Picking Speckles for Fades Part 1

Hello, friends,

Customers in the shop have been wondering how to choose beautiful combinations for their Fade projects. Since putting complementary colors together is pretty much my job, I’d like to share a few strategies I use when thinking about creating gradients.

There are three approaches I’d like to show you: gradient, balanced complements and color value.

Let’s start with gradients today. As you might imagine, the easiest way to think about a gradient is one basic color (say, blue) with one end very light, moving to a much darker shade of the same color. Check out the Tangled Up in Blue gradient yarn below.

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When you’re picking out colors, having things in the same color family from light to dark tells a very coherent color story. If you have speckles that aren’t quite the same color, a great strategy is to look at the color’s value. Value means the light or darkness of a color on a grayscale.

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These semisolid skeins are lined up in order of lightest to darkest by value. If you want to check your lineup of colors to see if it’s going from light to dark, line them up and take a photo with your phone. Then add the grayscale filter and it will show you the skeins’ value. Sometimes colors surprise you!

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Let’s start with a nice gradient in the same color family. All of these colors have other elements, but they have green in common. Darkest to lightest, they’re What Kind of Bird Are You, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, Easy Being Green and Growing Like a Weed.

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If you want to be a bit more adventurous, choose yarns that are not exactly the same color, but that all come from either the warm or cool side of the spectrum. Cool is blues, grays, greens and blue-purples like the group shown above, with the lightest Mistress of Myself, middle Cloud Nine and darkest Great Blue Yonder.

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The warm side of the spectrum includes reds, pinks, red-purples, warm browns, yellows and oranges. You can see that the three colors above don’t exactly have matching base colors, but there are coordinating elements from each (the purple in the middle Fig & Prosciutto shade goes with the darkest shade, Don’t Fence Me In and the pink speckles in the lightest color Moonrise Kingdom echo the pink in the middle shade. The fact that they’re all warm colors makes the color story stronger.

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Here’s a more adventurous palette blending two different dyers’ yarns. These have disparate base colors, but all share elements of warmth.

Play around with your own stash skeins to create gradient warm and cool color stories you’ll enjoy knitting!

Jaala

 

 

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Peekaboo Mitts

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My daughter has been knitting since she made a 3-inch-square doll blanket at the age of six. I love seeing which patterns catch her eye, and which yarns the now-16-year-old chooses. I call her Belle on the blog because she’s social-media shy even though she’s a teenager.

We at Knitcircus think a lot about making things coordinate flawlessly, like with the perfectly-paired Matching Socks Sets, but Belle tapped into a spirit of fun where things aren’t so matchy-matchy. Her lighthearted take on wristwarmers took a Mermaid Lagoon gradient, with three colors of blue on one end, and three colors of green on the other, and used one side for each mitt. She used the  Peekaboo Mitts pattern free on Ravelry, by Spiderwoman Knits, for her armwarmers.

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The version she made used one cake of Ringmaster Worsted yarn. This would work great with any Panoramic Gradient with two main colors like Brass and Steam, April Skies, Beach Glass, Thanks for All the Fish.

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It would look really fun in a really wild Panoramic Gradient like Over the Rainbow; one side would be red, orange and yellow and the other would be green, blue and purple. One the other hand, a Chromatic Gradient would give you a more subtle difference, a light and dark turquoise in Turquoise Pool, for example.

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The Rubik’s Cube travels everywhere with Belle; in any quiet moment, she may pull it out and start rolling the squares around. A favorite school-year pastime is handing it to another student to mess it up and then solving it. Her record is one minute four seconds!

Pattern note: Belle used 50g/approximately 125 yds on each mitt, making them about an inch longer than the original pattern.

 

 

Guest Blog Post: Yarn and Pattern Pairings

Hello, fellow Friends of Knitcircus!  My name is Beth, and I’m a knitter from outside of Portland, OR.  It’s a fiber lover’s paradise here in the Pacific NW, with more than a dozen LYS that participate in our local Yarn Crawl, the same number of independent dyers, and many designers.  Many of the local dyers do gradients, but none of them catch come close to the beautiful skeins that come from Jaala and Knitcircus crew. 

Just as the wand chooses the wizard, I firmly believe that the yarn chooses the pattern.   I don’t claim to be a yarn whisperer, and some yarns are more selective than others.   When I try to knit something other than what the yarn wants, the project just doesn’t work out, and ends up getting frogged.  Along the way, I’ve noticed that many of the Knitcircus yarns appear to have a sense of humor when it comes to selecting their patterns!   Jaala asked me to share some of their ideas with you.

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It started with a skein of Over the Rainbow Gradient Speckle that insisted on becoming the Emerald City Shawl by Shannon Squire.

After that things just took off!  Some of the projects currently lined up in my queue:

A skein of ‘Starry Night’ wants to become the ‘Summer Sky’ shawl by Janina Kallio

Space is Big, Really Big’ wants to be ‘Don’t Panic’ by Monika Evans

‘Mallard’ is insisting on becoming the ‘Dodo’ shawl by Heidi Alexander

‘Evergreen’ is begging to be the ‘Timberline Lodge Shawl’ by Kay Hopkins

‘Toasting Marshmallows’ chose the ‘Flame Keeper Shawl’ by Laurie Beardsley, and

‘Fruit Kabob’ jumped at the sight of the ‘Bosc Pear Shawl’ by Tetiana Otruta.

What does your yarn want to become?

