Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Besom: A Color Tutorial

I have a new pattern just published with Twist Collective, Besom is my first design with Twist and I couldn't be more pleased with the result!

A worsted weight cardigan that is simple and striking, Besom lets the colors do the talking by creating dynamic movement in the otherwise static design. The edges are faced and seamed for a clean and finished look and the pattern has a wide range of sizing; 34 (39 ½, 43, 46 ½, 50, 55 ½, 59, 62 ½)” / 86.5 (100.5, 109, 118, 127, 141, 150, 159) cm bust circumference. The cardigan is worked in the round and steeked (which means worked with extra stitches, sewn and then cut open) and the button bands are picked up and added at the end. This means that all the colorwork is created in the round and there are no wrong side rows within the patterning areas.

What I really wanted to achieve with this design was a color gradation that was simple and fun, which emphasized the pattern and inspired the knitter to try something new. I wanted to design a stranded pattern that was great for a knitter who is new to Fair Isle. The type of design where you perhaps don't need a chart after the first round of dots and it is easy to spot a mistake if you make one.

The colors for this garment are what really make it special.  Besom takes advantage of the wild new neon pink that has recently become available and uses it center stage as the main star of the pattern. Of course not everyone is into neon pink so why not change it up? set a course for color and let's talk about what might also look great in this design.

What makes the color work for this garment is the movement from the darkest color/shade on the outside edges to the lightest color/shade on the inside edges. This means that for the same 'look' as the original you should start with an outside color that is vastly darker in shade, meaning that if you squint your eyes the color is basically removed and one looks darker than the other. This combined with a main color that is similar in shade to the lightest pattern shade gives the pattern it's signature look. When you squint your eyes at the lightest color it should be close to the main background color, they can blend or almost blend together in front of your eyes.

Squinting your eyes reduces the amount of color information your eyes can receive and improves your perception of light and dark. This is called the color value, you can also use a transparent red color value finder such as this one.

Blues Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 5755, 5436, 6015, 0184, Background: 0004

Above you can see the colors present in the original sample, the dark purple moves into a more gray dull purple, into a muted pink and finally into the bright pink, the background of this garment is the dove grey heather. But what if you like blues better? And what about that neon green? The second colorway idea The Blues Scale moves from the darkest blue, though two lighter blue shades into the neon green. If you squint your eyes at these two suggestions you can see that the bottom shades are pretty close in shade (meaning that they appear almost the same with squinted eyes) the second to top shade on the blue scale is slightly lighter than the pink scale but the neons sit at about the same intensity.

Muted Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 2671, 2621, 4202, 0020, Background: 0017
Electric Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 0184, 0144, 0130, 0120, Background: 0083

Now these two color ideas are opposites, the first one is all muted browns and pinks on a background of white. As you can see the darkest color is definitely dark and very obvious and the lightest color blends in seamlessly with the background. This palette will give you a much more defined outer edge and a much subtler inner 2 rows of dots. In the original sample the inner 2 rows are the bright pink, and even though they are about the same shade as the background they are much more intense in color saturation. In this Muted color scale the lightest color is barely different than the background and will make those lines of patterning less visible.

The use of the gently gradating color in this garment and attention to the shades and intensity of the lightest and darkest create the depth and movement in the piece. 

The Electric Neon color scale to the right is the complete opposite of the original sample. It has such a dark background color and bright intense neons that the dot colors sit on top of the background. This is a fun colorway idea no mistaking that, but it will give a very different effect than the other color scales. You can see on the Muted color scale that the shades are far more integrated while on the Electric color scale they are very defined and sit forward to the eye. A Besom Cardigan created with the Electric color scale will not have the depth or movement that the original has. All the colors of all the dots will sit within the same depth of field for the eyes and will seem to 'float' above the darker background.

Pinks Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 4826, 4617, 4613, 2205, Background: a 2621, b 4845
Blue Scale: Dale Garn Freestyle colors from bottom to top: 8045, 6135, 6015, 7014, Background: a 2621, b 5755

While we are talking about depth of field let's take a look at how we can reverse the depth of field in the cardigan pattern. The top two scales above both have a color gradation that works within the original parameters of the design. The bottom colors are much darker than the background and the lightest color is similar in shade to the background. But what happens when the darken the background? The lightest colors become much lighter and are the focal point, whereas the darkest colors blend in much better with the background and are less obvious. This reverses the movement of the colors, instead of anchoring at the bottom and moving into the top the colors will anchor at the top and move into the bottom. You can manipulate this to change what areas of your body the garment will put focus on.

