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Vineyard Mystery Knitalong

Vineyard Mystery Knitalong

Announcing the upcoming Vineyard Mystery Knitalong! Join me in September to kick off autumn and relax after the back-to-school mania. (But let’s not think about THAT just yet.)

You’ll get to feel like a designer as you knit through each section, not knowing where you’ll end up. It’s exciting, isn’t it?

The Vineyard Mystery Knitalong (MKAL) is a shawl pattern of secret shape and design, to be published in 6 installments starting September 4th & 5th, 2024. You’ll receive one clue a week, every Wednesday, each with instructions for creating the next section of the shawl.

I’ll be hosting the MKAL online AND in person, at Maker Savvy in Kanata, Ontario, Canada. If you live nearby, join us for the live events by signing up at We’ll kick off the series at KIN Vineyards in Carp, with a wine tasting, gourmet pizza made with local ingredients, and a murder! (Cue dramatic music… dah dah DAAAAAAH)

All the in-person knitters will be entertained by a chapter of a murder-mystery story that Wendy of Maker Savvy is adapting for us from a free online murder-mystery party outline. Since we’re not entirely sure about the copyright laws of using the free outline in a published pattern, I’m not going to include Wendy’s story with the mkal pattern. Apologies.

So, online, the mkal will be a normal, super-fun, murderless, mysterious knitting pattern. 🙂

Now, about the pattern itself:

If I told you, I’d have to… well, you know the old joke. (In case you don’t, the answer is “kill you.” “I’d have to kill you.” But of course I never would because that would be incredibly rude.)

The Vineyard Mystery Knitalong pattern will be a shawl knit with fingering-weight sock yarn, and it will use 7 colours in total.

It will include stitches in various combinations, and it will be written for all skill levels to follow. You might learn a few new things along the way, and I will include complete instructions for every technique, but there will NOT be brioche. (I love brioche! But Wendy thought I should tone it down a little for this particular project. She’s probably not wrong.)

If you’re a fan of my general style esthetic, which I would call wearable, bold, stylish, and possibly geometric/textural, then let me tell you that I’m designing another shawl that I personally want to wear.

If you like patterns that have periodic shifts in technique and/or stitch patterns to keep your interest, then I’m so your girl! ADHD brains for the win!

About the Gorgeous Yarn Kits:

You guys. I am super into seasonal colour palette analysis lately. Have you seen this on Insta? I blame my bff, who started me down this rabbit hole, but really, I’m having a blast.

I’ve been dressing in my colours, and I feel so good! (I’m a True Winter / Cool Winter.) And I reeeeeally wanted a yarn kit in my seasonal colours. So… (cue heraldic trumpet notes)… Wendy and I worked with Kat’s Riverside Studio, and they let me put together the colour kits for the pattern from Kat’s gorgeous selection of hand-dyed yarns.

You can order the kits online from I hope you love them as much as I do!!

The Winter Colour Palette:
Clear, cool, high-contrast
MC: noir
Minis: ghost, marylou, chartreuse, cone flower, lapis, and celestial

The Summer Colour Palette:
Cool, muted, soft
MC: faded jeans
Minis: verdigris, rindle, marsh, ballet, wisp, sugar plum

The Spring Colour Palette:
Clear, warm, bright
MC: beryl
Minis: kelpie, lagoon, lipstick, chartreuse, coral, flamingo

The Autumn Colour Palette:
Warm, muted, deep
MC: neptune
Minis: berry, hunter, ochre, russet, moss, mahogany

To make your own yarn kit from stash:

Use fingering weight sock yarn. My sample is knit in a multi-ply yarn, not singles. I recommend a multi-ply yarn for this particular pattern because it will provide you with a similar stitch definition. But if you want to mix yarn types, that can be fun, too.

MC: 115 g / 440 y / 402 m
Minis: 6 x 25 g / 110 y / 101 m (total 150 g / 660 y / 606 m)

To make a large size, double every yarn amount.

Needles: Size 5 US / 3.75 mm circulars, about 48″ / 120 cm in length from needle tip to needle tip. We’ll be knitting flat.

Colour Advice:

For the Vineyard Mystery Knitalong shawl, as long as your MC stands out against all your Minis, you should be fine. Some of my kit colours (particularly Summer) have lower contrast levels on purpose, to provide a more muted, hazy appearance to the colour blends.

