We know colourwork can seem daunting somehow, but we have the perfect starter pattern: Prism. As you may have read (or guessed!) we love a good swatch hat. A hat is an excellent blank canvas to test out different colour combinations and techniques plus you end up with a usable finished knit. Prism is 3 hats in one pattern, Dots, Stripes, and Triangles.
Prism was one of our favourite patterns to knit samples for. We could just take a wander through the stash, pull out a few DK weight yarns and cast on. We mixed and matched, and as soon as one hat was done, the next was on the needles!
The Dots hat is the perfect place to use up those odds and ends of your precious favorite colour combinations. While we wrote the pattern using DK for the main colour and contrasts, you could really use a fingering or a worsted for the ‘dots’ without a worry. After knitting *ahem* a few blankets I really had a lot of teeny balls and little scraps that were begging to become something beautiful. With a neutral background (maybe a white or grey) you really can’t go wrong. Us a darker MC and bright dots for a bit of drama, an ombre for a little sophistication, or a rainbow for a bit of fun!
Emily has been obsessed with stripes for a while now. I think it all started with the Bumble hat…or maybe the single row stripe Playdate for Max….or maybe it has always been there, in the back of her mind begging to be let out! The stripes hat seems pretty straight forward right? Take 2 colours, stripe them. BUT the beauty of stripes is that they can be stripes of all kinds! The rainbow striped hat seems more like blocks of colour. An ombre (can you tell we were into ombres?) makes for an eye catching beauty, and simple black and white are always a winner.
Colour choices can make a big difference when it comes to single row stripes. Choosing 2 similar tones creates a blended effect (like our black and grey hat), really a whole new colour. High contrast stripes have a different look altogether (like Ellis’ black and white stripes). The possibilities, oh the possibilities!
My very favourite sample from the whole collection is this triangle hat Emily knit. With such a mad stash of bits and bobs of Rainbow Heirloom yarn from her days as a yarn dyer she was able to use a rainbow of tonal combinations to an effect that has me head over heels! The pattern is simple, the carries or ‘floats’ are short and this is a great first fair isle project.
So, which of our million samples is your favorite?
More fun hats from TCK
The concept for Mad Colour really began long long ago….with a POP! The year was 2012, we were working away on our second book, Pacific Knits, Alexa was preggers again, and Emily was on a walk-about in the UK. Suddenly, during a coffee date with a friend, a flash of genius hit! Emily had to rush home and try out this brilliant idea. The results of this creative frenzy? POP!
POP was inspired by the bright, exciting, and high-contrast graphics of comic books and American Pop Art, and Emily’s love of polka dots in general.
POP immediately became our most popular pattern and we started to build on the idea of a book of colour. We have both always loved colour (in spite of my black wardrobe) and the interesting way that colours interact to create rich and interesting fabrics. It was an idea that needed to percolate though. How to tackle a concept as large as colour? Which patterns perfectly represent the different ideas we had?
Well, fast forward (and forward and forward) to 2016 and we are finally able to bring you Mad Colour! Each pattern, while being fabulous on its own, also speaks to a larger concept in the realm of colour. From stripes to slip stitches, fair isle to colour blocks, layering to marling. Each idea is represented. We chose to include POP, now one of our most popular patterns, because it was POP that began it all!
More colourful blankies from TCK:
You all knew when Neve was born a new book couldn’t possibly be far behind right? We are proud to announce our newest collection: Mad Colour!
Mad Colour is a big one, 5 garments (sized baby to big of course!), 13 accessories, and with all the colourful possibilities it really seems endless!
This book is all about play. The patterns are simple, designed for experimentation. Dive head-first into your stash, fish out your hidden treasures and mix them up. Try a novel blend, or stick to a tried-and-true colour combo. If you are new to colourwork techniques, these designs are great for practicing fair-isle, slip stitch, stripes and intarsia too!
Mad Colour Details
The Ebook: You can order you Mad Colour ebook now for just $18
In Print: The print book is also available in print for $23 and all of our print books include the ebook. Books will ship September 23rd.
The garments in this book cover all of our favourite colour techniques, from fair isle to stripes, ombre, lace, and texture, what’s not to love? All patterns are sized from baby to big, perfect for those super cheesy family photoshoots!
We may have gone a little blanket crazy….we just love colourful blankets! Stripes of ombre, circles of self striping colour, chunky and marled, and the hexagons, oh the hexagons. A blanket for every season!
Our favorite thing about this book was our desire to keep trying out different versions of each pattern. When a black and white hat flew off the needles, a colourful striped cowl went on, when we finished some fair isle, it was time for some slipped stitches. Each new combination inspiring another idea or design.
Colour sliced and diced! This is the Slice shawl, grab 3 skeins of sock/fingering yarn to get started!
While most of our collections have a fairly clear progression from concept to book, this one was a little different. Colour itself is a big idea and we really wanted to showcase the different ways that colours can interact in knitting. We came up with the idea for Mad Colour way back in 2012 and have let it percolate ever since.