If you want to draw attention away from your waist but still work the patterning put your highest contrasting dots on your hips, if you want to draw attention away from your hips put the highest contrast on your waist. 

Grey Scale:  colors from bottom to top: 0090, 0083, 0007, 0004, Background: 3309, 4613. 4845, 4018

What about reversing the colors and neutrals? Work the dotted design with a transitioning palette of neutrals from black to grey and use a solid color for the background.The uppermost examples of this have the highest contrast at the outer patterning just like the sample. The lower left example has the highest contrast at the top which is opposite to the original. The lower right example uses a mid-ground red which has contrast with both the lightest and darkest shades on the grey scale. This will create visual contrast on both the edges and the inner rings while still having movement within the choices.

If you want to draw attention away from your waist and your hips skip the lower patterning completely and just work patterning on the bottoms of the sleeves and the yoke. Place your highest color contrast on the inner rings to place emphasis on the bust and forearms which slims the waist and hips. Or to draw attention to the face and neck place the highest contrast color closest to the edge of the garment which will naturally attract the eye there. 

I hope this post has inspired you to get creative with your color choices, and knit up a Besom Cardigan for yourself. Below you will find information on where to get the pattern and yarn for this project. 

                                                                                                             -Meghan Jones

All the yarn referred to in this post is Dale Garn Freestyle, the yarn that was used for the sample. Below is the full color card of Dale Garn Freestyle, and you can purchase this yarn from Mango Moon and Dale Yarn here. Below is the complete color card for Dale Yarns. 

You can purchase this pattern from Twist Collective here. 

Want to learn more about color theory? Check out my Color Theory for Knitters Post here for a basic introduction to color theory and how you can harness the power of the color wheel for knitting. 

Friday, November 6, 2015


 New pattern release! Carmadine is an adorable raglan cardigan knit with it's own blooming bed of flowers and sweet asymmetrical shawl collar.

This little sweater all started with a few balls of red Debbie Bliss Cashmerino that I just could not pass by. The bright red just seemed to celebrate the beginning of spring and the longer days of tiny sprouts poking up through the ground opening their leaves to the burgeoning sunlight. It is ironic that a sweater designed for the spring is finally ready to leave my studio in the half light of a November morning, when the partially bare trees shake in the chill of a stormy sky. But it also seems appropriate for this garden lover to release a tiny bed of flowers in the beginning of the winter, what better way to get through the dark months than with bright red cashmere flowers?

This cardigan is worked from the bottom up, flat, and then joined at the underarms to work the raglan yoke. The flower pattern is worked along the bottom edge with corresponding bobble blooms on the bottom sleeves. The sample is a 3-6 month size modeled by the adorable Emarie and I am assured that a mid photo shoot nap time indicates she was infinitely cozy.

You can find this pattern on Ravelry 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Zebra Confetti

 I think I am pretty comfortable admitting that I have a thing for patterns on the bias, or more specifically the magic of finding a pattern that I can manipulate to be knit on the bias. And fiber craft worked on the bias has a little bit of magic added to it, okay maybe a better way to say it is that there is a little bit more magic since I generally think that taking any kind of string and making it into a material is pretty magical to begin with. Working on the bias creates such drape, the fabric (knitted or otherwise) just flutters, it slinks, slithers and mostly behaves in a far more sultry fashion than other fabrics.

My other favorite part of working on the bias is that it is a perfect platform for stripes, interesting stripes, stripes for the sake of illustrating texture and construction that inform the eye of the why and how of the scarf. This scarf, aptly named Zebra Confetti, is worked with two skeins of Madelinetosh Pashmina, on the bias with a cables and lace pattern in wide stripes of each color.

The stitch pattern is subtle enough not to compete with the flecks of color in the spatter dyes Cosmic Wonderdust color way( c'mon who doesn't want something knit out of yarn with a name like that?), and the Dirty Panther Grey is the perfect contrast color. There is minimal working in of ends as well, the colors are carried up the sides with a curling border that disguises the carried wraps. 