The MC will be used throughout the entire project, with the Minis playing and running around in various ways and combos. So, the MC will set the overall background tone, and the Minis will affect it in various ways depending on how they’re blended.

I’ve got a few tips on how to choose your own seasonal palette colours, but first, I should explain the difference between a warm and a cool colour.

Warm and cool are relative terms, but for this purpose, warm means it has a yellow / orange base or undertone, and cool means it has a blue or purple base / undertone.

The colour red is also a warm colour (although not as warm as yellow), but if it leans more towards a purple, we call it a cool red. Warm reds lean more towards orange. The red that’s right in the middle, neutral red or true red, is generally considered to be in the True Winter palette, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Clear” and “muted” has to do with how pure the hue is. The three classic primary colours (hues) are red, blue, and yellow, assuming that each primary is exactly in the neutral centre of its spectrum. When you mix two primaries together, you get either orange (red + yellow), green (yellow + blue), or purple (blue + red). Any secondary colour that’s made of only two primaries in any mix ratio is a “clear” hue.

As soon as you add even a tiny dot of the third primary to any of the secondary colour mixes, you get a more muted version of the clear hue. The muted colours start to lean towards either a grey or a brown, but they still look like colours, not a greyscale.

(To get all the way to a grey, you’d need to add about an equal amount of a warm secondary and a cool primary hue to each other, or vice versa. To get all the way to a brown, combine a warm primary with a warm secondary. But since we’re choosing yarns and not mixing paints or dyes, I’ll stop there.)

To custom-make your own colour palette with yarns from your stash (or your LYS), here are a few suggestions. Feel free to tag me on Instagram with a picture of your yarn ideas if you have any questions.

Winter Palette principles: Clear, cool, high-contrast

MC: lightest or darkest of all the colours, like black or bright white

Choose a variety of shades, like 3 medium, 2 light, and 1 dark, to achieve high contrast with your background. Lean towards bright, cool colours, especially in the medium-shade range.

Summer Palette principles: Cool, muted, soft

MC: a hazy, medium-shade colour

Light-to-medium-shade colours in various cool, hazy colours. Add a navy or a milk-tea colour if you want a little more contrast.

Spring Palette principles: Bright, warm, clear

MC: a clear, light, or bright colour

Minis: bright, warm rainbow colours, spring greens, caramels, warm turquoises. Many of the bright colours will be a medium-shade (if you take a photo and turn it to greyscale), but try to choose at least one or two that are lighter and darker for variety. If you like neutrals, try a light cream, caramel, or warm taupe.

Autumn Palette principles: Muted, warm, deep

MC: Your favourite fall colour. Deep turquoise? Russet?

Minis: Any rich, warm colour. Go for a fall foliage palette, or choose all warm turquoises and olive greens for something different. Deep mahogany browns and warm, rich cabernet. Choose a range of shades, from dark to light, for more movement within your hues.

You can pre-order the pattern from Ravelry at any time, and you’ll receive each pattern update directly to your inbox as they’re released.

To knitalong together online, use the hashtag #vineyardmkal and tag me at aknitica on Instagram. Feel free to ask me for colour advice there, too!

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Inverse Reverse: A collection of reversible shawls

It’s that time of year — when I always want something wrapped around my neck.

I have a serious obsession with knitting shawls, so my closet is getting pretty full of various neck-warming devices. And yet, I still want to make more… (I picked up a copy of WestKnits BestKnits recently, and now I want to make all the things. My Christmas present to me might be the casting-on of a speckly Dotted Rays.)

I do like it best when my neck things are reversible, when they’re made with some sort of simple stitch pattern so I don’t have to always be looking at the pattern, and when I’ve chosen good yarn.

I’ve made some shawl patterns this year, and they’re a little family. They are One, Two, Three Secrets, and Fade & Flip. Together, they form the Inverse Reverse collection, and fight crime throughout the galaxy. Wait, what?

