Eight Tips for Faded Knits

findyourfade2

Find Your Fade, by Andrea Mowry. Knit by Tracey Cox in Hedgehog Fibres Sock in (l-r) Vengeance, Swam, Pine, Urchin, Bramble, Pleasant, and Raven.

traceyThe rest of the Eat.Sleep.Knit. Kitties and I are busy finding our perfect fades for the second quarter Andrea Mowry Fade-(US)A-Long! I hope you’ll join us.

Learn more about eligible patterns, yardage requirements, deadlines, and other knitalong info on our website.

We put together lots of fades in the shop for customers, both in person and via email. Hundreds, if not thousands, at this point! It’s one of my favorite things to do. I wanted to give you a bit of insight into my methods for putting together a fade that you’ll love!

I don’t have a background in the visual arts–my experience is with yarn! I majored in English in college and writing fiction is my first love. I didn’t really have much self awareness or interest in color until I met my husband, who’s an abstract painter, and started knitting in the same year: 2002. Color suddenly had a practical application for me now and I ran with it! I hope this info can make building fades and other yarn-y color needs a little easier.

What is a fade?

A knitted fade project uses at least two colorways of yarn that melt and blend into one another when knit in a sequence of skinny stripes. It creates a slow, magical color change. Speckled or variegated colorways melt the best, and its common to sometimes ground a project with semisolids at one or both ends.

So, how can I fade?

Below are some hot tips to help you find the fade of your dreams:

hawkfade (1 of 1)

A set for Andrea Mowry’s Comfort Fade Cardigan. Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in (l-r) Cheeky, Monarch, Iris, and Hawk.

  1. Fade with your your favorite colorway. What’s your favorite colorway? Start building a fade with it. I love Hawk from Hedgehog Fibres. This Comfort Fade set in Merino DK pulls colors from Hawk–Graphite, orange, pinky lavender–
  2. Pick skeins with a common color. Look for yarns, with, say, a common dark purple in speckles and covering a larger surface area, and you’ll be surprised what you can blend together.  This is typically my starting point for fades when a customer says, “what can I fade with this skein?” What’s a common vein that can run through this project.

    findyourfade

    Find Your Fade-in Progress. See the stripes?

  3. How melty would you like that? Speckled colorways, as well as traditional variegated colors or kettle dyes, melt into one another more than semisolids or solids, which can stripe. This isn’t bad or good, you just need to know what your preference is when choosing your colors. My first Find your Fade has stripy parts and melty parts, and I love it.  But you should take it into account when planning out your fade. If you have semisolids you absolutely want to include but also love color melting, you can bookend your fade with them, just like Andrea Mowry’s original Find Your Fade colorway set–which fades from Poison, a dark and moody purple/pink, through a number of speckled and variegated colorways and into the golden yellow colorway Pollen.
  4. Learn a bit about color theory. Understanding hue, contrast, saturation, and value give you a language for talking about color. This can make communicating your likes and dislikes easier!  This blog post from TinCanKnits is a helpful primer. Learning about the color wheel and primary, secondary and tertiary colors can be helpful too, especially if you’re stuck in a rut with your color choices. It’s not for everyone–I enjoy picking out colors more instinctively but do turn to the color wheel for advice when I’m stumped. This basic post on Bluprint is an easy place to start!

    SRRFade (1 of 1)

    Spun Right Round’s bright lavender is so cheerful to me! This’d be a pretty three color fade melting into a neutral semisolid in the middle! Spun Right Round 80/20 Sock in (l-r) Euphoria, Pigeon, Half a World Away.

  5. Pick a mood. Fades can be subtle, dramatic, or somewhere in between. If you want something cheerful, go for saturated midtones that fade to lighter tones. If you’d like something dark and broody (always my favorite) go for saturated, dark colors.CampDavidSunset

    sunsetfade (1 of 1)

    This photo, a sunset over Big Lake in Princeton, Maine, taken by my husband, has always meant home to me! Madelinetosh Merino Light in (l-r) Eleven Dark, Mindful, Dark Roast, Warm Woolen Mittens, Firewood, Bicoastal, The Fox.

  6. Work from a photo. Starting with a photo you’re attracted to is a much easier starting point than a blank canvas.  lI ove The Fox, ESKs exclusive Madelinetosh colorway, to distraction and have already knit Socks and a big sweater out of it but I can’t get enough! I built my Sunset fade (above) around this perfect burnt orange, finding colorways that included my favorite orange and faded to the dark purple in the photo. comfortfadeyarns

    ComfortFadeSwatch (1 of 1)

    My Comfort Fade Cardigan Swatch!