This pattern is easily customized, there are notes in the pattern that indicate how to increase the width for more of a shawl or wrap. There are also tips on how to work with the two colors untangled and when to weigh your yarn so you can begin decreases at the correct point. 

Thanks so much to my awesomesauce brother Kevin who helped model this scarf, as you can see it is truly a unisex design. And another thanks to my very talented and clever sister in law Chelsea of Vitality Images. If you live in the Edmonton Area and need photos you really need her to do them, check out her website here. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Oh don't you love those simple weekend projects, you know the ones that just skip along and are finished by Sunday evening, ready to wear Monday morning? I know I love them, and don't knit nearly enough of them.

Weekender is an  adorable headband is worked in Noema from Lousia Harding, a worsted weight cotton blend it has a multitude of tweedy colors flickering in and out of the yarn. The headband is worked back and forth flat from the tails to the center front and is grafted together for a seamless fit. The lace pattern is charted and written and has patterning on the RS and the WS for part of the chart.

This pattern is infinitely adjustable by working more or less repeats of the pattern and would work wonderfully in a smaller gauge yarn with more repeats for length.

 46.5 (49)” long, to fit 20 (22)” head circumference, adjustable.

Louisa Harding Noema [75% Cotton, 20% Acrylic, 5% Nylon (Polyamide); 131 yds /50g]; color #15 mojito, 1 ball

1 set US #6/4mm straight needles OR 1 set US #6/4mm 24 inch circular needle

Tapestry needle, stitch holder or waste yarn.

22 sts/26 rows = 4” over charted pattern, gauge is not crucial for this pattern.

This headband is worked back and forth from the tail to the center head in two pieces that are grafted together. The beginning chart has patterning on both sides of the work. The chevron lace section is easily adjustable for any heads size.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sibling Revelry Pullover

Finally! I have finally finished editing, coddling, shining, perfecting the Sibling Revelry Pullover Pattern, the sister (brother) pattern to the Sibling Revelry Cardigan Pattern. 

This pattern also started with a special skein of yarn; a lovely bright spring green gifted to me for Theodore in the depths of February by a dear knitting friend who hand dyed it herself. Of course I had many plans for this skein, first he was small enough that I could probably eek a vest out of it, no sleeves equals endless possibilities with limited yardage and so my sleep deprived brain browsed patterns while I rested and nursed our new little guy. February turned into March and then April, no vest had magically whipped itself into existence Mrs. Weasley style overnight while I passed out between his wakings. And of course babies grow, a vest was out of the question, not even my exhausted optimism could pretend that an entire garment was being made out of that one skein. Hats and mittens were out since Spring was right around the corner and booties are boring not something I enjoy.

This bright little skein worked it's way up into my stash until autumn winds (and more sleep) had me rooting around in the bins looking for something to work with. Paired with a deep rich blue it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work with contrasting colors and textures in a finished garment. I wanted to include cables, but also wanted a different cable, something more interesting than the average cable and also a pattern that would translate well for multiple sizes. I also wanted to used some texture, not garter stitch as I had explored that in the Cardigan version but what about Moss Stitch? Ooohh I love moss stitch, lays flat, loads of texture, squishy like garter stitch but more interesting. And to marry both patterns together in a fraternal twins kind of way the pullover also needed 2 rows stripes.

This garment has all three elements, the front is cabled in the MC, the Back is worked in Moss Stitch using the CC and the Sleeves are 2 row stripes of Stocking stitch using both colors. The sleeves are continued up over the shoulder in a saddle shoulder and across the upper back joining at the center. The cables on the front are a combination of a 3 over 3 cable and a 4 over 6 or a 6 over 4, this is essentially a cable within a cable and the two of them are flanked by columns of moss stitch diamonds.

This pullover is worked flat in pieces, it has to be as all the different patterns have differing gauges. Don't be dissuaded by the seaming, try joining your seams with locking stitch markers before seaming as this will help to keep the seaming even.

Of course this pattern is also available in sizes 3m to 12 years, and it is modeled in sizes 18m and 10 years. The 4 smallest sizes 3m (6m, 12m, 18m) have alternate neck shaping that includes a shoulder that opens with buttonholes for giant baby noggins.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Coral Palace - New release!

