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Case Study: Deciding on Debbie W’s Fox Paws Color Scheme

My new friend Debbie in California is excited about doing the Fox Paws knitalong but has struggled with color selection. She ordered a pile of Gloss Fingering yarn from Knit Picks and, after sifting through, nothing seemed to click. Then she saw this photo and it all came together.

butterfly paws image

 

(Does anyone have a credit for this photo?)

She selected these yarns plus black to make her project:

butterfly paws yarn

 

We conferenced online to walk through the process of creating her color scheme. I’ll share with you some of the screenshots of our collaboration.

First, I used Adobe Color to mock up Debbie’s Palette.

adobe color screenshot of Debbie's Palette

She wasn’t sure it captured the colors correctly so I tried again for a lighter green:

adobe color screenshot of Debbie's Palette 2

 

More true to life, Debbie said. She told me she was surreptitiously holding her yarn up to her iPhone and hoping no one saw her…

 

I opened up Xandy Peter’s coloring page for Fox Paws in MS Paint and pasted in the palette. We tried for the first color, purple as A. Then, tested out yellow as the border color.

Debbies A D

She liked it! We filled in all of the D as yellow. Now, what should border the yellow?

Debbie's A D What next.

First we tried blue to border the yellow.

Debbie's A D Try Blue

Not our favorite. We tried black. Better!

Debbie's A D Try black

Next decision, what to border the black? We went for the bold blue.

Debbie's A B D Try E as blue

 

We both loved it! That left only to fill in the green. It worked beautifully:

Debbie's Screenshot of all colors filled in

 

And here’s the final jpeg of the image that she can use when she knits her Fox Paws:

Debbie's fox paws coloring page image complete

Happy knitting, Debbie! We want lots of photos!

Follow Debbie’s project here.

For an in-depth explanation of using Paint to plan your Fox Paws colors, click here for my earlier blog post, Playing With Colors.

 

 

Fox Paws Updated Class Overview with Materials List

Fox Paws Knitalong and Workshop Sessions @ Serial Knitters, Kirkland, WA (www.serialknitters.com)
{In-person workshop sessions: March 1, March 8, March 22 – 1:30 to 3:30}

KAL Deadline: April 25th at Midnight – Drawing in the shop April 26th for a $50 Serial Knitters Gift Certificate and a free pattern from Wooly Wonder. {This date represents a change; originally it was a shorter time period.}

Virtual knitalong on the SK Ravelry Forum: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/serial-knitters

To qualify for the drawing, post your completed project on the Serial Knitters Ravelry Forum in the FO thread by midnight, April 25th. Both workshop attendees and virtual participants are included in the drawing.

Session 1: New Stitches, Yarn and Color Selection.Learn the stitches with two practice mini-projects from Xandy Peters: Star and Leaf projects; Select your yarn colors and experiment with stripe/color order.

Materials needed for Session 1:

  • Medium-weight, bouncy scrap yarn. Pick something with some stretch to it. It’s nice to have a couple of colors for experimenting. Weight doesn’t matter, just pick something that is comfortable for experimenting.
  • Needles to match. You may want to bring a few different types to see what works best. Wood needles can be tricky for this project as there is a lot of stress on the needles and some have experienced breakage. Circulars are suggested because of the flexible cable.
  • The usual notions and tools, stitch markers, scissors, etc.
  • Optional: Laptop or tablet
  • Optional: Color scheme ideas

Session 2: Pattern Study and Swatch.Decode the pattern, discover patterns within the pattern, practice with a swatch. Discuss stitch marker placement and lifeline strategies. Decide on your width and look at the numbers.

Materials needed for Session 2:

  • Fox Paws Pattern
  • Project Yarn and needles
  • The usual notions and tools, stitch markers, scissors, etc.
  • Optional: Laptop or tablet

Session 3: Community Knit. If you haven’t already, cast on and begin. Share your progress and troubleshoot concerns. Get tips and suggestions.

Materials needed for Session 3:

  • Your work in progress

Fox Paws KAL starts this Sunday!

There are still a few slots left for the in-person Fox Paws Workshop at Serial Knitters on 3/1, 3/8 and 3/22. Contact the shop if you want to sign up!

Serial Knitters
8427 122nd Ave NE
Kirkland, WA 98033
425-242-0086

If you are joining us virtually, look here for Virtual Session 1 of the knitalong, officially starting this Sunday (but I might actually have already posted it, ahem).

Everyone knitting- and learning-along with us is encouraged to tag Instagram posts with #foxpawsKAL, #serialknitters and tag me @pamelamama. If you aren’t on Instagram, it’s a fantastic place for knitters. #join #prettypictures #knitstagram #knittersofinstagram #etc

Come say hello on the Ravelry Serial Knitters Forum.