  7. Don’t be afraid to mix bases! I know, it’s not for everyone.. If you’re concerned about texture, swatch! The swatch shown above includes 6 different yarn bases (held double with marling in addition to fading) for my Comfort Fade that I’m plotting for the Q2 KAL, and I love it! To start, I stick with the same type of yarn construction when possible unless I’m looking for texture as a design element, like in my Comfort Fade. Base mixing gives you so many more color options for building fades, too. Start out with the basics. If you love beady 2 ply sock yarns, mix Spun Right Round 80/20 Sock, Lola Bean Bean Sprout, Madelinetosh Sock, and Claudia Addiction. Now you have the power of nearly 400 colors available to you!
  8. Ask for help! We’re so happy to help you with your fade in the shop. You’ll get the input of multiple voices as fades are pulled together in the retail shop. Just email us at eatsleepknit@eatsleepknit.com with your ideas and we’ll help you find your perfect fade!

2015 – The First Quarter Begins

Okay, I think we’re all squared away over here and ready to really kick off the Q1 of Yarnathon 2015! If you haven’t seen already, we’ve got new mascots, new knit-a-longs, and a whole new Booster Club this year, along with a helpful (we hope!) addition to your account page that lets you submit your projects and track your Yarnathon progress. And don’t forget to check out your team thread on Ravelry!

We know the Booster Club is a big change and can be pretty overwhelming at first. We hope the Booster Club page explains everything well, but there are so many badges! So many possible prizes! We recommend starting simple – just knit, and chat with your teammates on Ravelry about what you’re knitting, and one of our helpful elves will be letting you know you just earned a badge before you know it. Most of the badges are for things most of us will probably do throughout the year anyway – they’re just for fun, and to give you some extra prize options aside from yardage and store credit (though you can earn those too).

The only real change we’ve made to knit-a-longs this year (and crochet counts too! It just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well.) is that you’ll be able to participate in any knit-a-long all year long, rather than being restricted to a particular one each quarter. We’ve also added more options to the knit-a-longs in the hopes that everyone can find at least a few that suit your skill levels and crafting plans.

Since there are so many more knit-a-longs, we’ll focus on three each quarter as a shop, but please craft away in the others as you see fit! The first three knit-a-longs will be:

KAL #1: Colorwork! You chose the patterns for this one in the Ravelry group last year – your options are: Fightin’ Words, fingerless mitts with attitude; Roosimine Socks, which use a weaving method to create the colorwork; Stitch Block Cowl, a two-color worsted weight cowl that uses some neat tricks to accomplish the colorwork look; Color Infusion, a reversible three-color fingering weight cowl; or the Pixelated Pullover, a top-down gradient-style sweater for the truly adventurous. Prize: 250 yards for mitts or socks, 500 yards for the cowls, 1000 yards for our intrepid Pixelated Pullover. Moderated by the effervescent Emily Nan, who will fearlessly lead you down the path she herself has never been down before.

KAL #2: Headgear.  Hats, headbands, ear muffs, SNOODS! If it goes on your head, it works here. Check the Ravelry thread for some staff favorites. Minimum yardage: 50 yards. Prize: 250 yards. Moderated by Emily L, who believes one can really never have too many hats.

KAL #3: Shawls. Big or small, we love them all. Stockinette or miles of lace, stripes or solids or variegated pretties, there are so many variations on the shawl and we look forward to seeing yours. Minimum yardage for this one is 250 yards. Prize: 500 yards for shawls using 250-650 yards, 1000 yards for shawls using more than 650 yards. Moderated by our resident high priestess of shawls, Janine.

General Guidelines for ALL knit-and-crochet-a-longs:
*Projects should be completed entirely from yarn originating from Eat.Sleep.Knit. Exceptions are small embellishments like embroidered faces.
*While any knit-a-long can be completed at any time during the year, all projects should be started and completed during 2015.
*Each project can only earn a prize for one knit-a-long, i.e. you’ll need at least one project per knit-a-long you participate in.
*For knit-a-longs with specific yardage requirements or levels, you can combine multiple projects to meet the yardage requirements. For pattern-specific knit-a-longs, if you knit two patterns we’ll credit you for the one with the most yardage.
*Each Yarnathoner is only eligible for one prize per knit-a-long, so if you want to knit two things from the same knit-a-long you’ll just receive the one yardage credit (but have two fun projects to show for it!).
*You can submit your completed projects on our website via your (new!) Yarnathon dashboard. We’ll be reviewing submissions as they arrive, but please allow 1-2 weeks to receive your credits!

