. From top to bottom, they are:
                  • Red & White Variegated
                  • Medium Pink
                  • Provincial Rose
                  • Cherry Moon
                  • Clear Red
                  • Barn Red
                  As humble as they are, these mitts represent a knitting trifecta. They were super fast and easy, made with leftovers from stash, and served to illustrate one way to create a five-color gradient in the Ombres & Gradients series. Plus, the colors complement a fuchsia shawl (purchased, not handknit) I wear often, so that's another win.

                  If you read Going Green, you know there's another pair already on the needles, and this morning I selected more leftovers for future pairs. Long ago, we agreed there's simply no such thing as too many mitts, so I may make a whole series in a rainbow of colors. What do you think?

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                  Categories: Knitting Feeds

                  How to Create a 5-Color Gradient (Option 2)

                  Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:17
                  Five-color gradients are next on our list in the ongoing saga of ombres and gradients.

                  Last time, we looked at option 1 for a five-color gradient. Today, let's dive in and explore an alternate approach. As you can see, unlike some of the other items in Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own, example five was compact, quick and easy.

                  5. Five-Color Gradient (Option 2)

                  Yarns. Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep), Four Seasons (Classic Elite, discontinued)
                  Stitch. This fast and easy slipped stitch creates a very stretchy, reversible 3x2 ribbed fabric, and the occasional slipped stitch helps blend the colors.

                  Strategy. Each section consists of two colors worked in alternating two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
                  • Choose six related colors.
                  • Pair them by value: dark with dark, medium with medium, light with light.
                  • Work section 1 with two dark colors, CC1 and CC2.
                  • Work section 2 with one dark and one medium color, CC2 and CC3.
                  • Work section 3 with two medium colors, CC3 and CC4.
                  • Work section 4 with one medium and one light color, CC4 and CC5.
                  • Work section 5 with two light colors, CC5 and CC6.

                    In the example shown, the colors were worked as follows:
                    • Section 1: Barn Red, Clear Red
                    • Section 2: Clear Red, Cherry Moon
                    • Section 3: Cherry Moon, Provincial Rose
                    • Section 4: Provincial Rose, Medium Pink
                    • Section 5: Medium Pink, Red-White Variegated

                    No matter what colors you choose, it's especially fun to work this gradient and see how different shades blend in each progressive section as your work grows.
                    The sample is still on the needle for one simple reason: I'm making another and turning the pair into gradient mitts. I like to keep the stitches live until both are ready to finish. That way, if I decide to adjust the length or alter the bind off color and technique, it minimizes the fuss factor and ensures the two match.
                    I was highly motivated to tackle this example for selfish reasons. When both are finished, several small balls of leftover yarn will finally be gone, and I'll have a fresh pair of mitts for spring. Win-win. (When I wrote this, there was snow on the ground, so yes, in this region mitts are an essential part of any sane person's spring wardrobe.)

                    Meanwhile, I'm working on a fast and fun color-block afghan, testing stitches for a new design, and making samples for upcoming ombre and gradient posts. To complicate matters, knitting time has been tough to find, but when it appears, I can choose from a nice assortment of small and large projects, which is definitely a good thing.
                    Your comments are always welcome and if you have questions or need clarification, let me know and I'll do my best to clear up any confusion.

                    To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.
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                    Categories: Knitting Feeds

                    How to Create a 5-Color Gradient (Option 1)

                    Sun, 03/26/2017 - 12:30
                    Creating your own custom ombres and gradients is a fun and effective way to combine colors and use up leftovers and partial skeins, so it's one of my go-to solutions. 

                    One of my favorite approaches is the simple five-color gradient, the fourth example highlighted in Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own. With just three colors, you can produce very different looks depending on whether you use high-contrast or closely related shades.

                    Let's take a quick look at the basics.

