I was born with an appreciation for minimalism. As a child I would wait for weeks for Style with Elsa Klensch to highlight the Calvin Klein runway shows, or I’d rip out pages filled with Mies van der Rohe furniture from my grandmother’s Architectural Digest to add to my vision board. As a knitter, I might as well be the original Julie Hoover fan-girl, appreciating well-crafted simplicity and its universal appeal.
That said, I can’t live like that all the time. I’m grateful for that part of me that becomes giddy at the sight of fluorescent pink and appreciates daring (if questionable) color combinations. Being tasteful all of the time can be a bit much. Every now and then, it feels good to throw caution to the wind and mix it up. Whether you’ve chosen to knit or wear color explosions, it’s like saying to the world that you live by your own rules, and I think that is so refreshing.
The slough of color that’s come into the shop over the last week has sent me searching for new ways to play with these favorite, color-soaked yarns. The world is bursting with inspiration, so let’s get started.
Last week a shipment of Crazy yarn from Stonehedge Fiber Mill arrived. This yarn is a people-pleaser. No two skeins are alike, and each is made with mill ends from their wonderful soft, wool fibers. Broad bands of marled color make up each 230-yards of this dk-weight yarn. Usually, you can let this yarn do all of the work, like in our Crazy Chevron Scarf/Cowl. I noticed on Ravelry that a bunch of knitters have made up Andrea Mowry’s The Shift cowl using 3 skeins of Crazy. This pattern is worked flat and uses mosaic knitting to double up on the color fun in this pattern. For mosaic newbies, it just so happens to be a great technique for your first foray into color-work. You work one color at a time, slipping stitches of the unused color as you go.
The results are outstanding and the knitting looks like so much fun. I’ve included a few pics of finished Shifts using Crazy above. I highly recommend perusing The Shift project page to see how some of these Shifts have turned out – just remember that if you choose to knit one up, it’ll be one-of-a-kind just like each Crazy skein.
Mowry has played with this shifting color technique a few times in the past year, and her Shifty Sweater happens to be perfect for our new shipment of Schoppel Wolle’s Edition 3. Shifty is a top-down, circular yoke sweater that is made with the same mosaic method using colorful, marled yarns. Shifty uses a “background color” with 3 contrast colors used on top. How you choose to play with these colors is your own adventure. You could use the same “contrast color” for all three sections, or you could even use a solid color for your background. For this, consider a solid like Juniper Moon’s Dromedary, Blue Sky’s Baby Alpaca or Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft.
Nightshift is one more pattern from Mowry that makes the most of this mosaic-overload motif. You could make this oversized, triangular shawl mixing up colors of Cascade’s 220 Superwash Wave, having fun with hand-dyes like Malabrigo’s Rios or Madeline Tosh Vintage, or even just using two giant balls of Noro’s Ito! (click here to see a super cool version of Nightshift in Ito!)
Speaking of hand-dyes, I like what happens when you knit stranded color-work with hand-dyed yarns. One example is a long-time favorite pattern that I’ve never gotten around to making called Lallama, a pair of mittens made up using contrasting colors of Malabrigo Rios. Using a hand-dyed with a lot of variation mixed with a solid or semi-solid yarn adds texture and another layer of dimension to your color-work.
Baah’s May Color of the Month has just arrived, as well. Like usual, colors are bold! I love this yarn, having made my favorite ever socks (pictured below) and a simple raglan pullover (Eri’s Holiday) in this easy, dreamy yarn. The beautiful hand-dyes do all the work of making your fabric interesting. How about amping up the color and mixing it up with reckless abandon? I love to watch our knitters do this, having watched one of our knitters curate a color combination of La Jolla for her Find Your Fade shawl.
I’ve mentioned Paris by Day before, which mixes up 3 colors of La Jolla to make a big wrap or infinity scarf. I also love Casapinka’s Mixology, which joyously combines five colors of La Jolla bias stripes. They look amazing when gorgeous hand-dyed yarn is involved, but knitting this up is easy as pie. In general, Casapinka expertly shows us how to mix up colors for maximum fun, so it’s worth checking out all of her patterns. Check out her new-ish pattern called Botanique which is begging for some daring color choices. She has also started a KAL for her new project Magical Thinking. Please note, it is NOT A PONCHO and if you have any sense of humor, please check out the pattern’s project page. If nothing else, you’ll appreciate Casapinka’s funny streak. Click here to check out all of her patterns on Ravelry.
When it comes to color like this, don’t be afraid of missteps or mistakes. IMHO, there’s no such thing in these cases – just lots of color adventure. Jump in with your needles and do so head first, and just have fun with it.