Ah, gradients. So lovely, and so easy to do by holding two strands of yarn together.
A few calculations and this winding advice will take the guesswork out of starting and ending your gradient project. Check it out:
“What is this lovely project?” you may be asking. It’s a new design that will debut at fibre space during the Metro Yarn Crawl. The pattern will be free with the purchase of the Pepperberry cashmere lace I used for the project. If you can’t make it to fibre space during the crawl, don’t worry. The pattern will be available as a pdf on Ravelry soon.
The top of the shawl (solid blue created by holding together two strands of blue) uses half the blue yarn, total. The other half of the blue yarn is held together with the green yarn in the second segment.
So here’s the conundrum: You’ve wound a cake of blue yarn. If you’re using Pepperberry Cashmere (like the sample), the cake will weigh about 25g. So, do you take from both ends of the cake to hold together two strands of blue? You could, but if you’re using this yarn you’ll get a terrible snarl. It’s sort of sticky and very delicate.
Instead, follow this procedure.
Step 1: Wind your skein into a cake. Place it on a scale.
Step 2: Set up your ball winder.
Step 3: Wind until the original cake weighs three-quarters of its full weight (in this case, 18g).
Step 4: Break the yarn and remove the new cake from the winder. It should weigh one-quarter the weight of the original cake (more or less). Mine should weigh 6g, but it weighs 5g. How did that happen? I’m guessing my $10 weigh-your-food-for-fitness scale isn’t very precise. (I just noticed it says “The Biggest Loser” under the little icon of the guy raising his arms. Nice!)
Step 5: Knit with one strand from each cake. When the smaller cake is gone, it’s time to join your new color.
By following this procedure, you won’t waste any of your yarn and you’ll avoid the snarls that come from working with two ends of the same cake. Do the same thing for your final color. Consider all the fabulous things you can make using gradients!