I mentioned them earlier, but our fall/winter has been a whirlwind of new school, more teaching, and my glitchy brain, so I’ve been having trouble writing about them here. Anyway, this family of shawls grew from a weird convergence of coincidences: a Julie Asselin gradient kit I bought at Wabi Sabi in the summer, Mosaic Knitting by Barbara Walker, and my desire to knit something new while reading a book. Yes, I like to read and knit.

For simplicity and reading: garter stitch.

From Mosaic Knitting: the magical inspiration of slipped stitches. But why couldn’t they be used to make something reversible? Why not slip them on the back AND the front of the fabric?

Because of the gradient: I don’t know. I just wanted to pair it with something to make it stretch… I tried it with a couple of colours before I decided on white as the true friend for the mini-skeins.

I’m also a fan of the asymmetrical triangle framework I first found in Martina Behm’s patterns. I’ve always assumed she invented this shape. Does anyone know any different?

Two knit in sport weight with 8 US (5 mm) needles)

Once I got going on One, and I was having such a good time, I got carried away; my mind flew off in a million directions, following all the possibilities of the twists and turns of reversible slipped stitch columns. What if I made them like travelling stitches? What if I let the shaping dictate their intervals? What if I used Morse code? What if I used TWO gradients?

Fade & Flip, made with two gradient skeins from Wollelfe on Etsy

And a collection was born.

Three Secrets… this is the one you can knit in Morse code.


As of yesterday, Fade & Flip, the fourth and last pattern in the collection has been published on Ravelry. I’m really pleased with all four of the shawls, and I hope you will be, too.

(Did I mention that three MORE of my kids need braces? Gah.)

They were slower coming out than I’d planned, and I’m sorry about that. I’ve learned many things while making my first ebook, and the number one thing is this: life gets in the way, and I’m going to make sure the patterns are written BEFORE promising a specific publishing schedule. So thank you for being patient with me while waiting for the fourth pattern!

Three Secrets was made with a whole Julie Asselin gradient kit and one skein of silvery-grey Manos del Uruguay Fino

And now, the pattern specs:

Each pattern in the Inverse Reverse collection is

  • reversible — a complete mirror of beautiful stitches on both sides. There are no real “wrong” sides. Everything is public-ready.
  • inverted — if the slipped-stitch columns are MC on one side, they’ll be CC on the other side, and vice versa.
  • made from two colours (or one solid and one gradient, or two gradients). Basically, an MC and a CC.
  • knitable with 100 grams of each colour, no matter what the weight of yarn. Different weight change the stitch pattern, of course, but it works for the first three shawls (One, Two, and Three Secrets) completely. For the fourth, Fade & Flip, I’d recommend sticking with either fingering or sport weight so you can fit in as many Celtic Knots as possible.
  • an asymmetrical triangle shape, long and somewhat shallow, and great for wrapping around your neck many times as a warm scarf or around your shoulders for a cozy wrap.
  • started with just 4 stitches and cast off along the long edge.
  • built on a garter-stitch base, with the same rhythm of slipped stitches. Once you’ve knit One, you’ll recognize many familiar elements in the other three, which makes upgrading to the travelling columns much easier. Even if you knit just a tiny sample of One as a swatch, it’ll help you understand the basics before you start cabling on Two and Fade & Flip.
  • adjustable in size: these patterns don’t really end. You could knit them infinitely large…. just cast off when you’ve run out of yarn or when you’ve reached the size you want.
  • wearable without blocking. They’re garter stitch! Although I did find that Fade & Flip looked better with light blocking because of the cables. Anyway, doesn’t that make them perfect gifts? 😉
  • charted AND written. Because I know there are two types of knitters, and they’re both fierce about their pattern preferences.

Three Secrets can even double as a casual sweater tied around your shoulders… or is it?

And One makes good tv knitting (and reading knitting!) once you get going. It’s mesmerizing.

It’s those beautiful straight lines and the changing colours. Darn it, now I want to make another one.


[box type=”note” size=”large” icon=”none”]You can buy each pattern individually on Ravelry, but the best deal is to get the ebook, of course. You can find them all here: Inverse Reverse on Ravelry[/box]

Two. I made this one with some really bright, amazing Hedgehog Fibres yarn in fluorescent green Envy, with a super-soft and luscious skein of Manos del Uruguay Fino in charcoal grey.

I hope you all have a great holiday, whatever it is you’re celebrating. 🙂 May your gifts be full of yarn and your hearts be full of peace.


