How to find a fade

There are so many beautiful projects out there at the moment that call for a fade. From the original Find Your Fade Shawl and So Faded by Andrea Mowry to Fading Point by Joji Locatelli, there are loads of options, ideas and inspriations. But what is a fade, and how do you choose your yarns?!

First off, what is a fade? A fade in the knitting sense is a set of at least 3 skeins of yarn, each in a different colour. The colours should compliment each other and move from one to each other. They can be all in the same colour family from light to dark, or they can move drastically between a few colours. The more yarns you use the more options you have to move between colours.

Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry

Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry

Choosing your colours is arguably the hardest part, but here are a few ideas to help get you started. First off seeing the colours together in person can help tremendously to see how they move from one to the next. Secondly, yarns with lots of speckles leave a lot of options to move between colours as you can match the speckles as well as the main colours of the yarns. Brands such as Hedgehog Fibres and Garnsurr are a great place to start for this. Thirdly, don’t be afraid to go crazy! Sometimes an unexpected colour in the middle of a fade can really make the difference to tie the whole colour scheme together.

It can be hard to find enough colours that work together in one brand, so don’t feel committed to one single one. Especially when it comes to shawls there is a lot of flexibility to combine different brands and even bases to get the colours that you like best. As most fade patterns work with bands of textured stitches, the difference in texture can compliment and even highlight the bands. Just make sure that the yarns are of similar enough thickness and that they match the method of care you want for the finished piece, ie if you want it to be machine washable don’t use one yarn that needs hand washing. Other than that the world is your oyster!

We have recently had some customers ask for our help in choosing a fade for their project as they aren’t able to come into the shop themselves. Feel free to give us a call if you find yourself in a similar position, we are happy to put together a few options and send over pictures to help you decide!

Below we have included a few pictures of fades that we have put together for customers to help give you some ideas. All of these fades use yarns from a few different companies, mostly Hedgehog Fibres, Garnsurr, Fyberspates and Socks Yeah!. The colours used in each one are listed below each photo.

red-fade

Top Down:  Citrine, Frevil, Fonne Bered, Gryteflaks #13, Gryteflaks #18, Almandine and Pheasant

Socks Yeah! Citrine, Garnsurr Sokke Merino Frevil, Fonne Bered, Gryteflaks #13 and Gryteflaks #18, Socks Yeah! Almandine, and Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock Pheasant

grey-fade

Top Down: Gryteflaks #10, Method, Heavenly, Frost, Pesto, Risgard and Lundy Island

Garnsurr Sokke Merino Gryteflaks #10 and Risgard, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock Method and Pesto, Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply Heavenly and Lundy Island, and Qing Fibre High Twist BFL Frost.

dark-fade

Top Down: Tweed Imps, Spiced Plum, Gryteflaks #18, Monarch, Ortle Mihifar, Fonne Bered and Gryteflaks #10.

Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply Tweed Imps and Spiced Plum, Garnsurr Sokke Merino Gryteflaks #18, Ortle Mihifar, Fonne Bered and Gryteflaks #10, and Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock Monarch.

Which one is your favourite?

What George Knits – Knitting with Nature

We have a lovely selection of natural dye products, books and yarn in store at Knit with Attitude and this has inspired some natural dying of my own.

I can’t recommend highly enough the two books we stock on natural dying. These make great go to resources on the magic of nature and the variety of colours at your fingertips. The two books we have are ‘The Modern Natural Dyer’ by Kristine Vejar and ‘Botanical Colour at your Fingertips’ by Rebecca Desnos. Not only are these books so stunningly beautiful, but they present themselves in a easy to follow way. Everyone should have a go!

My first attempt at dying was to dye yarn. I chose an un-dyed merino as my base, but any un-dyed yarn we have in store will work for you. Like the white Knit by Numbers KBN55 or the undyed Purl Alpaca Fine and Medium yarns. It does however help if the yarn is in a skein, as this allows the dye to move around the fibre more easily, resulting in a more even colour. Though turning a ball of yarn into a skein can be done by winding it around the back of a dining chair for example, then tying it in places so it doesn’t tangle, then sliding it off. Also to note as I found out later, different yarns can effect the colour, so I would try all sorts.

I dipped in and out of both books for my first attempt, choosing the scouring and mordanting techniques of Kristine Vejar, I prepared my yarn. With that done I flicked through the Rebecca Desnos book for plant inspiration. Botanical Colour at your Finger tips is more of a guide book, where as with the Modern Natural Dyer you learn through fun little projects. So
depending on the way you learn either could work for you.

