Design / Fibre crafts / Knitting / Spinning

Midwinter gradient

About two months ago, when I was on holiday in Germany, I brought with me a large skein of handspun yarn. I had spun that particular yarn in the MirkwoodArts Thriathlon in 2018 – inspired by Elves! I combined two Nunoco colourways to create a gradient from silver to deep cool green. The colours remind me of ice and snow and dawn and evergreen trees.

289g/1185 metres of midwinter fingering weight yarn

This yarn had been waiting in my stash for the perfect project. I wanted to use as much of the yarn in a project as I could. Theoretically, I could have made a sweater out of this quantity, but that would mean that the gradient would be broken when splitting it up for knitting the sleeves. So it had to become something else, something straightforward. A… shawl?

Step one was to turn the skein into a cake. I didn’t have a nostepinne, but that was no problem. It’s basically a wooden stick, anyway, so I improvised by using a wooden spoon instead. It took me quite a while to wind the cake, though!

Gradient cake

What to knit, then? After knitting my Perpendicular shawl, I was still in brioche knitting mode. The resulting fabric is so nice and toasty. And I thought that it might be a nice idea to start from opposing ends of the yarn. That way, there would be two gradients, one on each side of the work. The fabric would become less and less contrast-y with itself until the right and wrong side would have the same colour at the end.

And of course, it would become a shawl.

Lots of contrast at the beginning!

So, I cast on the beginning of an i-cord, and started increasing. The colours worked very well together. The dark green had an almost blueish hue, and the silver was shiny. As I progressed, the green became more green, with some streaks of lavender that kept things interesting. The silver developed into a very light green.

I knitted a standard asymmetrical triangle, increasing until I had used 33% of the yarn, then moving the centre sideways until it reached the side, then binding off. A simple formula that works equally well with brioche stitch as with more traditional stitch patterns. And because I love a stretchy fabric, I knitted one i-cord row per row as opposed to one per two rows.


And then it was done! I had a bit of yarn left over, but not much. Next step: blocking.

By the way, we finally got around to painting my attic last week, and I moved my stuff back in, ready for creative projects. I’m so happy about that! I even have the Christmas tree in there (because the kittens were using it as a cat tree, basically). So I had space to block my shawl out of reach of little kitten claws, in style!

With the extra i-cord rows, I could turn the shawl into a standard asymmetrical triangle, sure, but I also had enough room to stretch in the border to create more of an asymmetrical trapezoid. So that’s what I did!

Creating a custom shape using blocking wires

I’m very glad that I chose this shape, because there is more depth to the shawl that way. With an asymmetrical triangle, there is one point where the shawl is at its widest. With a trapezoid, there is more fabric in that area to cover your back.

A nice present under the tree!

I tried out some ways of draping it on my mannequin after drying, and it can definitely keep you warm. Just hang the middle bit over one shoulder, and on the opposite shoulder, hang one point to the back and the other to the front. That way, you cover your entire torso.

Wearing the shawl

The brioche fabric keeps the warm air close to your body, so it will keep you warm on cold days. I’ve been wearing it on Christmas day, when it was freezing here, and it’s a great shawl to snuggle up in. I might write down the pattern and share it at some point.

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