For me this year is all about learning new techniques. And as I really love working with scraps of yarn and use everything to the last millimetre, I have been busy collecting and testing new (for me) techniques of blending.
Most designs I see on *Hot right now* use one or the other technique of blending/fading/overlapping colours into one another. And if you look at the prices… I might as well just knit. It really isn’t that difficult. Take your choice of pattern, shawl, sweater, mittens, socks… (any solid coloured pattern would do, I promise!), add favourite colours, scraps or hand dyed designer yarns and mix on! Wow. You just saved a million bucks on mainstream and created your own unique piece of art in the progress 😛
Here is a a small collection of ideas and techniques for blending your yarns.
First off, some people like to get their things organized (Don’t know why, but, oh… well.) If you are working with leftovers, you might want to sort them according to colour and/or weight.
If you don’t feel lucky like I do and don’t want to leave everything to chance, you could make a yarn cake out of leftovers.
There are a few techniques on how to join the yarn:
You could either make a double knot (see video here – from 1:12) to join the old yarn with the next or use the russian join (I would spent hours winding and threading, but I feel like that’s too much work for me….See also my post about 20 Free patterns for leftover projects) or any kind of method you like and wind the whole thing into a ball. Then knit! 🙂
Or you throw everything into a bowl and grab one ball after the next to keep things interesting and flexible. That’s my favourite chaotic way of letting creativity flow 🙂
As I was too lazy to sort them beforehand and also the yarns in itself made quite a show with their colour changes, I decided to go with this technique:
Knit with colour A. When it is about to run out, add colour B, knit both strands for 6-7 stitches and continue knitting with colour B only. Repeat as often as you like. It even saves you the weaving in of ends. (Told you, I’m lazy!)
Or how about this one? Bold stripes (shown on Coziness finerless mittens):
You can use any yarn, but I like this best on gradient yarns like Zauberball from Schoppewolle or similar. Use two contrasting scraps (about 15-20grams per colour and per pair of mittens) and knit stripes, changing colour every 4th (3rd or 7th, as you like!) round. Voila! A unique pair of whatyouknitted!
The next one I learned recently from a fellow knitter on Instagram, @Terhimontonen (oh my goodness, I just LOVE her pictures! You should definitely follow her!) and I thought I’d share it with you, too:
Cast on any even number of stitches
Rd1 Colour A
Rd2 Colour B
Rd3 Colour A
Rd4 Colour B
Rd5+6 k1 Colour A, k1 Colour B around
Repeat these 6 rounds until finished 🙂
I added a German Short Row heel (See tutorial here) and cuff and toes in colour A only, but there’s definitely a million different solutions. Tell me your favourite when you find it!
These are really about joining a new colour at different points in a row/round to avoid a visible joining side in a project. When I’m blending socks, I don’t bother following a specific pattern, rather than joining a new colour once I feel like it 🙂 But you could go like this:
Knit 2 in one colour, 1 round in another colour, 1 round in a third colour, 2 rounds in the first colour, 3 rounds in the second colour, 1 round in the third… it keeps things interesting and makes for the coolest colourful projects! I must admit, though, that I never use more than two colours at a time as I don’t want to spend half of the time untangling the yarn strands.
Or how about Intarsia? If you have some colourful scraps or yarns that don’t quite fit a bigger project on their own, why not mix them with a solid colour and make a special pair of socks/mittens/sweaters… out of it? There are so many wonderful charts for small intarsia out there that it’s hard to choose from. But here’s a pick of free intarsia charts on Ravelry for you.
I know that this free Totoro Chart by Brella went straight into my queue for a special someone’s Christmas gift 🙂
Oh, and then there is your pick of anything Fade. Apparently you’ll need plenty of these for a project, so it’ll be worth a month of knitting at least. But here you go.
It could for example work like this: Start with color 1, knit in stockinette (or garter if you prefer) for say 20 rows/rounds (depending on size and intended blending effect) change to colour 2, knit 1-2 rows/rounds, change back to colour 1, knit slightly less rows/rounds than the first time, change back to colour 2, knit slightly more rows/rounds than the last time and so on, until you feel like it’s time for adding the next colour to the game. Repeat in the same fashion until you finish your project. You successfully faded your favourite colours into each other.
Or how about using two contrasting gradients, knit with both strands and see where they take you? I used one gradient from green to purple and one from yellow to blue for this Dragon Hat
Another method of fading is this Fade in Fade out socken (Free pattern)
Start with stranding: always alternate 1 st. of each two colors (A and B) over an odd (divisible by 4 +1) number of stitches. Knit 4 rows of stranding. Break Col A. Now knit 4 plain rows using color B. Adding color C knit 4 rows of stranding. Cut B, knit 4 plain rows in C. And so forth.
And if you haven’t found enough inspiration here yet, I’m sure to keep an eye open for more inspiration for you. But for now I’m off knitting, as I expect a beautiful package to arrive soon, so my needles need to be ready to go then!