03

02

For my first dye I decided on using stinging nettles, hoping for a wonderful grassy green. So off I went, armed with some thick gardening gloves and a large plastic bag. I popped to my local woods, where they grow plentifully along the sides of the pathways. I will say as Rebecca Desnos points out, be mindful when foraging, collect weeds and invasive species
first and not in the same area, to not destroy the habitats of the wildlife that live there. Walking around the woods like a madman I collected my nettles and with my bag full and only being stung once, I headed home. With an old pan bought from a charity shop specially for the job, I boiled up my leaves. One thing I will say, boiling nettles does smell very appetising. The whole flat smelt very strongly of nettle tea.

01

04

When strained of the plant matter, I was left with a pot of what looked like a pan of overly stewed brown watery tea. Not disheartened I carried on and in went my prepared yarn. The whole process is like alchemy or witchcraft and I left my yarn bubbling away in its nettle broth. When the allotted time was up I pulled it out and guess what it was green! All be it a very pale shade of green. But it was my green, my first naturally dyed yarn. Its a great feeling having created something that is unique to you and unique to your surroundings. Its from the earth, its nature.

05

As you could well imagine I was excited to knit it up straight away. I chose the Arvia Shawl from Amirisu 13 which champions natural colour and has some interesting articles worth a read.

Intrigued by the dying process and how it might react to different fibres I tried another dye. This time oak galls, which I read historically were used to create inks. So the potential for a dark moody colour really got me excited.

0706Back to the woods I head and like a pig rooting around for truffles, I scour the forest floor for the deformed acorns that are caused by the gall wasp. These boiled up with an intriguing woody smell and the dye pot looked as dark as can be. All good so far. I sieved out the galls and popped in un-dyed merino, a new wool and some mohair and waited for the
results. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a dark brown but got an olive green with subtlety different shades over the different fibres. The Modern Natural Dyer has a project where you make a shawl out of dyed different fibres and you learn through the process. A pattern for me to try in the future I think.

08

My latest dying attempt and actually what hooked me into The Modern Natural Dyer book, wasn’t a project to dye yarn but to dye fabric. Kristine Vejar takes you through all the steps you need. I chose a natural piece of fabric and prepared it to her instructions. Then went rummaging around my garden for any brightly coloured flowers I could find, luckily I went a
bit overboard with the flower beds this year so there were plenty to choose from. If you don’t have a garden, try a brightly coloured bunch of flowers from the shop. Certain flowers work better than others but its worth a try. I may plant more dye heavy flowers next year as a result of this, like cosmos and marigolds.

09

Boiling up my flowery bundle and then unravelling my finished fabric was pure joy. Some flowers took and some didn’t but the result was beautiful. Like a watercolour painting or an ink blot test. Definitely one to try again.

11

10

If you fancy having a go at dying yourself we also have natural dying kits by Hey Mama Wolf. These have the materials you need to dye fabric or yarn with dried flowers and plants at home. If natural dying doesn’t appeal to you and you love the natural look of plant dyed fibres then try the Hey Mama Wolf sock yarn we stock. They are hand dyed with a dreamy
selection of natural materials. As a result they have a range of colours that are gentle and pleasing to the eye as the natural environment they came from.

Interview with Layla from Qing Fibre

We have been so enjoying having Qing Fibre in the shop this summer, the bright colours are so much fun! It’s been flying off the shelves and onto everyone’s needles, but we recently got a restock and some new colourways in. We asked Layla, the brains and head dyer at Qing Fibre to answer a few questions that we have about her inspiration and of course, all about her beautiful yarn!

Qing-Fibre-2
How long have you been knitting?

My grandma was very good at knitting/crocheting and sewing, so I guess I was inspired by her since I was a little girl. I started crocheting and knitting in 2012 and I found peace by doing these crafts. It helped me to get through many difficulties.

What inspired you to get into dying?
I studied art design at university and so I can do some painting. I taught myself how to dye yarn in 2016 and started Qing Fibre. It’s my happy place to try different methods to paint colours on yarn. And I feel so much joy watching people knit with them.

Qing-Fibre-3
 You are originally from China, do you find that there is a different colour aesthetic in Asia than in Europe? Does this influence your dying? 
In China people love red, yellow and some vintage colours. But I myself am a little bit different, I’m a neon lover. I also love all the happy colourful colours and antique colours. I sometimes translate some classic old Chinese colours into my kind of colours.
 Qing-Fibre-4Are there any knitters in the community that inspire you?
There are so many great designers that have inspired me, I love Joji Knits, Junko Okamoto, Hansigurumi, and Stephen West is the King of knitters! I love all the fun and colourful designs from him. Sometimes I dye a new colourway just for a West Knits project. So he is truly my inspiration.