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/serial-knitters/topics

 

knitting from generation to generation…

Today at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival I took a class from the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McFee,  called “Knitting for Speed and Efficiency”. We studied various ways of knitting and strategies to maximize the efficiency of each. First, Stephaine suggests that there are only two kinds of knitters…. wait for it… think what they might be…

 

 

… those who knit for money and those who don’t. (Well what did YOU think the two kinds were? Leave your answer in the comments, I’m curious.)  So of these two types, to whom should we look to for excellent models of speed and efficiency? Hmmm… Seems most logical to look to the knitters whose livelihoods depend on speed, efficiency and the ability to continue to knit without destroying their bodies from repetitive strain injury…

 

Stephanie then describes three main types of knitting: picking, throwing and lever knitting and the strengths and drawbacks of each style. Then we delved into the magical world of lever knitting, a technique that is the least used and most promising for efficiency-seekers. These are techniques used by our knitting predecessors who carried their knitting work throughout the day, completing an enviable volume of garments.

 

So we learn from generations past to enrich our practice today.

 

Aunt Gloria was my Grandma Julie’s sister. When Aunt Gloria died I inherited her colorful collection of metal knitting needles as neither of her daughters was a knitter. I’ve grown my collection of more modern needles, so I don’t use the long straight needles very often. They live in a beautiful jar created by my friend Melissa, and I have used them to teach many people to knit over the years. Well, guess what you need to use for lever knitting? Long, straight needles.

A few weeks ago, my cousin Rochelle mentioned she was missing her mom. and that a hand-knit item made using those needles would feel like her mother’s embrace. So you see where I’m going with this?

 

Tonight I cast on a project using lever knitting, a technique from the generations, to knit a scarf for my cousin with her mother’s knitting needles. Thanks to Stephanie for giving me new, old tools.

 

Lever knitting project for Cousin Rochelle on Aunt Gloria’s needles.

A photo posted by pamela grossman (@pamelamama) on

Armpit knitting is happening #nofilter #pajamas #progress #leverknitting

A photo posted by pamela grossman (@pamelamama) on

#foxpawsKAL – playing with colors

fox paws coloring page image WIPWith five colors and complex patterning, it can be tricky to decide on the color order for your Fox Paws. Here are some tools and tricks to
help you get started. (Background on the Fox Paws KAL here.) Fox Paws’ designer, Xandy Peters, has created a coloring page for us to test out our color schemes. (Thanks, Xandy!) You can grab a jpeg of the coloring page HERE on her ravelry forum discussion page. A PDF of the coloring page comes with your pattern purchase on ravelry.

You can either print out the page and color it in with crayons, or follow the steps below to experiment online with possible layouts. I have a breakdown of the design elements below under the heading STRATEGY SUGGESTIONS.

First stop, today’s exciting discovery (courtesy of my well-informed husband, thanks Scott): color.adobe.com. Wow, is this amazing. You can put together five colors from your imagination, or use the program to convert a photo of your yarn into a palette.

Screen cap:

I used this program to make my palette in about four seconds, not including logging in to my old Adobe account. If you get yourself an account you can save your palette. See my blue arrow? It points to the button for importing your photo. Using a smartphone is a great way to expedite the process. The interface on my iPhone provided me with the same little picture of a camera… I uploaded the photo and it found my five colors:

IMG_0780.PNG

I moved the circles around until I found the best representation of my colors and then saved the swatch on my iPhone.

Then I got back on my PC and navigated to “My Themes”: https://color.adobe.com/my/themes/.  I used the snipping tool on my computer to take a screen shot of the palette and saved it as an image file. Voila:

foxpaws palette

If you have fancy image editing software and know how to use it, then I think you might have already stopped reading and started coloring. Share your color explorations here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/serial-knitters/topics/3134379 I have a bit more on strategy below… you may want to skip down there for some additional suggestions.

If not, here’s how to do it in paint!

Open the JPEG image in paint.

Widen the size of the image so you can paste your palette onto the page. Do this by grabbing the little box handle and pulling it out to the side. Blue arrow points to the little box handle.

fox paws coloring page in paint arrow to handle

 

Once you’ve made some space, paste in the screen shot of your palette.

fox paws coloring page image in paint

Paint has two tools you need to use. One is the “color picker” which looks like an eyedropper. This allows you to “pick” one of the colors from your palette and paint with it. Just select the eyedropper tool by clicking on it, then click on the color within the image to select it. The second tool is the paint bucket which allows you pour the paint into an outlined section. Choose the paint bucket tool by clicking on it, then pour into the desired section by clicking there. Note that Xandy has labeled the sections along the left edge. Use this as your guide to place the colors.

