Shawl Study: A Trio of Fades


What can I say? A few months ago I was sucked into the “Find Your Fade”  (by Andrea Mowrey) vortex and spent days and days dreaming of color combinations for shawls. I shopped the stash over and over putting different color combinations together. I agonized over strategies to make the colors work in the shawl; should the colors be connected across the shawl (like a quilt) or just cleanly feed into the next color in the sequence. What would happen if I used monochromatic colors? Would it work to use colors more than once to continue to anchor the shawl? Why did I not have more speckled yarn in my stash?

This got to be really bad. I would get out of bed in the night to hunt for a skein that I suddenly thought about. I settled on color sequences again and again only to abandon some of the yarns that I loved the most. I took yarns to the LYS to get help from my friends. More skeins were bought and I finally settled down with three sets of yarn hopping up and down demanding to be made into one of these shawls.

I took pictures of the yarn sequences and wrote the knitting order onto the labels of the yarn. I started the Ravelry project pages and committed to the Fade study project. Early in February I cast on the first one, and late last week I finished the three shawl project.

Here they are!

So what did I do different with these three shawl? Check out each shawl’s story below.

Shawl Collage
The first Fade out of the gate…

This shawl really put me through the wringer. I had some great fall-colored yarn from Dream in Color, so I decided to use it to center the shawl. Every yarn that I used matched to the Dream yarn (the middle yarn between the red and purple in the close-up shots above), and to make it all work I used two skeins of that yarn to make two sequences. I started knitting with a lovely brown, and then ripped it all out, bought a dark red Tosh merino light called Heartheat, and used that instead. Later on I tossed out another yarn that I just loved and used the Heartbeat again in the middle of the shawl to keep the continuity with the Dream yarn. At the end of the shawl I had used only 5 colors of yarn and tossed out even more contenders. I think I needed to stop thinking about the concept of a “Fade” and did better concentrating on what would make a truly lovely and useful shawl for me. My Ravelry notes and yarn sequence is here.

Shawl Collage
March knitting found me hard at work on the second Fade.

The second shawl was so easy to put together. I had three amazing silk/alpaca yarns in  shades of gold, brown and deep red that I bought at the Interweave Yarn Fest last year. They went nicely together, but they were really monochromatic. Digging in the stash I quickly found a blue that wanted to play with the golden-brown yarn, and the dark gray yarn linked cleanly to the blue. Great. I had 5 yarns, and wasn’t quite sure how to link them. Oh, wait. Speckled yarns!! I looked at Tosh Merino Light online and realized that skeins of Yoko and Marfa would make the transitions work cleanly. Ta-daa. Not a gradient, but every yarn gets along with the ones next to it. This shawl is great with almost everything that I wear, and even better I never questioned my color choices while knitting it; no struggles or dashes back to the LYS. My Ravelry notes and the yarn order are here.

Shawl Collage
April knitting was the fun spring/summer shawl. 

My last shawl is the one that is most like a “Fade” in that the colors cleanly connect from each skein to the next, but there is a lot of continuity between the colors across the shawl.  The difference in the textures of the shawl yarns became another type of study as I knitted. The Alegria was wonderfully squishy and bouncy. I loved the way the Dream in Color Jilly showed off the lace (the detail in the picture above with MacKenzie’s paw on it) and while the color of the Hedgehog Fibers yarn was beautifully rich, it was a nightmare to knit as it had the life of string and was splitty to boot. The Ravelry notes and yarn order is here.

So, there they are.

Now that you’ve “met”each shawl, here they are again without those flowers in the way. Each is unique and I’m so happy that I made all three of them. I am, however, done with shawls for awhile.

Yep. Time to get to work on finishing up all my little (emphasis on little) abandoned projects that have been lurking in a basket waiting for me to get back to them. No more shopping the stash for awhile. No decisions. All I have to do is pull out a bag with the yarn, pattern and half finished item and get to work. Even better, these are quick to finish projects like socks, mitts and scarfs. Woohoo! Compared to knitting these shawls it is almost like instant gratification.

MacKenzie is looking forward to having my lap all to himself again, too.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and two exceptionally spoiled kittens. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

20 thoughts on “Shawl Study: A Trio of Fades”

    1. I really love the second one, the brown, blue and cream one, but they are all great and will work will in different seasons. I think of the pink/purple one as the summer shawl, and the first one I knit as the fall one. I had a family member mention that they would like one of the shawls, but no way!