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One, A Shawl with Two Sides

You guys, I am so excited about what I’ve been working on lately. I wanted to make myself a reversible, graphic, simple, shawl that was enjoyable to knit while I read a book. The obvious stitch to choose was garter stitch, but I had bought a gorgeous Julie Asselin gradient kit recently, and I really wanted to use it in something interesting.

After some trial and error, I finally settled on pairing it with a white skein of Cascade Heritage Silk from my stash. (I love how the white makes the turquoises look light and airy.) I started with my favourite easy-to-begin shawl shape, the asymmetrical triangle that grows from just a few stitches designed originally (I think) by Martina Behm.

And then, I started to play with slipped stitches. I wanted a straightforward, repeatable, reversible pattern. I wanted it a little interesting to knit and to look at, but I wanted to let the gradient be the star of the show.

Here’s what happened:

This is One. It came first.

One Shawl, part of the Inverse Reverse Collection by Amanda Schwabe #OneShawl #InverseReverse #knitting @aknitica Assymetrical Shawls One and Two 2016-07-22 010 Assymetrical Shawls One and Two 2016-07-22 018

Did I mention the One shawl is reversible? Like, completely perfect on both the right side and wrong side of the fabric?

The wrong side is actually an inversion of the right-side columns, so you can choose which side you’re in the mood for on any given day. The light side or the bright side… or maybe the bright side or the dark side, depending on your colour choice.

Assymetrical Shawls One and Two 2016-07-22 020 Assymetrical Shawls One and Two 2016-07-22 027 Assymetrical Shawls One and Two 2016-07-22 031 Assymetrical Shawls One and Two 2016-07-22 036

I’m so happy with it! I hope you like it, too. It’s so wearable, so easy, so simple, that I’m almost afraid to publish it. Maybe you won’t think it’s special enough. But I like the good classics, and I think this shawl will become a pattern I return to knitting and to wearing over and over again. It’s even good gift knitting, since it requires no blocking whatsoever because of the nicely behaved garter stitch. (I always want to give the people I love beautiful shawls, but the prospect of then explaining to them that they’ll have to handwash it and block out the lace to open it up every time it needs cleaning is so off-putting.)

Slip-stitch knitting is so fun, too. What I like is how it makes those beautiful vertical lines that you don’t often get in knitting unless you know stranded knitting or intarsia. But to make them with slipped stitches is sooo easy. You never have to use two colours in a row. Only one. Always just one strand of yarn at a time.

You’ll get a complex look with a simple technique. It’s so fun!

And then, to add on to all that goodness, there’s the shape: I love this shape. For so many reasons. How do I love it? Let me count the ways:

  1. It grows from a tiny point, so the cast on and start up are fast and easy.
  2. It grows from a tiny point and ends with a cast-off along one whole side of the triangle, so you can knit it up to any size using ANY weight of yarn without doing any calculations at all; you just knit until you’re done and then you stop. I’ve practiced it with fingering-weight, worsted weight, and sport weight so far. Using 100g in each of two colours makes a lovely size of shawl no matter which weight you choose. (This also makes it a good project for any hand-spun yarn that doesn’t necessarily align with a standard factory-spun weight.)
  3. It’s easy to wear. Sure, it makes a triangle, but it’s a versatile, shallow, curvy triangle that makes a lovely scarf/wrap/kerchief/long blanket/cozy magical thing.

So then I got a little carried away by the joy that is reversible slipped-stitch columns, and I wanted to see what they’d look like traveling and twirling around each other on both sides of the fabric. So I made more shawls…. and they’ve grown into a collection. There were just too many fun possibilities to try!

The Inverse Reverse Collection is an ebook that grows by one shawl every month for the next 4 months. So when you buy the ebook, you’ll get a shawl subscription to every reversible slip-stitch pattern that’s coming up this fall, at a discounted price.

Here’s a little preview of what’s coming up:

Meet Two, a reversible shawl with a twist.

It’s coming out at the end of August.

Two Shawl, part of the Inverse Reverse Collection by Amanda Schwabe #TwoShawl #InverseReverse #knitting @aknitica Assymetrical Shawls One and Two 2016-07-22 055

And then, there will be Three.