Hello lovely knitters!

I have another pattern available, this one is really a favorite of mine; the Coral Palace Shawl. Now as a kid I have to admit that I was a little obsessed with Mermaids, not unusual I know, and as an adult I can look back and see that really it was a love of water and the ocean which had me so fixated on mermaids. I mean can you even imagine living underwater all the time? that gorgeous coral all around you, colorful fish, waving sea plants?

There was a book at my elementary school library that depicted a mermaid and her palace, an underwater citadel of organic corals that flowed from one room to the next. It was very Gaudian in nature and later in my art career when I was studying Gaudi it hit home how much I appreciate and enjoy this type of design. Below you can see the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, a building that is still being worked on to this day, designed by Gaudi.

This shot is an interior photo of the Nave in the Sagrada Familia

But perhaps my favorite of his works is this apartment building called the Casa Batllo, it was created out of an already existing building and is a fascinating piece of work.

When swatching stitch patterns for the Coral Palace shawl I kept coming back around to these undulating shapes and curved openings, creating an organic architecture for the flickering underwater colors to breathe in. 

Coral Palace is worked from the bottom up and needs a very loose cast on. It uses a combination of double yarnovers and triple wrapped stitches with dramatic 13 stitch decreases to create the scallop shell imagery on the bottom border. The entire shawl is based on garter stitch with the exception of the odd single purl stitch to work the WS of the double yarnovers. The center section is worked with short rows that shape the shawl into a delicate crescent, and the top border is worked with a smaller interpretation of the large border. 

60” long and 15” tall at widest point

madelinetosh Twist Light [75% merino, 25% nylon; 420 yds]; color peace of paradise, pattern uses 92% of skein when worked at stated gauge. 

1 US #7/4.5mm 24 inch circular needle, using a ‘sharp’ or lace needle is best for working the k13tog.
Tapestry needle, 

14 sts/30 rows = 4” in garter stitch after blocking, gauge is not crucial but may affect yardage.

Thanks so much to my lovely model and amazing friend Ivory

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Aegaea Shawl

As blue as the sea with a waving lace border and pretty scalloped edging Aegaea is a simple shawl worked back and forth like a scarf. It is easily customized for differeing yardage and gauge and the sample version uses only 1 skein of the recommended yarn.

This lovely yarn fell into my hands at my local LYS, the owner was looking for a pattern to showcase this beautiful wool silk combo and the generous 290 yds of DK weight in one skein was the perfect amount for a shawl. Using a side knit increase method I learned from Sivia Harding I knew I wanted to find the perfect border stitch that had just the right amount of patterning but also incorporated increases and decreases to create a wavey edge. 

I fell in love with this stitch pattern when I came across it on pinterest, it was lacey but not too lacey and used a combination of lace sts and twisted ribbing. Adjusting the pattern so that it was more of a border stitch with a waved edge meant more movement in the pattern and also gave visual interest. 

The increases for the center section are worked within the garter stitch and it is simple to work more or less increases if you desire a wider or narrower shawl. The lace double yarnover scalloped edging is also based on garter stitch and speaks to the garter stitch center.

This pattern is really easily adjusted for a different gauge or yardage, you can work the increases until you have a width you like, work even until you have about 5-7% more than half the yarn (the bind off always seems to take more than the cast on, but you can work until you have 2-3% more than half left if you feel like the thrill of it), then work repeats until you are back to 1 garter stitch.

SALE! For the week of June 9th to June 16th 2015 if you buy the Aegaea pattern you can choose 1 other Little NutMeg Productions pattern for free! Hop on over to Ravelry, put both in your cart and the price of the second pattern will be deducted from the total. 

You can get a copy of Aegaea on Ravelry here

54” long, 5.5” wide at edge 8.5” wide at center

MJ Yarns, Silken DK Weight [85% polwarth wool, 15% silk; 290 yds/100 g]; cerulean twilight, 1 skein, this shawl uses 93% of the skein. 

1 set US #7/ 4.5 mm 24 inch circular needle or size needed to obtain the correct gauge

Stitch markers, Tapestry needle

21 sts/28 rows = 4” in Garter Stitch after blocking
16 sts/27 rows = 4” Charted Pattern after blocking