Over the last few months I’ve become rather obsessed with gradients. I’ve been putting a collection together and it’s really inspiring me for the EYF class I’ll be teaching in March. When people talk about gradients they can mean several different things; sometimes it means a colour that graduated from light to dark within the same colour family (also referred to as Ombre) or alternatively it may be a gradient that graduates from one colour to another. The terms are often used interchangeably.
There are many different way to create gradients. Here I’ve outlined a few that I’ve come across with photo examples of each. Knitting with gradients is so much fun, you can’t wait to see how the next colour looks knitted up!
1. Mini-skein gradients
This is very much as it sounds, a larger skein is broken down into several mini-skeins (could be any number but 5 seems to be fairly common).
Here is an example of a single colour gradient going from light to dark green (Shaded Olives from The Knitting Goddess). This set has 5 different colours.
This graduated set moves from a deep pink to a pale pastel pink (Party of 5, Sweet Georgia, Hanami).
This is an example of a mini-skein set that had related colours graduating from dark to light and then to dark again in a different colour (Dragonfly Fibers sock gradient set, Winter Woods).
2. Single skein gradients
This is a single skein of yarn that has been dyed so that it gradually moves from one colour to another. This can be one single colour graduation over the entire skein or it can be shorter colour gradients so that it goes through a few colour changes (this is a pretty close sister to some of the more subtle self-striping yarns).
These yarns are an example of a single skein gradient that moves from one colour to another across a single skein (Knitcircus Greatest of Ease ‘Gnarly Dude’ and Lavish ‘Brass and Steam’).
Here again we have a single skein gradient but it moves from a very pale/white to a deep pink in the single skein (Freia fine handpaints Ombre Grande ‘Valentine’)
3. DIY gradients
There is nothing stopping you from creating your own gradients. If you’ve got an extensive yarn collection gather similar weight yarns together and see if you can create a pleasing gradient with what’s in your stash. Any yarn supplier that has a wide range of colours is perfect for creating gradients. Look for a yarn supplier that would typically supply yarn for complex colourwork and you should easily be able to create your own gradient with their yarn.
Here is a range of Navia Duo colours that are close enough to each other that they can be combined to create a gradient.
If you’re taking the ‘Painting with Rainbows’ class with me at EYF you’ll want to bring a selection of gradient colours with you. You can either come with a pre-purchased pack or alternatively you can make your own. I’ve been digging through the EYF vendors to see who has some gradient yarn in their shops and this is what I’ve come up with, so you can either stock up before the class or grab some in the marketplace afterward to practice your new skills!
Single skein gradient:
Wide Colour ranges for DIY gradient sets: