Archives For MKAL

This very special guest post began its life as a message on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group, in the Summertide MKAL thread. There have been so many wonderful conversations going on about colour, but this post just jumped off the page. Shelley, also known as MisKnitz on Ravelry, wrote this very inspiring piece about how she decided on colours for Summertide. It’s a captivating example of just how personal these project choices are for us as creative people, and the language she uses is so beautiful and evocative. It really captures so much of the soul I put into the Summertide pattern, and Shelley hasn’t even seen the first clue yet! I thought her process and storytelling deserved a wider audience, so I asked her if I could share it here with the wider Curious Handmade community. I know you’ll love it as much as I did. 


In choosing colors for my project, I really pondered Helen’s description of her inspiration for this MKAL pattern – that glorious feeling of summer and how when this time of year rolls around, we want to hold on to it as long as we can – and asked myself the question, “What does summer mean to me?” The answer was easy …


I live in Minnesota. Land of 10,000 Lakes. (Actually 11,842 named lakes of a certain size and over 15,000 lakes when the smaller, unnamed bodies of water are included.) Land of Sky Blue Water. (“Sky blue water” is the English translation of the Dakota word “Minnesota.”) When one thinks “Minnesota,” one thinks “lakes.”

Growing up and living in Minnesota, my life has always revolved around lakes. I’ve spent countless hours over the years on and in our beautiful lakes. To this day, I spend as many hours as I can enjoying them – almost every weekend from May through September, my family and I are at the lake cabin.

So once I gave it some thought, choosing colors for this project was easy. Lake = Blue. However, not just “blue.” Spend time on a lake, and not only will you see every shade of blue imaginable, you will seen grays, greens, purples, whites, yellows, pinks and oranges. All, however, touched with blue. The light blue, almost clear, shallow water. The navy and purple of deep, deep waters. The gray and black of a reflected stormy sky and the bright crisp blue of a clear sky. The smokey white reflections of passing clouds. The bright, foamy turquoise of a boat’s wake. The greenish water surrounding a field of rushes, cattails and lily pads. The pinks, oranges and yellows of the rising sun on the calm morning lake and the reddish glow of the sun setting on the lake’s western edge, all bathed in the blue of the lake and sky. The purple-black bottomless depths of a lake at night with the reflected stars dancing on the surface. The roiling steel blue-gray and white of whitecaps on a windy day. It’s all there. It’s all blue.

So, I threw out my notion of picking colors just because they looked good together and they happened to be in my stash. I discarded thoughts of using warm fall colors or the deep jewel tones often associated with winter. Yes, I will be wearing the shawl during those seasons, but the point of the shawl is to capture the feeling of summer and wrap myself in it during the cold, gray days of winter. Perhaps this winter I will ice skate or ski on the frozen lake wearing my Summertide shawl and I will compare the colors of an awake summer lake to the sleeping lake of winter – still beautiful but without the depth and variety of color of a lake in summer.

With all of that in mind, with my large TML stash laid out in front of me, my hands instantly reached for these two skeins. The Celadon is breathtaking. I’ve had this skein in my stash for years and have never been able to bring myself to knit with it. I knew the project had to be special. It is predominantly a cool greenish blue, but take a closer look and you’ll see pale, washed out blue; smokey lavender; light, steely-gray; fresh light green; jewel-like turquoise; and a hint of dusky pink. All colors represented in the lake depending on the time of day, the weather, the depth of the water, and the movement of the water. This color represents the ever-changing color of the lake.


But, always, there is the blue. The blue is predominant, and the second, darker skein is that base. That “ever present” nature of the lake. Despite it’s changeable mood, the blue personality of the lake is always there. Ink is a deep, deep blue that looks like a rich, dark purple depending on the light and the colors that surround it. To me it represents the solid base of the lake – the inky darkness of the deepest waters. The lake’s foundation in the earth.


As with most yarns, the colors change depending on the light and which colors they’re surrounded by. The Celadon can look very greenish or very blueish. The pink and lavender tones can be very noticeable or not so much. The Ink can look like a deep navy blue or like a royal purple. The surprise of seeing which colors come through will be part of the charm of this shawl just as they are a part of the lake!

I hope to wear the completed shawl and feel surrounded by the lake and capture that feeling of summer all year long.

Thank you so much to Shelley for allowing me to repost this lovely reflection on the blog. There are still a couple of days left before the Summertide MKAL officially begins, so if you’d like to join Shelley, myself, and over 480 other knitters (so far!), come over to Ravelery! The pattern is on sale now, and the first clue will arrive on September 10th. 

I’m so happy to be able to share this post with you. Kristen (the yarn genius behind Skein’s hand-dyed loveliness) is visiting the blog today to give us some inspiration in the days leading up to the start of the Summertide MKAL. This lady knows a lot about colour! Her beautiful yarn will be available for pre-order on Friday at Skein, perfectly timed for the beginning of the MKAL! Thanks so much, Kristen


Hello everyone!  It’s Kristen from Skein here to help give you a few tips on selecting colour combinations for the Summertide Shawl MKAL.  As you know, the mystery shawl is going to be knit from two colours.  Here are a couple of points to help you choose a winning colour combination

1. Choose What You Love

Go to your stash, your LYS or online and find ONE skein of yarn in a colour that makes your heart sing.  Don’t think about anything else; just let your eyes wander over the colours until you find ‘the one’.

2. Time to Decide


Now it’s time to choose a second colour, and here’s where you need to stop and ask yourself a few questions:

1. Do you want there to be a lot of contrast, which will turn the shawl into a bold statement?   or

2. Do you want a more subtle effect?

If you want to knit a shawl with high contrast, then you might want to look for a complementary colour (the colour that sits opposite on the colour wheel).  For example, if you have chosen purple, you might want to look for a complementary yellow.  However, if you’re after something more subtle, then choose colours that have a similar hue, known as analogous colours (colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel).