And, I think that’s just about it! Oh, trivia! Trivia started back up this week – you can find your first question here.

2015 Knitalongs

For this year’s Yarnathon, you’ve got your pick of twelve different knit-and-crochet-a-longs to play along with your teammates and your favorite ESK staffers! We’ll put our focus on three each quarter, but you can start, finish, or join in to any of these any time you like. Choose one, four, or all of them – it’s entirely up to you, and there is sure to be something for every crafter. You can earn anywhere from 250 yards all the way up to a whopping 9,000 yards to your individual Yarnathon total. Details below!

1. Colorwork. For this knit-a-long, you’ve got your choice of five patterns chosen by popular vote on Ravelry in December. Your options are: Fightin’ Words, fingerless mitts with attitude; Roosimine Socks, which use a weaving method to create the colorwork; Stitch Block Cowl, a two-color worsted weight cowl that uses some neat tricks to accomplish the colorwork look; Color Infusion, a reversible three-color fingering weight cowl; or the Pixelated Pullover, a top-down gradient-style sweater for the truly adventurous. Prize: 250 yards for mitts or socks, 500 yards for the cowls, 1000 yards for our intrepid Pixelated Pullover knitters.

2. Headgear. Hats, headbands, ear muffs, SNOODS! If it goes on your head, it works here. Check the Ravelry thread for some staff favorites. Minimum yardage: 50 yards. Prize: 250 yards.

3. Shawls. Big or small, we love them all. Stockinette or miles of lace, stripes or solids or variegated pretties, there are so many variations on the shawl and we look forward to seeing yours. Minimum yardage for this one is 250 yards. Prize: 500 yards for shawls using 250-650 yards, 1000 yards for shawls using more than 650 yards.

4. Hitofude Cardigan. C’mon, you know you want to. It’s been at the top of the popular Ravelry patterns for months, and we have to know what the fuss is about. This masterful lace cardigan is worked all in one piece in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light or a comparable yarn like Mrs. Crosby’s Satchel, Dream In Color’s Jilly, or Manos del Uruguay’s Fino, and together, we can do it! Prize: 1000 yards.

5. No Sleeves! Another peoples’ choice selection, you’ve got three pattern options for this one which we hope cover as many possible body and style types as possible (we know sleeveless can be such a touchy area!). Your options are: Mereweather, a fitted patterned top that works equally well as a tank or a vest on every body type; Beekeeper’s Tank, a free-flowing style summer-y tank; and Hane, a choose-your-own-sleeveless-adventure with six different sleeve/armhole options varying from basic tee to avant garde. Prize: 500 yards.

6. Mitered Squares. Maybe we’re just big knit nerds, but we love mitered squares and their endless possibilities. Most commonly these are knit in garter stitch and turned into blankets, but they can really become anything from scarves to tunics to felted bags and more, and you can even crochet them! Minimum yardage: 150 yards. Prize: 250 yards for projects using 150-300 yards, 500 yards for projects using 301-650 yards, 1000 yards for projects using more than 650 yards.

7. Socks. AKA, fill your boots! We’ve got some fabulous sock pattern options for you to choose from. Select worsted weight socks for a quick, hearty knit: Laule’a, Unicorn Socks or Sweetheart Socks. Or, some fingering weight socks: Bayerische, Hermione’s Everyday Socks, or Cadence Socks. Prize: 250 yards for worsted weight socks, 500 yards for fingering weight socks.

8. New-To-You. Yep, it’s baaaaack! This knit-a-long was just so very much fun last year, we’re going for round two. This is the time to try that thing you’ve been afraid of or meaning to get around to – lace, cables, colorwork, brioche. Some clarification – by new technique, we mean technique, so, new to crocheting? That counts. First time with cables? Totally counts. Never knit magic loop or two-at-a-time or on circulars? Counts! Unfortunately, it being the first time you’ve knit exactly 264 yards of blue yarn into this particular pattern would…be a good project for one of the other 11 knit-a-longs. Please don’t hesitate to ask us if you’re not sure. Minimum yardage for this one is 150 yards. Prize: 250 yards for projects using 150-300 yards, 500 yards for projects using 301-650 yards, 1000 yards for projects using more than 650 yards.

9. Sweater Free-for-all. Because we all need a sweater. Cardigan, pullover, short, long, stripes, cables, however you like it! You’ll need to start and complete an adult-sized sweater for this knit-a-long (and if we’re being honest, we’d love to see you knit it for yourself, deserving knitter that you are). Check the Ravelry thread for about a thousand of our staff favorites. Prize: 1000 yards.