Colour can sometimes be daunting, so we have a hat pattern to get you started. Prism is 3 hats in one, slipped stitches, stripes, and fair isle. A little project to try out some new skills or a perfect place to test a new palette….did we mention it was great for using up those little scraps?!
So pick up your copy of Mad Colour, grab those perfect skeins from your stash, and cast on!
More fabulous colourful knits from TCK:
Like just about everybody else on the internet, I’ve recently gotten on board with the tidying craze (if you haven’t already heard about this phenomenon, read this book by Marie Kondo). While my tone seems a little flippant, the fact of the matter is that tidying, getting my house in order, has brought about a significant and fundamental change in my relationship to my things, and my pleasure in life.
Of most interest to you knitters is the change in my relationship to my STASH. Here is one of the results is this project, a super-chunky stashbuster blanket worked in tunisian crochet on a massive (19mm) hook.
Working as a designer for the past 6+ years, I have naturally amassed a MOUNTAINOUS stash. While naturally frugal, crafting supplies have always been a weakness of mine. With yarn classed as a business expense, the barriers to purchase have been further eroded! After I’d used Kondo’s method to clear out my wardrobe, bookshelf, kitchen, office supplies and cupboards, it was time to confront my stash head on, and determine which items genuinely brought me joy to have and to hold. My stash mountain has honestly become a weight upon me. At times I have felt guilty for all the beautiful and precious stash that I know in my heart will never become a knit project.
There were hundreds of luxurious bits and odd skeins left over from projects I’d completed, and dozens of single balls that I’d purchased thinking that I’d swatch with them, or knit a gift. There were even several sweater quantities of gorgeous yarns that I’d bought when I was touring around. Nearly every skein had a story, an emotion, a memory attached; such a weight that I was reluctant to let go of.
But I told myself that there was no value in having these things packed away in plastic tubs, if they were not bringing joy to my life and beauty to my home, and if, in fact, they contributed a weight of anxiety and guilt instead of the pleasure they might bring to someone else. If a bird in hand is worth 3 in the bush, then a skein of yarn in use (worked into something beautiful and useful) is worth 100 in the stash!
But how could I part with this mountain of alpaca, silk, cashmere, merino and hand-dyed luxury? Enter the Stashbuster Blanket!
I remembered working at Urban Yarns when I was in my designer infancy, and a project that the owner Anina had been working on, called the Stashbuster Blanket. At the time I thought I’d NEVER waste that much yarn on a single project. But lately, I’d been wanting to try the technique (tunisian crochet), and thought the finished object would be a lovely addition to my home, so last year I bought the pattern and hook, but never cast on. Well the ‘Year to Try Something New’ and this tidying project were a final impetus to act.
After a couple false starts, which blended colours a bit more radically for my taste, I settled on a concept; I planned an ombre of primary colours (blues, reds, yellows) against a lightening ombre of greys. Each colour block has 3 sections, darkest, medium, and lightest. The pattern calls for 3 colours to be worked at a time, but I began with a grey border in a single colour, then worked 2 slightly different colours of blue with this grey, then two slightly lighter colours with the grey, and so on and so forth. By the time I’d completed 3 sections of blue, then 3 sections of red/orange, I could see that the blanket was long enough, and adding yellows would make it out of proportion for a couch throw. So I worked a second grey edge and called my masterpiece complete!
stashbuster blanket project details:
Pattern: Stashbuster Blanket by StitchDiva Studios
Finished Size: I worked a blanket that is 60 sts wide, and 108 rows long. It measures 38″ wide x 61″ long.
Yarn: About a million different yarns… and I’ve no idea the finished yardage!
How do you feel about your stash?
How do you display it? Does it bring you pleasure just to own it, or do you suffer some anxiety or guilt? Share thoughts and photos of your stash mountain on your favourite social spot:
Pretty projects for knitting from stash:
There is always a knitter or 2 out there that get you. A quick perusal of their project page has you drooling and re-thinking your current w.i.p.s in a serious way. You adore their colour choices, their combinations of patterns and yarns, and a quick look at their project page leads you straight to the stash, filled with inspiration. For me Laura (aka Undone57 on Ravelry and Undone.57 on Instagram) is that knitter. Her most recent triumph is this stunning Fly Away blanket, but there is so much more!
We have featured Laura’s knitting here once before, she completed the 12 sweaters in 2015 challenge with a family set of Christmas in July sweaters. When I saw her lovely combinations I knew I wanted to cast on for one (or 3) myself!
In case it wasn’t obvious, I’ve been particularly smitten with all kinds of colourwork lately and I would be remiss if I didn’t add in this adorable Playdate Cardigan. Laura has added a simple little fair isle pattern all over and the effect is awesome. Who knew scrappy could look so good?!
Even in her accessories and details, I love all of the cool colour combinations and cute photos!
You can see why it is so much fun to see what Laura is knitting! As soon as I saw her Fly Away I wanted to cast on for one of my own (even though I still have one that just needs seaming….). Which knitter inspires you?
More cozy blankets from TCK
After the birth of my new little one just over 3 months ago, I needed some bread and butter knitting; something simple and satisfying. So I cast on a gigantic Bonfire Blanket in Wool and the Gang’s Crazy Sexy Wool, a delicious super chunky wool. It took a little longer than anticipated, but I cast off this bulky bad boy just before heading home for a summer trip to Vancouver Island!
crazy sexy wool giveaway!