Another way of brightening or toning down a colour combination is by playing around with tone.  Basically, tone is the lightness or darkness of a colour.  For example, a very pale lilac will have less contrast than a vivid violet.  If you have chosen a pale colour and you want to give your combination a lift, choose a bright second colour. Or, if you want to keep your colour combination subtle, select a colour that has a similar tone.  If in doubt, choose a grey or neutral.  Greys and neutrals paired with any colour is a fail safe choice.

3. Test Your Colour Combo

So, now you have chosen your yarns, let’s see if you will like them together.  There’s a very simple way to do this: take both of your yarns and twist them together – are you happy with how they look?  Twisting the yarns together will give you a good indication as to how these two colours will knit up.

We have pre-orders available for this KAL, so I thought it would be fun to share with you a few selected colour combinations.

1. Boho – This combo will add a little zing to your shawl, a bright pop of variegated colour mixed with a subtle semi-solid.



2. Bright and Bold – These are all very strong colours that will contrast nicely together


3. Chic – The fail safe grey paired with a pop of colour, which is great for those wanting a little contrast but not too much!


4. Chilled Out – Pale shades together are always very soothing; they are perfect for those who are after something subtle.


misty sea


5.  Minimal – Again we see grey mixed with light colours, or you can opt for a monochromatic colour combination using a dark and pale grey.


6. Natural – A nice mix of neutrals, or add a hint of green for a natural look.


7. Romantic – Use shades of pink to create an ultra-feminine combination.


8. Touch of Whimsy – Use a strong semi-solid and pair it with a variegated to get a whimsical feel, OR, pair light and dark colours together for contrast.  And, if you’re undecided, don’t forget neutrals!  They will work well with all colours.


Have a wonderful time selecting your colours. If you need help with a colour combination, I’m always happy to give advice!  Finally, I just want to say a big thank you to Helen for asking me to be a part of the Summertide Shawl MKAL.

Happy knitting!

Thanks again to Kristen and Skein for being such a big part of the Summertide MKAL. If you haven’t joined us on the Ravelry thread yet, come on over! I’ll be giving away 10 free copies of the pattern before it officially goes on sale, so set up your project page and jump in with a post if you’d like to be entered in the draw. It’s a great way to get to know the other knitters and really share the excitement and surprise. 

Summertide MKAL

I’ve been hinting about this for a few weeks now, and I’m so excited to finally give you all the first taste of this Mystery Knit Along!

Hold on to summer with 8 weeks of knitting, camaraderie and mystery!

We will kick off on Tuesday 1 September when the pattern will be available to pre-purchase on Ravelry. The first clue will be released on Thursday 10 September, with weekly clues released until 1 October.

The Pattern

There’s always a certain wistfulness as the summer drifts towards its end. Our thoughts turn to things like school and schedule, and the freedom and joy of long summer days begins to fade. But there’s another side to the end of summertime: as we return from summer vacations and kids head back to school, pockets of time may begin to open up, where you can indulge yourself with projects of your own. It’s a time to set off on some adventures just for you.

That’s where the Summertide Shawl Mystery Knit-Along will work its magic.

The design is inspired by those precious holiday feelings: festive freedom from workaday responsibilities, the wanderlust of global nomads exploring a brand new city, and the glittery joy of dancing the year’s shortest night away at a solstice festival. Summertide reinterprets familiar favourites with a carefree bohemian vibe: you can look forward to beautiful lace and a modern, feminine and romantic sensibility with a twist. It will keep you guessing with every clue, filling your free moments with a delicious sense of discovery at every turn.

I’ve written Summertide in my beloved percentage checklist format so you can keep track of stitch counts, yardage requirements and pace yourself throughout the KAL. I’ve charted the lace sections, too. With all that reassurance it will be easier to surrender yourself to the mystery of making.

The Yarn

As always, the fibre is a huge part of the experience. The pattern requires two 100g skeins of sock yarn, approximately 400m/440yds each.  It’s designed for two different colours, although the shawl will look great in one colour too. Two of my very favourite yarn people are coming on board to help us choose the colours (and to contribute some beautiful skeins for giveaways!). If you’re anything like me, you might already have some sock yarn in your stash patiently waiting for it’s turn, but if you’re even more like me, you may want to indulge in some brand new skeins just for this very special project. Happily, at Curious Handmade we’re always ready to enable your yarn love!

The recommended yarns for Summertide are:

Skein Top Draw Sock

Skein is about to have a shop update on Friday (always a hotly awaited event!) and we  have a guest post from Kristen coming up recommending some absolutely wonderful colour combinations (I’ve had a sneak preview and they are breathtaking!)

Tosh Merino Light

This perennial favourite can be found at one of our long-time sponsors, Meadow Yarn, and we’ll also have a guest post from Anj about her favourite colour combos! I think you’ll be very inspired.

The Camaraderie!

I’ve started a thread on Ravelry for the MKAL, so it’s never too early to join me there! It’s a great way to meet each other and share the surprise with the community!

In fact, I’ll be having a little draw to give away 10 copies of the pattern, and all you have to do to enter is create a project page on Ravelry and post in the thread to let me know you’re joining us!

So hang onto some of that summer time feeling for yourself as we head into autumn, and join us in the Summertide Shawl Mystery Knitalong!

If you haven’t signed up for the Curious Handmade Newsletter yet, this would be a great time to join us: there will be special early bird discounts for all subscribers.

Happy knitting!