This post has been a good long while in coming. For those who aren’t aware, the Find Your Fade phenomenon revolves around the Find Your Fadeshawl pattern released by Andrea Mowry in December of 2016. It’s taken the knitting world by storm with knitters raiding their stashes and shops doing up kits all to make this one gorgeous, ginormous shawl. Notorious for how its colors melt into one another, it seems as knitters we just can’t resist this shawl. I knew straight away that I wanted to make one, but I think that feeling was pretty universal across the knitting world.
At first, I thought that maybe I’d snap up a kit from a fave shop. I have to admit I’m actually really a sucker for kits. These days, if I buy commercial yarn it’s often a kit for a specific design. It’s a way to try new yarns or to see color through someone else’s eyes. Plus, everything I need is neatly packaged all together and the ease of that fact is just really… it’s relaxing for me. As I browsed kits though, nothing really spoke to me. I decided to turn to my stash to find my fade. As I looked over my stash, I realized that it would be pretty amazing to do a Find Your Fade shawl entirely in my own handspun. And since that moment, that’s the only fade I’ve been seeking.
The handspun fade definitely did not just leap forward fully arranged and perfect. I pulled things out of my stash and laid them out in order, but nothing. I’d spin new yarns up and add them to the stash and then I’d pull things out (again) and squint really hard to try to see my fade, but to no avail. Two months passed while I searched unsuccessfully. And then, on February 28, 2017, while I stood in my living room doing yoga, staring at my stash displayed in a shelving unit in front of me, there it was.
I’d found my fade with these 7 skeins. They are from Left to Right:
- Classy Squid Fiber Co‘s Cloudy with a Chance of BFL batts
- Three Waters Farm‘s Stand of Trees
- a batt carded and gifted to me by a friend combined with a random partial braid I had in my stash
- Nest‘s Agaricus
- Naturally Knitty‘s Grumpy Rainbow rolags plied with Mustard Fun Dips rolags
- Three Waters Farm‘s Foggy Fall Morning
- Three Waters Farm‘s Heartache
I was so excited! I had just a couple quick projects to finish before I could cast-on. And then less than a week later we found out we’d be moving. I managed to cast-on and work on it a bit in mid-March while the kiddos swam at our annual trip to the waterpark, but I never really hit my groove with the knitting because we were all over the place. I nipped at a couple stitches here and there after the move and then summer rolled around and it was big enough to be impractical to both carry around with me and knit on (it’s large and in summer, that quickly translates to uncomfortably warm).
So my fade hibernated until late last year.
Thankfully, no THANKFULLY(with all sorts of bells and whistles and shouts of joy!), I’d taken good notes for once. Even though I had to rip back a bit where I’d — ahem — pulled the needles out when I was showing it to someone and lost a few stitches, it was easy enough to recover and get back into it. And once I started back in on it, there was no tearing it out my hands. I cast-off the night we got back from our little cabin adventure earlier this month.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a very large shawl. I mean, this thing is like 8 feet long! Taking a photo of the entire thing is kind of a challenge, so I thought I would share snippets of it before I share the entire project. I’m convinced there’s no great way to do this, so I just snapped a series of photos that will serve as kind of a pieced panorama of detail photos — I hope that makes sense! It was the best I could come up with for photographing such a substantial piece of knitting, especially in winter when my outdoors and lighting options are somewhat limited.
So here we go!
This was the cast-on edge…
You’ll notice that this yarn (as well as a couple others) were spun a bit heavier than the rest. Since I didn’t spin specifically for this pattern, my yarns aren’t exactly the same weights. Personally, I think it works fine. This one — more than the others – I definitely could have blocked out more aggressively, but my blocking was very crude on this piece — again, due to the size and a utter lack of low traffic areas in the house. So I wasn’t too particular with things like convincing the lace section here to open up.
You can just catch that cast-on yarn at the far left below…
And you can see the next four colors as they melt into each other.
And here is where the pattern reaches its widest point. You can — again — tell the blocking is a bit lacking along the edge, but I am going to worry about that another, warmer day. If you look at the more yellow section in the middle here, this was the section that was the nail-biter for me.
That yellow yarn just freaked me out. It really didn’t look great next to the teal & orange to the left of it, BUT years of working with color has taught me that how a color looks depends a whole lot on all the colors that surround it. I knew my skeins looked good all in a row, so even though I had serious reservations, I kept knitting through the yellow to the next color.
Once the reds and oranges and greys of the second last color started working their magic, I relaxed. I knew it was going to look good. In fact, I knew it was going to be truly special. The melting and blending were working as I’d planned to incorporate that worrisome yellow.
This is all fine and dandy and the different melting colors are lovely, but this is a project that you simply can’t appreciate fully in pieces. Because the magic is in the putting it all together…
And this project, more than any before, takes my breath away. I think knowing that I spun all the yarn with my own two hands definitely gives me a feeling of accomplishment with it, especially considering how much knitting this project is as well. Beyond that fact, though, the idea that it is essentially made up of 7 random, misfit skeins that each plays an essential role in bringing the piece together… I don’t know, it just feels like such a wonderful life lesson, too. The idea that the independent elements of a project or a team don’t all have to get along to work effectively together. All you have to do is find the right position for each piece, and the arguments will fade and the complementary aspects will be able to sing. So say the colors, so says life. Am I just waxing philosophical now and projecting onto my knitwear? Perhaps. But what can I say? I do like it when my knitwear philosophizes. That’s just how I roll.
In any case, I am delighted that my fade has been found. Delighted that the months of searching and spinning and rearranging finally led me to this finished project, where the colors that don’t always get along sing in beautiful harmony and I, I am one warm, colorful woman on a cold, cloudy day in the middle of winter thinking about the power of finding ways to convince misfit pieces to fade into their complementary counterparts.