You can see sneak peaks of it in my Instagram feed (@aknitica), in a gorgeous pink gradient paired with light grey. Its birthday will be the end of September.

Four will feature the return of reversible cables in a new configuration.

Let’s leave it mysterious for now, and look forward to its release at the end of October 2016.


For now, if you’re intrigued, the best place to start is by knitting up your own version of One. It’ll give you a great introduction to the basics of the two-sided slip-stitch technique, which will make the more-complex future shawls seem all the easier.


You can get One here, on Ravelry.

To subscribe to the Inverse Reverse Collection ebook (and get One right away), buy it here on Ravelry.


And, if you’re in the Ottawa area, I’ll be teaching Two in a class at Yarn Forward & Sew On on Bank Street, starting in September. Keep an eye on the store’s booking website for upcoming class details and to sign up for the Slip-Stitch Shawl Class:


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Spring BOGO, New Mitten Patterns, and I Yarn Bombed A Horse. I Really Did.

I’ve been busy this winter but unable to tell you about it! Let me catch you up.

I’ve been making videos. My favourite so far is this one on how to pick up stitches for no-gap thumbs. I keep reading how it’s impossible, but it so isn’t. In the video, I show you exactly how and where to pick up your stitches to close the gaps without any weird twisting. The best part is, this method just makes it look like columns of knit stitches with nothing out of place. I’m pretty pleased with it.

Aaaand, that cabled mitten in the video? It’s my new pattern, just new out today. I named it XOX OXO. You know how when you write a letter to Santa, his postal code is HOH OHO? (At least it is here in Canada.) Well, the cables and the season made me think of how every time I wear these sweet, squishy mittens, it’s almost like I’m sending myself a message to be kind to myself. I’m a sentimental soul, and I have stupid Seasonal Affective Disorder, so basically I fight against depression every winter. A big part of that battle is recognizing which thoughts are mine and which are symptoms. Hint: if it’s soul-crushingly mean, it’s from a lack of dopamine.

#XOXOXOmittens @aknitica

#XOXOXOMittens @aknitica

Next on the list of winter-killed-my-brain-so-now-I’m-catching-up is this pattern, Fluffa. These are lightning-fast, super warm felted mittens. They’re knit up with bulky 100% wool on giant needles then shrunk into oblivion in the washing machine until they’re dense and snow proof. These are the mittens you put on your kids for hours-long outdoor snow play. My kids have been wearing theirs all winter, and people, let me tell you: finally, I’ve made hand-knit mittens that actually do the trick! Even when the snow cakes on the outsides of them, their hands are still warm inside. I made some for myself and my husband, as well, and we love them for shoveling the driveway.

#FluffaMittens #felted @aknitica

They’re available in sizes for the entire family, with choices of everyday cuffs or long cuffs for serious outside time. You can even make the larger sizes into oven mitts, since wool is fire and heat resistant. Neat, eh?

They go nicely into the dryer, too, for those days when your kids want to go outside again before the mittens have dried on the air vents.

Another thing I did, which I’m pretty proud of, is I knit a horse. Yes, I got to yarn bomb a horse statue! It’s been on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, in conjunction with their World War Women exhibit and a big knitted-goods donation drive they hosted.

#PompomTheHorse #yarnbomb @aknitica #CanadianWarMuseum

It was a totally cool project. I had to take all the measurements and design and knit the whole thing myself. My life was insane last fall when I had to make it, and there were a couple delays, so I had three weeks — yes, you read that right: 3 weeks — in which to do the knitting. With the strategy of eat, sleep, knit, and with my husband home to take care of absolutely everything to do with the kids and the house, I did it. Almost. I had to ask Lisa, a knitter friend of mine, to help me out by knitting the two front legs during the last week. And my mom spent a day at my place making all those pompoms.

#PompomTheHorse #yarnbomb #CanadianWarMuseum @aknitica 2015-12-06 001 2015-11-29 087

#PompomTheHorse #yarnbomb Getting fitted. @aknitica #CanadianWarMuseum

I’d love to write a more detailed post about how on earth one designs a fitted cover for a horse. Maybe later, now that my brain seems to have switched back on again, I will.

Lastly, I’ve discovered the joys of Instagram. It is my place, people. Pictures! Pretty pictures! And none of the drama of Facebook or Twitter. I’ve been posting there a lot, sharing pictures of my personal knitting projects, the many gezillions of things that I have on  my needles. (At last count, I had about 20 projects on the go. Yes, I’m one of those knitters.) If you’re on Instagram, come find me! I’m @aknitica. (And feel free to tag me if you’re knitting up one of my patterns! And you can hashtag the pattern name, too, if you like.)

Okay, now really lastly (apparently I was just kidding in the previous paragraph), I’m having a sale! It’s time for me to give all my lovely subscribers a deal. So, how about a BOGO! That’s Buy One, Get One FREE. For a limited time, and on Ravelry only, all of my self-published patterns will be part of this event, including those two new ones above, XOX OXO and Fluffa. Sadly, anything currently published by Knit Picks will not be included. But everything else is fair game. Simply add two (or multiples of two) patterns to your Ravelry cart, and the BOGO discount will automatically be applied to all eligible patterns. Yay! Go here to start shopping.

And rats, now I’m reminded that I had one last thing to show you. Too much yet? I just had another pattern published by Knit Picks! It’s Faela, my first sweater design, and it’s part of The Colorblock Collection. There are some gorgeous sweaters in there. This one is an oversized tunic with slight A-line shaping. It’s knit up in soft Knit Picks Swish Worsted.

#Faela Sweater pattern by @aknitica on @knitpicks

And that is really all for today. See you around the internets!


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Unusual Ways to Choose Colors for Your Knitting

Choosing colors for a project seems to be one of those things that makes us all second guess ourselves. So let’s go over some basic rules and guidelines that might help you to choose colors confidently.

1. Choose colors that you love. What makes your heart sing every time you look at it? Base your project on that.

2. Choose colors that you consistently wear. Have you ever said to yourself, “I wear blue all the time. I should branch out.” WHY? Why do you do that to yourself? Chances are that spending a month making yourself a pink sweater just because you “should” will end with a sweater that sits in your drawer instead of on your back. You know, deep down, that you won’t wear it. Don’t do it. Make yourself classics. If you’re going to branch out, spend $10 and 5 minutes at the mall to test a new color first.

3. Colors can really be combined in soooo many ways and still be pretty. I bet you’ll only think something is ugly if you incorporate a color that you just don’t like. If you don’t enjoy a color, leave it out.

4. If rainbows make you happy, make rainbows. A rainbow effect doesn’t have to mean you’re using all the bright colors in the exact rainbow order. Try using muted versions of the rainbow colors. Or switch the position of just two of them. Or add a bit of grey, brown, cream, or whatever your favorite neutral is to tone things down. If you like bright colors, do a bright rainbow. If you like soft, muted colors, use light colors with a hint of grey in them. If you like earthy tones, use brownish, toned-down versions of the rainbow colors.

5. Aim for balance. Balance just means that there’s a bit of proportion in your design. There are repeating motifs, whether in shape, texture, color, shade, darkness, lightness, brightness… Sometimes creating an imbalance can add visual interest. If you want to draw the eye to an area and really make it pop, use a color that isn’t everywhere else already. Think of sock cuffs in bright red, or just one stripe in a contrasting color. Balance and imbalance are both design tools to put in your tool box.

6. Use contrast. If you want to emphasize a motif, make it dark and your background light, or vice versa. They could both be colored, like yellow on blue. But if they’re both a medium shade, they’ll blend together. That could be a cool effect, but if you want your design to pop, try using a navy blue with a light yellow. If you use a dark yellow with a light blue, however, the yellow might not be dark enough to contrast well.

7. Try using three colors that touch each other in the rainbow or on the color wheel. Did you know that the color wheel is just a rainbow bent into a circle? Yup, it’s that simple. Three colors in a row will give you a nice, gentle effect. Think yellow-green, green, green-blue. Or yellow, green, blue. Or orange, orange-red, red. Have some fun with it.

8. Look around you for inspiration. Flowers, gardens, buildings, paintings, sunsets and sunrises, clouds, farmers’ fields at harvest time, the first rays of sunlight touching the frost on a window pane…. What are their main colors? Now look more closely. What tiny flashes of other colors are inside? If you find beauty in something, try using those same  colors in those proportions in your next colorwork project.

