Thursday, February 9, 2017

Find Your Fade

I wasn't always comfortable with trusting my instincts, and I don't just mean when knitting a piece of clothing.  Sometime, within the last several years, I have shrugged off the cloak of doubt that doused my impulses.  I still consider and listen to other people, but I also listen to myself.  And I try to never disregard something, just because I want it.  It shows in the way I make big life decisions and, yes, even in how I knit my Find Your Fade.


Be forewarned, this is an image-heavy post because I am nuts about this shawl and I haven't been out of the house a lot recently, due to a sprain, so taking these was like a vacation.



Andrea Mowry followed her instincts in the creation of this shawl and I have so enjoyed seeing all of the other knitters doing the same on ravelry and instagram (#findyourfadekal).





It is an atypical project for me.  It's very large, requiring 7 precious skeins of yarn that I've hoarded for years.   I spent a whole afternoon digging up 10-11 possible skeins for this project.  I was grateful that I had taken the time to list my stash on Ravelry because it made narrowing the pool of potentials much easier.  I laid them out in every possible configuration, changed a few, then laid them out again.  It was neither tedious nor stressful, because instead of second-guessing myself I just enjoyed the selection process.  It was like choosing which crayon to use next when drawing with your kids.  For me it was relaxing and expressive.

I really wanted my yarn to be a mix of old and new stash.  Then the ones I wanted didn't all "fade" into each other and weren't even the same types of yarn.  But they are special to me, and so made the most special shawl possible.


I was excited to start this mammoth project.  I have never knit something so large that I could wear it while working on it.


Now that it's finished and has been worn, it's almost mythic to my mind, like knitted mithril or a coat of many colors.  It's also a little like a scrapbook.

Color 1 was from my first indie dyer to ever order from, Gynx Yarns, and is pretty old.   It was inspired by the city where my family became a family of four., taking me all the way back to the tender age of 25ish.   I already told you about casting on with DenTown, but I don't think I mentioned that knitting with it hit me with such good nostalgia it almost hurt.  I pulled out photo albums, reminisced with my husband, and cried through an episode of This is Us.


Colors 2 and 3 were picked up at my first sort-of yarn retreat.  That's when I knew I was obsessed with this craft.  It was at the Madtosh storefront in Fort Worth during Veera and Joji Knit America.  The first color was Reindeer in MCN and then a Modern Fair Isle single.  At that time, I had little experience working with fingering weight yarn and didn't know much about the difference between the two.  I was still knitting sweaters with inexpensive, bulk yarn purchases.  Madelinetosh was the first yarn to open my eyes to the indie-dyed world.  I remember seeing whole sweaters knit out of it on Ravelry and being blown away by the colors.  I also thought it was beautiful but too expensive for something I might ruin.  Wasn't that quaint?


Color 4 was Voolenvine Yarn's I am no Bird.  It sells out within seconds of an update.  It's obviously a more recent purchase from the era when I began setting an alarm on my phone for certain yarn shop updates and would type like a mad woman on my phone in the middle of the grocery store, just to score a skein.  I cringe a little that I've done that, but then I look at this wrap and think, "Heck yeah!"


I was also broadening the range of things I knitted to include shawls, so a little expensive yarn here and there wasn't such a big deal.  (Read: I was an almost empty nester and could now do these things occasionally.)  There was no fade between it and the next colorway, Chickory, but they look incredible together.

Color 5, Chickory, is my favorite Madelinetosh colorway.  Period.  It also made a good transition into deeper shades, like...


Color 6Tanis Fiber Arts' Too Tartan.  Tartan is another one of those yarns that sell out before the page fully loads.  I just happened to see it on instagram at the moment of listing.  I have had that skein squirreled away for a couple of years because it's my Precious and too important to use on socks.


Color 7 is Stroll Tonal , in Raven.  It creates a seamless blend with the The Tanis Fiber Arts.  I'm sure you know that Stroll is a Knit Picks yarn.  Knit Picks is like an old friend.  It was one the first places I ever bought non-acrylic blend yarn.  It has almost single-handedly fueled my freakish sweater-knitting passion.  A memory-filled shawl wouldn't be complete without including some.


So in one way or another, this shawl covers several seasons of my life.   I love wrapping up in it.

Details:  I used size US 4 needles to knit my Fade.  I didn't worry about gauge or modifications.  I just cast on and went with it.

A few tips: I will say that after knitting one lace section, I found it helpful to check my lace occasionally by making sure my k2tog were always directly over a knit stitch two rows beneath and that my knit stitches were lining up with a k2tog two rows beneath.  I could catch mistakes that way.


I also stretched each section out, after knitting, to look for dropped stitches.  That happened frequently in the garter when I was working with darker colors.

The biggest tip I can give is this:  If you mess up your stitch count in some way that doesn't show during the garter sections, don't rip back to have perfect stitch count for the lace.  Just change which RS lace repeat row you begin with.  When you get close to the marker, you'll be able to tell which one is appropriate.  Then you'll follow with the subsequent rows in the pattern.  I did this at least once and it saved me much frustration.  In the end I was short 1 stitch- big deal.  But frequent lace knitters probably know this already.


Just some off the cuff thoughts:

You guys!!! I adore it wrapped this way.  The fact that it doesn't perfectly fade doesn't matter when the colors are so well suited for each other.  Even the ends look nice together.


Modern Fair Isle should also be a sweater in my closet.

Trying to wrap up in this with the wind blowing was... interesting.  It made me think of being a kid and getting stuck halfway into pulling on a turtleneck or something.


My husband was a super help.  Not only did he drive me some place not my backyard for these photos, but he was super patient as I walked back up to him to see if the photos looked the way I intended, then walked away... a jillion times.

Every time I picked this project up I felt compelled to sing Mazzy Star's Fade into You out loud, in a breathy warble.  I have a patient family.

It was a beautiful day and I needed an outing.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

My other post on this shawl is here.

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