                    4. Five-color gradient (option 1): Kintra Mitts
                    Yarn. Tajmahal (GGH, Lane Cervinia; discontinued), Charlemont (Valley Yarns)
                    Stitch. The slip stitch produces a reversible fabric with stretchy, hand-hugging ribs.

                    Strategy. Solid areas are separated by transitional sections worked in alternating two-row stripes. To achieve a similar look:
                    • Choose three compatible colors.
                    • Arrange them from dark to light or light to dark.
                    • Work the first section with the darkest shade only, CC1.
                    • Work the second section with one dark and one medium, CC1 and CC2.
                    • Work the third section with the medium shade, CC2.
                    • Work the fourth section with one medium and one light, CC2 and CC3.
                    • Work the fifth section with the lightest shade only, CC3.

                    The overall strategy couldn't be easier, but it produces very attractive results. For those who like specifics, the accent stripe was worked in Charlemont (Burgundy) and the mitt body was worked as follows:
                    • Section 1: Black
                    • Section 2: Black and grey
                    • Section 3: Grey
                    • Section 4: Grey and cream
                    • Section 5: Cream

                    The Kintra Greyridge mitts below illustrate the same strategy, worked in closely related charcoal, pewter and silver shades for a tonal or ombre effect.

                    Five-color gradients work with any color combination, so they're a highly effective stashbusting strategy and easy way to transform a simple pattern into a standout piece.

                    Try using fine yarns with a soft hand for a stunning scarf, cowl, shawl or stole. Or use assorted cotton or cotton-blend leftovers to create a rainbow of gradient dishcloths, towels, placemats or table runners.

                    However you choose to use this particular gradient strategy, I can guarantee you'll have fun. Just be forewarned, experimenting with different combinations can quickly become addictive.

                    To see more ombre and gradient concepts, click here.

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                    How to Create a 4-Color Gradient

                    Wed, 03/22/2017 - 10:30
                    Periodically, we've been talking about various strategies for creating your own gradients. We've already looked at simple, basic and three-color gradients, so it's time to tackle another one.

                    Today, let's delve into one way to craft a four-color gradient, so you can create one of your own. Our focus is example three from the overview post, Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own.

                    3. Four-color gradient: Twegen Coffee

                    Yarn. Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)

                    Stitch. The fluted rib stitch produces a reversible, tweedy fabric with fluted columns on the front and fluted ribs on the back. 

                    Strategy. Each strip consists of two colors worked in alternating rows. To achieve a similar look:
                    • Choose five shades in related color families. 
                    • Pair them by value: dark with dark, medium with medium, and light with light.
                    • Work the first strip with two darks, CC1 and CC2.
                    • Work the second strip with one dark and one medium, CC2 and CC3.
                    • Work the third strip with two mediums, CC3 and CC4.
                    • Work the fourth strip with one medium and one light, CC4 and CC5.

                    In Twegen Coffee, the strips were worked as follows:
                    • Strip 1: Cavern, Slate 
                    • Strip 2: Slate, Teddy Bear Brown
                    • Strip 3: Teddy Bear Brown, Milk Chocolate
                    • Strip 4: Milk Chocolate, Cotton Ball

                    Arranged dark to light, the strips were seamed and trimmed with Cavern (black). Unfortunately, several of these colors are no longer available, but comparable ones are. Twegen Harvest features a similar strategy, using eight colors instead of five. In both instances, I chose this approach to make the most of yarn on hand and leverage the interesting woven look the fluted rib stitch produces.
                    The beauty of crafting your own ombres and gradients is the opportunity to tailor them to suit your tastes, make the most of yarn you have, use up oddballs and uglies, and more. I think this particular gradient would be striking in shades of burgundy, wine, claret, red and rose, in blues ranging from deep navy to summer sky, in greens ranging from forest to mint, or in subtle shades of grey.
                    Want to make a dent in your stash? From afghans to accessories, a four-color gradient is a great solution, because it's the ideal way to combine colors to get the yardage you need for a larger project.

                    To see all ombre and gradient posts, click here.
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