9. Beauty is subjective. Some things, like the golden spiral, are universally beautiful. Did you know that the proportions we consider to be beautiful are mathematical? Cool, eh? But color isn’t necessarily universally beautiful. I have a friend who exclaims in delight over any deep purple or harvest color. One of my sons thinks black and brown are the most lovely color combination. I, personally, will buy any electric-blue or turquoise yarn you put in front of me. If I tried to make myself buy the harvest colors, I’d undoubtedly be dissatisfied with them and my friend would think I was crazy. Such is life. So, buy the colors you like. They’ll match, I promise. Just remember to throw in some contrast in their shades (lightness and darkness) so the design doesn’t disappear.

10. The color wheel contains pairs of opposite colors. These pairs are called complementary colors. When you’re looking at a color wheel, they’re the ones directly across from each other. The main 3 pairs of complementary colors are blue & orange, red & green, and yellow & purple. When used together in a design, they create high contrast but also balance. Hm. I think I may have just learned something profound about life right there.

For more on color theory, check out this handy website.

In other fun color news, I’ve just finished this new hat pattern. I’ve named it Obla, and it’s a stranded colorwork hat made with just two colors. Interestingly enough, I chose two complementary colors for its prototype. And I used two shades, as well. The pinky-purple is medium-dark, and the seafoam green is nice and light. Simple color theory at work. 🙂 Oh, and of course, I actually quite like both those colors. Otherwise, what would be the point?

Obla Slouchy Hat pattern. #knitting #hats


It’s knit up using a total of 60 grams of fingering-weight yarn and size 3 US (3.25 mm) needles. About 30 grams for each of the colors should be enough. You can grab a copy of the pattern here on the aknitica website or over on Ravelry.

I really enjoyed knitting it up. The chart has a nice, simple repeat with no long floats anywhere. I wish I had more time to make another, maybe with a modified rainbow background and white for the contrast. Or maybe in dark charcoal grey with mustard yellow. What do you think?

Obla Slouchy Hat pattern. #knitting #hats


Obla Slouchy Hat pattern. #knittingtips #hats


I hope my color tips were a little helpful today. I figured that other places go into the technical details of color theory more, so maybe I should give you some other ideas. Can you think of any other tips for us? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to share this post on Facebook or Pinterest if you found it helpful.

Just out of curiosity, what is your favorite color combination?

31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. #write31days #knittingtips

This post is part of my 31 Days to Your Nicest Knitting series. Every day, I’ll post a new tip or trick to make your knitting nicer. You can follow along easily by subscribing. If you have any knitting problems you’d like me to fix, let me know and I’ll try to answer your question as part of the series. You can find all the posts in the series here.

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Scintillate Shawl Knitting Pattern and Super Special Discount

It’s the weekend, and who doesn’t want a deal on an addictive shawl knitting pattern? I’ve just made my “Learn to Knit a Lace Shawl” class exclusive pattern available to everyone. I hope you like it, too.

I’ve named it Scintillate. It is covered in diamonds, after all. Whether they shine or not in real life is totally up to you and your yarn choice.

Scintillate Shawl pattern by Amanda Schwabe. #knitting  #shawls #cozy

I made this shawl with beginning lace knitters in mind. I wanted to give them something pretty yet simple to work on. I love knitting diamonds because of the beautiful, straight lines they make. It’s so easy to see if a yarnover is out of place. If you keep looking at your knitting, mistakes are easy to spot and fix before you’ve gone too far.

Scintillate Shawl pattern by Amanda Schwabe. Great wrap for cool weather. #knitting #aknitica #shawls

The overall lace patterning has a lovely rhythm to it, too. After a while, you’ll have memorized the pattern and be able to anticipate what should happen next. It keeps things interesting while giving a comforting sameness all at once.

This has become one of my favourite shawls to wear. The Manos del Uruguay Fino is cozy and squishy, and the shawl size I got from 1.5 skeins makes it a perfect wrap. You can knit yours in any size, as a neckerchief or an even larger shawl. You can also use any yarn you want. One of my students made two versions: one with fingering-weight yarn and one with worsted. The worsted one is thick and luscious, and I might have to copy her idea soon.