Qing-Fibre-1
 How do you develop a new colour way? Do you start with a specific combination in mind, or is it a happy accident? 

I’ll start with a combination in mind and also just dye it sometimes. I find interesting colour combos in everything and I’m eager to try them in the future.

Qing-Fibre-5
 What’s currently on your needles?
Currently I’m knitting the Marled Magic Shawl, a So Faded Sweater and am trying to knit something without a pattern. I’m also going to knit one of the sweater designs from Junko.

Qing-Fibre-6
Thanks so much Layla! You can see the Qing Fibre yarns we currently have in stock on the website or in the shop. For more yarn inspiration you can follow Layla on Instagram, which is where all these photos are from.

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 1 – Re-Issue of Summer 2012

issue1_newcover-1 As a part of Pom Pom Quarterly’s 5 year birthday celebrations, they have re-issued their first ever issue with all new photography and a bonus pattern! It’s so lovely to have this early issue in the shop, and we’ve been enjoying seeing all the patterns in a new light. As always we thought that we would do our yarn pairings for this issue.

Kipper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 First up is Kipper, an otherwise basic sock pattern with a textural detail on the cuffs and across the toes. The texture pattern makes it perfect for solid and semi solid yarns, such as Vivacious 4ply or Socks Yeah! 4ply.

Netherton-Cardigan-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 Originally Lydia Gluck’s Netherton was published as a cardigan, and it’s been republished here as both a cardigan and a pullover for the new issue. The cardigan has had a bit of a style revamp, and the additional pullover is the perfect classic sweater that we just can’t wait to knit ourselves! Knit in a DK weight yarn, there are countless options to make it in for a different look. Our current favourites would have to be John Arbon Knit By Numbers, or Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK for something really lush. Netherton-Jumper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly.-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017

Overbury-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint.-Summer-2017 Next up is Overbury by Lydia Gluck, a perfect pair of flip top mittens. These fingering weight mittens have a short thumb, and the flip top secures with a loop at the top to a button at the wrist. There is a textured stitch in the ribbing at the cuffs. We love the idea of a plain wool like Cumbria for these for a classic look.

Skipworth-by-Meghan-Fernandes.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint This issue is great for accessories, and Skipworth by Meghan Fernandes is the second pair of fingerless mitts in the issue. These are knit in garter stitch which really holds in the air for a cozy extra warm feel. The garter stitch really sings in a crisp semi solid yarn like Vivacious DK. They would be perfect to keep in your pockets for those surprise chilly evenings!

Wicklane-by-Meghan-Fernandes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-ReprintLast but not least is Wick Lane, a lace shawl designed by Meghan Fernandes. This classic triangle shawl has an all over eyelet lace pattern with a deep rib and lace pattern that ends in crisp points. This pattern would sing in a yarn like Scrumptious 4ply with its wool/silk blend.

Which pattern is your favourite?

 

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 21 – Summer 2017

Can you believe that it’s been 5 years of Pom Pom Quarterly?! This issue 21 marks the 5 year anniversary of the independent East London publication, and we couldn’t be more pleased for them! They have loads of celebrations planned for the year, with lots of announcements still on their way, we can’t wait to hear about them all!

Their first celebration is of course Issue 21 – the summer issue! This jam packed with 16 patterns, more than ever before. Also a first for Pom Pom, this issue has 2 different covers,  both with rose gold foil detail.

Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Two-Cover

As usual we have paired up each project with a yarn you can find at Knit With Attitude. Pom Pom have their customary KAL running in their Ravelry group, and this time of course there are more prizes than ever if you want to join in with something from this issue or any past issue.

Anniversaire-by-Veera-Valimaki-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

We love the names for the patterns in this issue, they are all different words for celebrations. First up is Anniversaire, an all over cabled sweater by Veera Välimäki, knit in a DK weight. The cables on the body are asymmetrical leaving it a modern and interesting look. We love the idea of knitting it in a lush handdyed yarn like Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK, or something more simple like John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers.