10. Selfless Knits. These are your gift knits, your labors of love for children, pets, partners, and co-workers, your charity knitting, your holiday knitting – a knit-a-long to honor the time you’re spending on others. Minimum yardage for this one is 200 yards and yes you can combine multiple projects for a total yardage. Prize: 250 yards for projects using 200-300 yards, 500 yards for projects using 301-650 yards, 1000 yards for projects using more than 650 yards.

11. Felting. It’s, well, it’s felting! The magical act of intentionally ruining your knitting to make it into something somehow even cooler. Now is the perfect time to finally try out French Press Felted Slippers (and there’s even a crochet version) or a Booga Bag or even these fun scrappy oven mitts. Projects should be all or primarily felting to be eligible for prizes. Minimum yardage is 150 yards. Prize: 250 yards

12. Chunky Knits. They’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re so often overlooked. Chunky lace sweaters like Road to Gimmerton are some of our favorites as you can often knit a great little sweater with just a few hundred yards and a little spare time! And of course chunky yarn makes great winter accessories. For this knit-a-long, any chunky, bulky, or super bulky projects count, minimum yardage is 125 yards. Prize: 250 yards for projects using 125-250 yards, 500 yards for projects using more than 250 yards.

General Guidelines for ALL knit-and-crochet-a-longs:
*Projects should be completed entirely from yarn originating from Eat.Sleep.Knit. Exceptions are small embellishments like embroidered faces.
*While any knit-a-long can be completed at any time during the year, all projects should be started and completed during 2015.
*Each project can only earn a prize for one knit-a-long, i.e. you’ll need at least one project per knit-a-long you participate in.
*For knit-a-longs with specific yardage requirements or levels, you can combine multiple projects to meet the yardage requirements.
*Each Yarnathoner is only eligible for one prize per knit-a-long, so if you want to knit two things from the same knit-a-long you’ll just receive the one yardage credit (but have two fun projects to show for it!).

*You can submit your completed projects on our website via your (new!) Yarnathon dashboard. We’ll be reviewing submissions as they arrive, but please allow 1-2 weeks to receive your credits!

Team Mascots KAL Prizes

Just a quickie today, since last week’s trivia answer was (I hope!) quite obvious (if you are still wondering, yup, the answer is never!).*

A couple of you have mentioned on Ravelry about the prizes for this quarter’s KAL, and I will admit that for a second I was all, “duh, I already posted that,” except, guess what, I didn’t! Sorry ladies, I totally flaked and thought this was posted with the original post.

So, yes, each person who completes a team mascot KAL project this quarter will receive 1000 yards towards their individual total (limit one award per person). There is also a team prize – the team with the most members who knit a mascot project will get two additional virtual finishers to contribute towards their end of year totals (the Stitchosaurs won this prize in the first quarterly challenge).

And, a secret bonus prize – anyone who completes a qualifying KAL project for all four team mascots (so, a monkey, an octopus, a robot, *and* a dinosaur project) will get a special treat from us in the mail just for being awesome. And before you ask, yes, if you find a way to incorporate all four mascots into one project, I will count that because, frankly, that sounds amazing.

If you’re already ready to submit your project, I’ve gone ahead and opened the submission spreadsheet, but you have until June 30th to submit!

*I also wanted to just mention that some of your responses did crack me up a little bit, because some of you phrase it so it sounds like some kind of gang! Things like, “once you’re in, you’re in it for life” – sounds almost threatening! You will love your 10K club or else!

Q2 Customer Project Gallery

This week’s inspiration comes from our favorite place – you! As your Q2 Team Spirit knit-a-long projects are being posted, we are reminded again about what a fun and creative group of customers we have.

Octopurl slippinginbetween knit this fabulous three-dimensional, sparkly coffee holder:

slipping-octo

 

And our Roboknits are representing with some adorable new friends. SlipZip knit Stashy in the appropriately-named Lorna’s Laces colorway, Robot Overlord:

slipzip-stashy

 

And we think he and eatmyoxygen’s cutie Bot Byte might become new friends:

eatmyoxygen-botbyteStitchosaur Maryzona had an idea so great we wish we’d thought of it – using the outline from our free Stitchosaurs chart, she created a single-color beaded version and turned it into a wine cozy!

maryzona-coozyFiber Monkey Jubbers is another Yarnathoner with a creative streak – she knit up the Fiber Monkey’s team mascot chart and sewed it onto a tote bag! So great!

jubbers-monkeybagStitchosaur lallantonio knit up this friendly stuffed brontosaurus for her team project – we love the stripes!

lallan-boogie

Still needing some inspiration? Octopurl widha decided to tackle a new technique at the same time and chose these stunning colorwork octopus mittens for her Q2 project, aren’t they great? And I can’t believe this her first stranding project!

widha-octomittsLooking forward to seeing more and more of your projects as the quarter continues!