Wanna win yarn? Wool and the Gang are having a giveaway – it’s running until midnight, Sunday August 21st 2016 – so enter here for a chance to win some Crazy Sexy Wool!
UPDATE >>>>> The contest has been completed, and Anna is the lucky winner of 3 skeins of Crazy Sexy Wool! Enjoy the luscious chunky knitting! Thanks to all who entered.
Bonfire Project Details:
Pattern: Bonfire Blanket
Sizing: The completed blanket measures 74” long and 54” wide, I worked a total of 7 pattern repeats. For this uber-bulky version, I achieved a garter stitch gauge of 6.5 sts & 10 rows in 4″, on 15mm needles. The cable pattern repeat measured 9.5″ long and 18″ wide.
Yarn: Wool and the Gang Crazy Sexy Wool in ‘magic mint’
Needles: While the pattern calls for 10mm needles, I used 15mm to achieve an ideal drape with this yarn, which is even bulkier than the yarn the pattern was designed in.
A cozy and stunning addition to my home
I love this knit! Making something super bulky like this for the first time, I found the speed at which the knit progressed very satisfying. I now have a really beautiful blanket to keep the whole family cozy on cold Scottish winter nights, which I am sure will come again (too soon!). For complete project details, check out my Ravelry project page.
Our cat Willow loves the new blanket too!
dog days of summer… and some easy little take-along knits
Putting super-chunky blankets aside for the moment… it’s HOT here on Vancouver Island where I’m enjoying a summer vacation with my family, hitting the beach every day.
Alexa and her crew are adventuring through the Rockies; she’s just knit a Banff hat on the way to Banff… of course!
If you’re heading out to the cottage, or settling in to your favourite camp spot for these last lazy dog days of summer, we’ve got some littler (lighter) project suggestions for you! If it’s too hot to knit during the day (what?), you still may enjoy a couple leisurely hours after the sun has set, needles clicking while you laugh and joke with family and friends.
I love fair isle yoked sweaters. The simplicity in the body of the sweater is great relaxing knitting, and the yoke is that pop of colour and fun that make the finished garment a piece to treasure. I’ve knit a few colourwork yokes over the years and I’m definitely not finished yet!
Swatching for a Colourwork Yoke
For the Paintbox KAL I am working on the Christmas in July sweater by Tanis Lavallee and I am loving it so far! Part of the challenge for this KAL was to swatch in 3 different colourways, so I thought I would offer up my usual method of swatching colourwork: I knit a hat.
I find when I knit fair isle back and forth (right side, then wrong side) it looks too sloppy, so I prefer to swatch in the round. I also prefer to use a circular rather than double points, it gives me a more accurate idea of my gauge, which is important if I am knitting a sweater. So, I need to cast on at least enough stitches to get around a 16″ circular needle, why not just knit a hat? Turn a swatch into a great gift!
This method of swatching may seem like overkill but it really ensures that your sweater will come out just the way you want it. We have 3 free hat patterns, the Clayoquot toque, i heart rainbows hat, and Barley, that will give you an idea of the number of stitches to cast on for each size and you can just use your main colour to do the decreases.
For example, if I am swatching in a worsted weight I can look at the Barley pattern, see I need to cast on about 78 stitches for a child size hat, work the ribbing, then change to my fair isle pattern (you may need a little increase to make the stitch count divisible by your pattern repeat). I work the fair isle pattern until my piece measures about 6″ from the cast on, then I work the decreases as written (if you needed an increase round for your pattern repeat you will need to work that number of extra decreases in this round). That’s it! Now you have a lovely swatch hat. Give it a bath, a block, and you can measure for gauge, as well as having tried out your colour combo. For your sweater you can make any necessary adjustments.
My Christmas in July
While I would usually go for a swatch hat, for Christmas in July I just cast on a yoke for the smallest size (but in DK weight yarn rather than the fingering suggested). For the wee ones a yoke isn’t really that much more knitting than a hat so I decided to wing it. I can always rip back the yoke if I need to swap out a colour or two.
I usually find it hard to hit on the perfect colour palette on the first try (unless, perhaps, I am copycatting the original), so swatches are a necessity for colourwork! However, I’m finding the fair isle pattern for Christmas in July so forgiving, I already love my first two ‘swatches’ (with a few rows ripped back along the way).
High Contrast or Blend?
Sometimes a yoke calls for high contrast, like the North Shore I recently finished. You really want to be able to distinguish the trees and mountains. The waves don’t necessarily need to be as high contrast, but you can see the difference between my recent version and the original.
For the Christmas in July though, having higher or lower contrast really just gives a different effect. My warm colour yoke has a ‘blendy’ effect, while my blues and greens give different, more distinct, shapes.
I’m having so much fun with this pattern, I can’t wait to cast on my third swatch!
If you want to join in the KAL just check in with our Rav group here and hashtag your progress on your favourite media spot with #paintboxKAL
More colourful knits from TCK: