The Trick to a Good Fade

The Trick to a Good Fade

UPDATE: Izzy's California Fade is no longer available for free, though it is available for sale. This pattern was free for all who joined our mailing list from Oct. 2018 through Sept. 2019.

This week, we’re excited to offer a beautiful new shawl pattern for free to our newsletter subscribers (click here to sign up!). Izzy's California Fade is designed just for us by Ariane Galizzi. This asymmetrical triangular shawl uses Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer fingering base in three colorways to create a lacy gradient shawl that's so addictive to knit you won't want to stop!


Today’s post will talk a little bit about the technique used to create the gradient in the shawl, as well as a bit of color theory to help you choose the perfect colors for your project.

Gradient Technique

Izzy's California Fade is designed with three skeins of Show Stealer yarn in the Vintage Sleigh Ride, Tequila Sunrise, and Anne with an E colorways.  

At any given time during the project, you will work with your yarn held doubled. To create the gradient flow from color to color, you knit the transitions from one color to another using one strand of the first color held together with one strand of the next color. In this case, that means that the first part of the shawl is knit with a double strand of Vintage Sleigh Ride and the first transition is knit with a strand of Vintage Sleigh Ride held together with a strand of Tequila Sunrise. You will follow this pattern throughout the shawl creating a gentle gradient from your first color to your second color to your last color.

Choosing Colors

So how do you choose the perfect colors for your project?

One way to choose colors is to use color theory. Color theory is best explained using the color wheel, which you have probably seen before. The color wheel begins with the primary colors. When primary colors are combined, you get the secondary colors (i.e. blue and yellow yield green). When secondary colors are combined with their primary neighbors, you get tertiary colors (i.e. green and blue yield blue-green). Within each color family you will also find endless variations of intensities and hues depending on how the dyer chooses to dye their yarns.

When you are choosing colors for a colorwork project, where you want your colors to be distinct enough to display a design in the fabric, you want to choose colors that are of contrasting families and intensities. One technique to use is to choose colors from the opposite sides of the color wheel. That is, if you choose a violet, you could choose an orange or a yellow as a contrasting color.

For a project like Izzy's California Fade, you will want colors to be complementary so that they fade easily from one to another. In this case, you might want to choose colors within one area of the wheel. For instance, you could choose reds, pinks, and mauve pinks so that your project will flow seamlessly through the colorways.

Now this idea works well enough if you are picking from solid or semisolid colorways, but it’s a bit harder if you’re choosing from variegated yarns. In the case of variegated yarns, you probably want to combine them with some solids or semisolids. The key here is to pick up colors in the variegated yarns that will flow through your project. For instance, if you pick a skein like Boyhood (pictured below), you could choose Sunny Side Up and London Fog to bookend it (i.e. start your shawl in Sunny Side Up, then hold Sunny Side up together with Boyhood, use Boyhood, and then hold Boyhood together with London Fog, concluding with London Fog). Or you could swap out Sunny Side Up for Dirty Truce or Swamp Thing and follow the same pattern.

You could do something similar using colors in the pink family, pictured below. We have several different color groupings of the Show Stealer base photographed together on our shop page, for your ease in picking your perfect colors!

Let’s knit — and get Izzy’s California Fade for free!

Are you finding this project tempting? As we said up above, sign up for our newsletter now and you will receive a free copy of Izzy's California Fade! If you sign up for our newsletter, we'll be sending you a monthly newsletter filled with inspirational project ideas, articles about tips and techniques, new products we feature, events we'll be at, and general crafty news.

Izzy's California Fade is also available for purchase in our shop if you prefer not to receive our newsletter - but we hope you’ll share your projects with us in the on Instagram using the hashtag #izzyknitslys. 

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