 

 

 

 

Trivia #10 and Q1 Knit-a-long Submissions

As nearly all of you discovered last week, the Yarnathon was born in 2008 (the last week of February, if we’re being specific), a bit less than 6 months after we opened our doors. It was inspired by, of all things, a “beer around the world” club one of our local restaurants does, where they reward customers with T-shirts, hats, and of course, free beer, for trying different beers within a week, month, or year. While the Yarnathon turned into something entirely different (and definitely non-alcoholic!), the idea behind it really remains remarkably similar – a frequent buying program that celebrates the customer!

That wraps up our trivia game for this quarter, but never fear, a new batch of ten questions will resume the first Monday of April!

So, the time has come to start admiring all your awe-inspiring knit-a-long projects! If you haven’t yet, start by uploading your project to Ravelry and tagging it with the tag “q1-new-to-you” and your team’s tag, so we can all look at the wonderful projects that have come out of this event! On the 31st, we’ll open a voting thread so everyone can vote for their favorite projects, but in the mean time you can get started submitting your projects to us!

The Google Form has been working so well for everyone that it seems like a good way to submit your projects for us to credit. So, you can officially submit your Q1 knit-a-long projects here! All Yarnathoners who complete(d) at least one eligible project will receive 1000 virtual yards toward his or her individual Yarnathon totals. The team with the most participants who complete an eligible project will also receive two virtual “finishers/medalists” towards their team totals at the end of the year!

To be eligible, projects must be:

  • Started on or after January 1, 2014
  • Finished on or before March 31, 2014
  • Completed using only yarn from Eat Sleep Knit
  • Uploaded to Ravelry and tagged with knit-a-long tag “q1-new-to-you” as well as your team’s tag (“fibermonkeys”, “octopurls”, “roboknits” or “stitchosaurs”). Let us know if you have a special circumstance that prevents you from uploading to Rav by e-mailing customer service.

Don’t have a project yet? There are still two weeks left, plenty of time for a small project experimenting with colorwork, brioche stitch, entrelac, a new type of needle or cast-off/on, and so much more!

Friday Five – Steeks!

Have you picked your project from the first quarter “New to You” knit-a-long yet? At first, I had a hard time thinking of a technique I hadn’t at least tried, but then I remembered **steeking**. I always say there’s nothing to be scared of about knitting, it’s only yarn after all, but steeking? Steeking scares me a little bit. It wouldn’t be quite so bad were it not for the fact that most steeked projects are elaborate colorwork projects worked at a fine gauge and if that goes awry, well, you could have just destroyed months of lovely knitting. There would be tears.

So, I’m doing it – steeking. (Go Team Fiber Monkeys!) Turns out, there are a lot of incredible steeking projects that aren’t quite as elaborate lest things take a bad turn, and I had a hard time deciding! If you’re thinking of steeks, maybe you can use some of my research.

aesa

The Aesa Pullover is kind of amazing. I want to make it; I maybe even want to make a cardigan-ized version, but I’m not sure I can pull this off in 3 months, and I’m not sure what yarn I’d want to use. I’m thinking this might be my second (or third) steeking project, but it’s in my queue for sure.

tess

On the other end of the spectrum is Tess – a completely reasonable project for three months, but still a lovely stranded little project. And it calls for one of my favorite yarns (Shibui Staccato). And I do kind of need a new pair of slipper socks.

snowflake

I briefly considered the Baby Snowflakes blanket, but figured by the time it is done, it will be warm out and my baby will no longer be much of a baby so another one is saved for later. I was encouraged that this one called for Cephalopod’s Skinny Bugga, however – since you read so many people saying you absolutely can’t steek with a superwash yarn, clearly, you can! But I think you probably have to be a lot more careful about reinforcing things.

angrysheep

Angry Sheep Cardigan! Does this even need an explanation? I alllllllmost picked this one.

pod

But then I found this one, and Levi needs a Pod of Cetaceans for sure. I’m knitting mine in Yarn Love’s (non-superwash!) Anne Shirley in Storm, Steel Blue, Whisper, and Arabian Nights. I decided to go for gold and knit the sleeves two-at-a-time, bringing two new techniques to one adorable project!

What’s your “New to You” project going to be?