STRATEGY SUGGESTIONS

How is the color laid out in this design? The fox paws design repeats five times with five different color sequences. One way to get a handle on this is to color in all the A stripes from bottom to top and see how it progresses. Here is the design with all the As colored in. Look at it from the bottom up. fox paws coloring page image in paint PATTERN OF A

Starting at the bottom you see the color A steps up one element at a time. See what I mean? In the coloring page, she shows that after five repeats, you begin again with ABCDE.

The wide chevron swatch is always bordered by the same color on both sides, which to me makes a big impact on the color layout. My favorite way of experimenting was to start with a wide chevron section and place a color in it. Then decide on which two colors would be its borders. I filled those in on the coloring page. Then I filled in their counterparts throughout… Here I decided to start with a broad chevron of my green color (A), surrounded by gold (D). I filled in the chart:

fox paws coloring page image in paint A and D filled

Gosh, it’s lovely already. Now I have a wide swatch of the gold up near the top. I’ll try surrounding it with the orange.

fox paws coloring page image in paint A and D and B filledI’m still happy with it! In love, actually. So then I have two more colors to try. Since one of my colors is white, I only need to fill in one more section. Orange surrounded by white or purple? Purple.

fox paws coloring page image in paint COMPLETEWell, I love this one so much, which is a serious problem because I loved the last version I created as well. These are great problems to have.

Let me know how this swatching process works out for you! Our knitalong officially begins on March 1st. We’ll deconstruct the pattern elements, play with the special stacking stitches and agonize over our color decisions at our first session. See you at Serial Knitters for hands-on support, or see you on the Serial Knitters Ravelry forum for virtual camaraderie and photo-sharing. Feel free to head over to the KAL forum and post your photo explorations. No time to knit? Looky-loos are welcome to knit vicariously and offer encouragement and opinions on the forums and on Instagram with the hashtag #foxpawsKAL.

 

 

 

Are you ready for the FOX PAWS KAL?

Hello Knitters!

Have you seen Xandy Peters‘ fantastic Fox Paws design? It’s is all over my friends feed on Ravelry, turning heads and challenging even the esteemed Yarn Harlot who likens it to “Feather and Fan on smack”.  Knitters are rising to the challenge. I saw a gorgeous version worn by Debie Frable at Serial Knitters, my LYS and knew I couldn’t resist.

 

Fox Paws! Knit up in Canopy fingering. Pattern available on #ravelry

A photo posted by Serial Knitters Yarn Shop (@serialknitters) on


I am gearing up to lead a Fox Paws Knitalong – #foxpawsKAL. Are you in?  Two options:

  • There will be an in-person workshop series held at Serial Knitters yarn shop in Kirkland, WA. For those of you who want to come in person for the camaraderie and hands-on support, register by calling or popping in to the shop. Three two-hour sessions will be offered at the shop for the bargain price of $75.
  • For those of you sprinkled far and wide, join us virtually at the Serial Knitters forum on Ravelry. This option is open to everyone and is free.

Here’s the {k}nitty gritty:

Gearing up for the #foxpawsKAL

Fox Paws Knitalong and Workshop Sessions @ Serial Knitters, Kirkland, WA (www.serialknitters.com)

{In-person workshop sessions: March 1, March 8, March 22 – 1:30 to 3:30}

KAL Deadline: April 11th at Midnight  - Drawing in the shop April 12th for a $50 Serial Knitters Gift Certificate and a free pattern from Wooly Wonder.

Virtual knitalong on the SK Ravelry Forum: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/serial-knitters

To qualify for the drawing, post your completed project on the Serial Knitters Ravelry Forum in the FO thread by midnight, April 11th. Both workshop attendees and virtual participants are included in the drawing.

Session 1: New Stitches, Yarn and Color Selection. Learn the stitches with two practice mini-projects from Xandy Peterson: Star and Leaf projects; Select your yarn colors and experiment with stripe/color order.

Session 2: Pattern Study and Swatch. Decode the pattern, discover patterns within the pattern, practice with a swatch. Discuss stitch marker placement and lifeline strategies. Decide on your width and look at the numbers.

Session 3: Community Knit. If you haven’t already, cast on and begin. Share your progress and troubleshoot concerns. Get tips and suggestions.

 

Still not sure? I have a collection of information about the pattern here: http://bit.ly/foxpawsdoc. Have a look, see what you think, and decide if you are ready to give it a try! Casting on together March 1st. You can follow my practice knit in preparation for this KAL on instagram with the hashtag #foxpawsKAL.