–Beth Root

Jaala’s note: We are thrilled to have Beth write this blog post for us! I just love her inspirations! Many of the colors mentioned are exclusive Yarn Club colors, because she’s that kind of awesome. To see all of the current available colors for your yarn and project ideas, please check out the Knitcircus site.  Happy knitting!

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

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Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy is one of the new Impressionist Speckled Gradients. We are all in love with these gradients with pops of unexpected color throughout.

This new dyeing process started one day when Elizabeth and I had been hanging out at beloved yarn/coffee shop The Sow’s Ear. On the way home I told her about some dyeing experiments I’d been working on and described some of the pitfalls.

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Bug got so excited that she used her finely-honed style sense, picked out the Cancun Boxy Lace Top and knit it up within a week!

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One of the first Speckled Impressionist Gradients was Just Have a Little Faith. You guys know I’m a little obsessed with the TV show Prison Break, with its suspenseful, clever plot and self-sacrificing hero. The grays and blues of the first season begged to be made into a speckled gradient!

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The next one, with its rich greens and blues, had to be an homage to some more favorite characters. You guys loved Frog and Toad as much as we did!

Every time we create a new color of the Speckled Gradients, it generates a lot of excitement in the studio. We’re all trying to get dibs on the yarn first! It’s really fun to knit, because you keep asking, “Which color will this stitch be? How about the next one…”

Happy knitting,

Jaala

 

Favorite Characters from Literature #2: Katie

 

Hello!

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Jaala asked me to say something about myself this week, which is strange for me. My name is Katie, and I love being behind the scenes helping to make things tick.

Every day is something different for me at Knitcircus; today I’m in the office with my puppy curled at my feet but yesterday I was busily dyeing up batches of gorgeous yarn to send to online customers and for us to take to Stitches Midwest.

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Roscoe Likes to Help in the Office

 

What am I doing tomorrow? Who knows?!? When I’m not dyeing yarn or working on the website listings, I am prettifying displays and ordering needles and notions for the Studio Store and at most of our shows working the booth.

At home I am busy raising my son Cole and step-son Jacob with my husband James. We also have two cats, Captain Fitzwilliam von FancyPaws, Fourth Earl of Bigglesworth (Fitz) and Cleo, in addition to our puppy, Roscoe.

I can often be found knitting or crocheting on the couch watching Midsomer Murders or any BBC Masterpiece Classic in the evenings.

Fall Collection Color

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For my Fall Collection literary character I decided on Elinor Dashwood from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

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It’s not that I directly identify with Elinor but I do feel an affinity for her. Elinor is steady, mature, soft-spoken but well-respected, and the rock of her family during a sad and turbulent time.

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Elinor always makes me think of a lighthouse during a storm; strong and steady and still standing after the storm passes.

Aside from my love of English literature, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for anything funny and awesome. So I will leave you with this thought: Go see Ghostbusters.

Fall Yarn Collection: Favorite Book Characters!

As a lifelong reader, I’m almost dizzy with excitement about our new fall yarn collection. Each Knitcircus Crew member gets to pick their favorite book character and we’ll develop a colorway based on each one.

My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird, but I can’t pick just one character from that, since the setting, characters, plot and message are all so masterfully fused into one.

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The problem, of course, is narrowing down our choices to just one favorite character! My top pick will probably be Pippi Longstocking, because she was a huge hero to me growing up. She lived alone, defeated robbers, flipped pancakes, made friends with pirates, bested bullies, thoughtfully entertained her friends, bought candy for every kid in town, and did it all with a huge grin. We had the book pictured above. Note the price!

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Her real name, of course, is

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking.

Thanks to Pippi, our family always referred to math as “pluttification” and sang songs like, “Now we will fry a pankye,” every Sunday morning.

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As a kid, I just loved Pippi’s free-spirited adventures; as a grown woman, I love her independence, resilience, loyalty and positive attitude. She always used her powers for good, even if she didn’t understand drinking tea in polite society. She’s still my hero.

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Here’s author Astrid Lindgren with the actress playing Pippi. I also loved The Children of Noisy Village, based on her own childhood on a Swedish farm.

Another top pick: Anne of Green Gables. Of course! Who could not be won over by Anne’s pluck, imagination and heartfelt desire to be part of a family? But you’ll hear more about Anne from another member of the Knitcircus Crew…

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Tied for third place for me are Ron Weasley and Samwise Gamgee.

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I’ve always had a thing for sidekicks, starting with someone probably nobody knows, Shoie Shoemaker, best friend to The Magnificent Brain, Alvin Fernald. I read all of Clifford B. Hicks’ books  and grew quite fond of the lanky, athletic kid who was always ready for an adventure.

My dad read to my brother and I every night growing up, all the way through my freshman year of high school. We listened raptly to all of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, probably some of my dad’s favorite books. Samwise Gamgee’s loyalty, love and determination totally captured my heart.

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Ron Weasley. Guess I have a thing for loyal guys. And funny guys. And guys who are a little insecure because they grew up poor.

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And big families. A lot of other books I read as a kid featured lots of brothers and sisters instead of just one. The Weasley Twins are also some of my all-time favorite book characters.

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(sorry, I don’t know who to attribute this awesome graphic to)

 

Also, I just found out in the course of this “research” (looking at internet pics of your favorite characters counts as research now, #lovemyjob) that Rupert Grint, the actor who plays Ron, bought an ice cream truck and went around giving away ice cream for free. Since I have a lifelong fascination with ice cream trucks, I also like Rupert Grint now, too. Ice cream trucks, parties, the circus, all of these have always seemed magical to me.

So, these are a few of my favorite things….watch for more from the other Knitcircus Crew members as the September release date gets closer!