Bash-by-Linda-Dubec-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bash is one of three colourwork hats in the issue, this one designed by Linda Dubec. It’s knit up in three colours of The Fibre Co’s Cumbria Fingering, a lovely blend of British wools. So many colour options to choose from! It would be fun to pick 2 neutrals and a bright pop colour, or all brights. The skeins are 100g and you wouldn’t need all of them, so there would probably be the possibility of knitting an extra hat if you swapped the colours around. The little pops of colour would be a brilliant use of leftovers as well.

Bon-Bon-by-Joji-Locatelli-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bon Bon by Joji Locatelli is a pair of fingerless mittens with a lace textured panel and playful pompoms on the back of the hands. This pattern suits so many of our woolly DK weight yarns like Blacker Swan.

Boum-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Boum, by Kiyomi Burgin is a sleeveless tank, perfect for popping on with jeans or a skirt. The shape is simple and timeless, but the stripes make it playful and give lots of room for personalization. For summer wear, a drapey yarn like Stollen Stitches Nua with it’s merino, linen and yak blend would suit well.

Ceilidh-by-Julia-Farwell-Clay-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Ceilidh by Julia Farwell-Clay is an all season pullover sweater, knit in a cozy DK/worsted weight yarn. For a warm outerwear sweater this would be great for winter knit up in Léttlopi, or for a more warm weather version choose a cotton/wool blend like Spud and Chloë Sweater. 

CoopKnits

Next up is Festoon, a pair of socks by Rachel Coopey knit up in her own yarn, Socks Yeah! We love this yarn so much, so we love seeing even more inspiration for using it. It’s perfect for socks like this, with the subtle heathering in many of the colours you get visual interest without loosing any patterning and texture.

Fete by Bristol Ivy

Fête by Bristol Ivy is another pullover sweater, with a colourwork patterned collar. The contrast colour is repeated in stripes at the cuffs and hem. A simple yarn like Excelana 4ply lets the design shine through.

Hoopla-by-Dianna-Walla-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Hoopla is the second hat in the issue, designed by Dianna Walla. This Scandi inspired colourwork hat would be quick to knit up in a thicker weight like Vivacious DK and has a lot of unisex appeal.

Jamboree-by-Francesca-Hughes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Jamboree is a fine gauge sweater with an allover lace and stripes pattern that looks light as a feather. The sweater uses 3 shades together. It is knit side to side for a twist on construction and to keep the vertical stripes. We love the Purl Alpaca Fine for an all neutrals option, but for a pop of colour look no further than mix and matching with Blue Sky Fibers Baby Alpaca Sport. We think the 2 yarns would work together brilliantly.

Knees-Up-by-Juju-Vail.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Knees-Up is an answer to the UK’s difficult relationship with summer. It’s not always very warm, but you do want to wear those summer dresses, but no tights. So these legwarmer/knee-high socks are the solution! They are the perfect use of the 2 weights of Socks Yeah! in 4ply and DK.

Rave-by-Alexa-Ludeman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The design duo of Tincanknits are always favourites here at the shop, and their Rave scarf is what we’ve come to expect from them. It is simple in construction, but with modern details and visual interest that keeps a knitters attention. The combination of garter stitch and cables make for another pattern that would appeal to all ages and genders. With lots of colours in Spud and Chloë Sweater, there is something for everyone.

Sevilla-by-Thea-Colman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Sevilla by Thea Coleman is a great summer wrap, and the delicate lace makes it attractive for casual and formal events. A wool/silk blend like Findley DK adds even more to the lush look of the wrap.

Shindig-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Shindig is a shawl from Sachiko Burgin in 2 colours of a wool silk blend with a striped body and lace edging. Can’t you just imagine wrapping up in a shawl of Manos Silk Blend DK?

Soiree-by-Emily-Foden-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Cropped sweaters seem to be everywhere this summer, so Soirée by Emily Foden is right on trend. This pullover with cables running up the sides combines a 4ply wool and a mohair for a subtle fabric that softens the cables and stitches. A combination of Tamar and Sweet Georgia Silk Mist would be just divine.

Sparklers-by-Fiona-Alice-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The last hat of the issue is Sparklers by Fiona Alice. This hat is knit in two colours of Kettle Yarn Co.’s lush merino/silk/yak blend Beyul, and there’s enough in the skeins to knit 2 hats if the second one has the reversed colours.

Zazie-by-Anna-Maltz.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Last but not least, Zazie by Anna Maltz is one of our favourites from the issue! This zig zag pattern has texture that you just want to wrap up in, and the colour combinations would be endless! How delicious would it be in 2 colours of Scrumptious Aran!

Which pattern is your favourite?