  1. Ohhhh, I love them all!!! What fun to have THREE to choose from every time you want to wear one! 🙂

  2. Wow GORGEOUS!!

    I just started this pattern a month ago but am having trouble at every turn. People at the shop i go to say the pattern has mistakes in it and i am too new to knitting to understand where they are. For instance, at the end of every section where it says how many stitches to have I always have the wrong number. Right now, I finally got to the end of the section where you have 137 stitches. but I have 68 on one side and 64 on the other so I don’t know what to do and i don’t know how that happens. i watch every stitch so carefully but i obviously am making mistakes. one thing I think i may be getting wrong is the section where it says to have 26 before the marker and 25 after the marker… I think I REVERSED the 26 and 25!! I made it have 26 on the LEFT side of the marker and 25 on the RIGHT of the marker if you’re looking at the RS as you start that section with 51 stitches. that is the only thing i’m thinking that is causing my mess up. i’m really frustrated because i was so very excited to do this and its my first real “pattern” since I was in high school. i’m just getting back to knitting. i was lured into this stunning sample piece in the local yarn shop.

    I’ve literally ripped it out 20 times. and now i’ve lost my joy in it… PLUS, i don’t know what i’m doing wrong… i wish there was a video of it or greater explanation for those of us who are not expert knitters.

    I can’t get in to the local shop when its open because i take care of my elderly handicapped mom. she isn’t up until after 5 pm and i can’t leave her. she stays up all night… makes it impossible to do anything in the day time…

    I’ve watched Drea’s two short youtube videos on the lace stitch but that doesn’t help me with the overall pattern that i’m messing up.

    The woman who’s done the shawl at the shop told me there are lots of mistakes in the pattern and you just have to fix it as you go! I’m not good enough to understand any of where those “mistakes” are. Supposedly, they’ve fixed those in the Ravelry pattern so I finally bought that one.

    The one they sell at the shop is Drea’s older version of the pattern with the mistakes in it but they don’t even tell you it has mistakes in it when you buy it!

    So, I don’t know what side of the marker the even number of stitches is with the one more than the other side.

    Every time i do the lace, the pattern never matches up to how its supposed to with the number of stitches when you come to the center spine slip stitch etc. So, i must have the wrong number of stitches on each side — backwards….

    Uggg, is there a blog discussion thread on how to do the pattern somewhere?


    Sorry to sound so pathetic!

    1. Oh, wow. I just found your long comment when I logged on to work on a blog post. I can feel your pain and frustration right through the screen of the computer!! I am so empathetic to the frustration of tackling a big project like this one with minimal support, and I totally understand how limited your free time is while taking care of your mother. (Kudos to you for doing that, too!!) I found the lace to be frustrating, and one of my friends was so far off on her stitch count that she has put her shawl away for the time being.

      I will have to take out the pattern again and really look at it give you direct replies to some of the things that are driving you crazy (like where are the mistakes, and what is happening with the stitch count…) but I did go hunting for some resources to help. Here is the link to the pattern page on Ravelry that has info on the pattern: I just noticed that she has tutorial links for the lace and the center decrease posted on the page.

      The center decrease tutorial is here:
      The lace tutorial is here:

      The discussion board that was used in the MKAL earlier this year is

      I wonder if you can find some information in there that will help you.

      I do remember that I also had some problems with the stitch numbers. At one point I just knitted a couple together near the center to make the count even out again, and for one shawl I had to do a lot of fudging because I totally misread the pattern. Ugh. I can’t believe that they are not being more supportive in the shop. I’m at my son’s this weekend (I am his support system and go up there every weekend to cook and clean for him so he’ll have clean clothes and food for the week) so I can’t look at my pattern (I do remember that I wrote notes to myself all over it as I found mistakes), but once I get home I’ll take a look and send you another reply if anything jumps out at me.

      Don’t be discouraged. This is your shawl, there are no knitting police, and it doesn’t have to be “perfect” for it to be wonderful and a joy for you to wear. Hang in there!! Good luck and send me another note to let me know how things are going.


      1. Rats! I just saw that you already watched the videos. I will look at the pattern and at least work out the stitch numbers for you. I think that it is the center decrease that is causing the trouble.

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