Errata!

Yikes! During Part 2 of the Serial Knitters Highland Plumes Cowl KAL we found an ERROR in the chart. Gadzooks!

If you have the pattern, all you need to know is this:

Chart row 24 is missing two decreases. Row 24 should be identical to row 20.

For those of you who purchased the pattern through Ravelry, you can download the updated, beautified, clarified version in your library.

Happy knitting!

Long Tail Cast-on Tutorials, Tips and Tricks…

Hey Knitters, looking to learn the Long Tail Cast-On?  Here are some resources and suggestions to get you started…

Step One: Watch this lovely, simple tutorial from knittinghelp.com. If you follow the link and go over to their website, she has a lovely explanation of the qualities of this cast-on.

Step Two: Grab some scrap yarn and give it a go.

Step Three: Celebrate and post a picture of what you’ve done!

Alternate Step Three: Throw it on the ground, mutter curses and post here about the problems you are having.

Tips for stretchy cast-on success… I recently took a class from knitting guru Cat Bordhi. She talked about the secret to a stretchy cast-on. When you make your cast-on, don’t pull those stitches tight and sit them close together. Space them out evenly with a small equal space between each stitch… about the size of the height of the stitch. This leaves space for a lovely stretchy edge.

More tricks… How long should the tail be?
With the long-tail cast-on you need to estimate the length of tail needed in order to make all of your stitches. That can be a drag. One way to avoid this is to cast on using two balls of yarn, or two ends of the same ball of yarn. How?

I found Julie Weisenberger’s short and useful blog tutorial here that shows it in pictures: http://cocoknits.com/journal/tips-and-tutorials/no-more-estimating-tail-length-for-a-long-tail-co/

And here’s a clear, concise video version by Liat Gat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuuKDLtJq_k.

Check them both out and see if you want to give this method a try. The only downside is you have one more end to weave in at the end. However, in a future post I’m going to show you how to weave in your ends beautifully, so it’ll be nice to have some additional ends for practice …

Veterans, have other thoughts about the long-tail cast-on? Please share them here. Not everyone agrees on techniques because, luckily, we are all different. So, share your experience and any favorite resources you have.

Let’s practice casting on!

#outlanderKAL has begun!

We kicked off the in-person #outlanderKAL today at Serial Knitters!

The pattern, Highland Plumes, was inspired by this picture from costume designer Terry Dresbach‘s blog:

My version looks like this:

IMG_9574.JPG

 

Not a bad match, hm?

Here is my LYS owner’s version in Malabrigo Mecha:

Everyone is going crazy for that one, and no surprise. It glows! So, we got the knitters together today for part one of an in-person KAL.

#outlanderKAL #highlandplumes #KALatSK #serialknitters

A photo posted by pamela grossman (@pamelamama) on

Aren’t they adorable?

The majority of knitters, inspired by Debie Frable’s model, chose Malabrigo Mecha for the piece.  Second place, with two knitters, was the Classic Elite Chalet yarn, and one bold knitter chose the mega Malabrigo Rasta. All of the colors chosen were beautiful!

We kicked off by watching the steamy preview for the second half of season one. Have you seen it? Looky here: http://www.starz.com/…/vid…/da6176d76bb04503a0125c17febdbde0

Then, a few tutorials. New learning included: long tail cast-on, long tail cast-on from two balls of yarn, chart reading, yarn-overs, marker placement and a variety of decreases.

HP Student Cowls

 

One great joy of knitting with bulky yarn? Major progress was made by the end of our first meeting. Here are two student projects, zipping along. (Malabrigo Mecha was used for both.)

Are you knitting Highland Plumes? Tag your Instagram and FB project photos with #outlanderKAL and #highlandplumes so everyone can oooh and ahhhh. I can’t wait to see all the cowls. Project discussion and support is happening on the shop Ravelry page, here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/serial-knitters/3113177/1-25. Join us!

Pattern is here: Highland Plumes Cowl

Happy Knitting!

Oh, and here’s a bonus picture of me looking like a mad scientist/knitting teacher:

HP Class Teaching

 

 

New knitting pattern available!

Looky here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/highland-plumes-cowl

Plus, the coupon code CLAIRE will get you $2 off the pattern. PLUS you can get this pattern, Pulse Point,  for free when you buy anything in my ravelry store until January 31, 2015. hooray!

Fighting with WordPress, so keeping this brief!

Pattern support on FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/woolywonder/

Pattern support on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/wooly-wonder-pattern-support

Updated to Add: I’ve got online and in-person knitalongs happening. Get in touch if you want to join up!