What Natalie Knits: Homeward Bound Shawl

So way back in September I had to head back to Canada again to apply for a new visa to stay in the UK. This was a relatively straight forward process, but had to be done from Canada and required an uncertain amount of time away from my new home in England and my partner. Before I left Maya suggested a collaboration with the shop to design a shawl to sell as kits when I got back. We picked out some yarn and I knit it up while I was in Toronto for 7 weeks waiting for my application to be approved.

homeward-natalieSince then we had difficulty getting our original choice of yarn back in stock, so the launch got delayed, and delayed and delayed while we waited to hear back from our supplier. It was not unlike waiting for my visa! Finally in March we decided that the best course of action would be to change yarns completely for the kits, which would mean a full pattern re-knit. Again I grabbed my needles and got cracking! This time we picked a yarn that we knew we could get in easily and where we had a more personal relationship with it’s makers, Socks Yeah! by Rachel Coopey and Fyberspates.

homeward-detail2 The resulting design is Homeward Bound, a triangular shawl knit from side to side with a bold geometric pattern using garter stitch intarsia. I have recently become enamoured with the potential of garter stitch intarsia, especially with creating these fun modern shapes. The triangles were inspired by the traditional quilt block pattern called Flying Geese, so named as it reflects the shapes of migrating birds. The name for the pattern comes from both the Flying Geese and that I knit it while waiting to return home. It uses 4 colours of 4ply yarn, with the pattern calling for Socks Yeah! It would also be a great way to use up leftover yarn, with each section in a different colour.

homeward-detail1The pattern is now available on Ravelry to purchase, and we have 3 different colour combinations available in the shop for kits. The original combination is Beach, and there is Berries and Forest as well.

We have loved the response for the pattern over the weekend, so we have decided to do a knit-a-long. It will run on Instagram from Friday May 5th to Monday the 19th of June. Any post of your Homeward Bound Shawl with the #homewardboundshawl tag in that time will be entered to win. On Tuesday the 20th of June we will pick winners from the hashtag, including in-progress pictures. Prizes to be announced later this week, stay tuned!

 

Book Review: WestKnits BestKnits Number 1 – Shawls

wkbk_cover_1024x1024Tis the season for knitting, and also for new book releases! We’ve got the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series from Stephen West, WestKnits BestKnits. It is subtitled Number 1 – Shawls, so hopefully there will be further titles in the future!

29011089976_345886507f_zThe book features 13 of Stephen’s most popular patterns. This book won’t make as much sense if you’ve been collecting them as they have been coming out, but a great investment if you have been eyeballing a few patterns. It also comes with a digital download code so you can have just the pattern you are working on with you instead of carrying the book around.

27733616535_08813a8cff_z

Each pattern has been photographed and shown in multiple colour combinations in Stephen’s now iconic graphic style. The variations shown really highlight the variety of options available to knitters to personalize their finished pieces.

10101484343_e2da69446a_z

For those of you looking to start your own WestKnits pieces, we just received our biggest yet shipment of Hedgehog Fibres! Loads of restocked colours, and plenty of new ones as well. 29011082476_9979d2dfc9_z

 

What to do next?

Are you like me? You race through your project with breeze, then when you reach 2/3 done, it suddenly starts to go real slowly, that project seems to never finish! You start planning new projects to sink your teeth in, mentally you are already done with your project, you have moved on. The question is, do you start on the next one before finishing, just because you can’t help yourself? I’m the kind of knitter who ends up with ten to twelve UFOs (Unfinished Objects) while claiming that they are WIPs (Work in Progress), so the last year or so I’ve been on restriction, to make sure that I actually do finish what I’m working on. I’m only allowed to have two to three projects going on at the same time.

frikkgenser

Right now I’m working on a crochet jumper for myself which I realise will take for ever to complete, but as you can see my other project; a new jumper for my youngest one is nearly done, and then I will start a new project. Yay! I have an endless list of stuff I want to do, but right now I’m between two options.

 

This skull shawl is just screaming my name, I noticed it as soon as it was published on Ravelry back in May and decided that this was for me. I’ve seen several versions of it popping up here and there, some simplifying how to make the eyes of the skulls, but I still like the original best. Another something that really caught my eyes last week, were these amazing yoga balls.

 

I’m dying to make a cover for mine, it needs one for sure, and it would transform it from this thing that is always in the way being rolled around in the flat, to a new funky interior piece with it’s function intact. That’s like win win win!!! I just can’t make my mind up on these two, at least I have a few more rows to go on Little One’s jumper before I have to make my decision.