My little Eva modeled it for me. It really is grown-up sized.
My little Eva modeled it for me. It really is grown-up sized.

The pattern includes options for three different edges to finish it off. You can knit it with no special edging, with a narrow garter-and-zigzag border that flows out of the diamond tips, or with a wider large-diamond border, like the one in my pictures here.

And, as promised, as a subscriber to my site, you get a coupon code for the Scintillate Shawl pattern! It will be good until the end of September, and you can feel free to share it with your friends. With the code, the price goes down from $6 to just $0. That’s less than a cup of coffee. Heck, that’s FREE. Yes, free. Zero dollars. Just because I like you.

[box type=”note” icon=”none”]Scintillate Shawl coupon code: COZYUP[/box]

You can grab your pattern here, but hurry! The coupon code only lasts as long as September. Once October hits, it’s gone.

If you’ve just popped over to see what the free coupon code is all about, welcome! I have other free patterns available, plus some goodies that I like to think are worth paying for. 😉 If you subscribe, you’ll get future discounts and even knitting tips in your inbox. 

Scintillate Shawl pattern by Amanda Schwabe. #knitting #shawls


Happy knitting!


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Sea Glass Shawl

Are you looking for some interesting summer knitting?  How about something in a nice, light cotton-linen blend, with pretty stripes and lace, that feels good to knit and even better to wear?  And how about a knitalong and giveaway to make it even more fun?

Sea Glass Shawl by Amanda Schwabe #summerknitting #Cotlin #KnitPicks

How about my new shawl pattern?

Sea Glass Shawl by Amanda Schwabe #summerknitting #Cotlin #KnitPicks #aknitica

I had a ton of fun designing this one.  And I had to Google the Pythagorean Theorem and relearn how to use it!  Be impressed.  It was hard.

BUT, now that I’ve done all the hard work, the knitting is easy.  And don’t you love how the lace is in the middle instead of at the edge?  Yeah, I wanted to try something different.  Just because.

It’s kind of like having a necklace in your shawl, right?  Fun.

Sea Glass Shawl by Amanda Schwabe #summerknitting #Cotlin #KnitPicks #aknitica

We begin this beauty by casting on along the bottom edge and then working up in growing-and-shrinking stockinette stripes.  I made a different kind of decrease along the spine to avoid getting a solid line.  Also, I like to try new things.

Here’s where my stupendous, mind-bending math came in:  I had to calculate the distance I had for stripes before the lace panel so I could figure out how many pairs of decreasing stripes I could fit in.  But first, I had to discover the size of the lace.  Then, I had to figure out heights of hypothetical triangles.  Really, I barely remember what I did.  It’s a blur.  But it worked, so I must be amazing.

(I hope you all know me well enough by now to recognize my weird humour.  RIGHT?  Still waiting for that sarcasm font to be invented by someone more brilliant than I am.)

Sea Glass Shawl by Amanda Schwabe #summerknitting #Cotlin #KnitPicks #aknitica


So what we have here is my favourite kind of knitting:  relaxing-yet-not-boring striping stockinette with a splash of interesting thrown in.  The lace panel is, as you can see, a field of mesh surrounding some diamonds surrounding some circles.  With the exception of one row at the very end, ALL the patterning is worked on the right side, and the wrong sides are all purled.

As with all my patterns, I’ve included both charts AND written instructions.  My aim is to please all of the people all of the time.  😉

Some further notes, if you decide to knit a Sea Glass Shawl:

The pattern calls for two balls of CotLin for the lace panel.  My test knitter was able to do it with just one, but I needed a small portion of a second ball.  We wrote “two” because the last thing I want is for you to be like me and run short of yarn!

There are tips in the pattern about how and when to sew in the ends for those stripes.  I really don’t recommend carrying the yarn up the sides because I, personally, don’t like how it looks.  But it’s YOUR shawl!  Do what you like.

You’re welcome to come knit along with others in my group on Ravelry.  I’ll pop in to answer any questions and to ooh and ahh over your colour choices.

That reminds me!  I knit my sample shawl in just two colours (Blackberry and Swan), and it looks fabulous, too.  What do you think?

2013-12-12 15.55.27

Man, it’s hard to photograph Blackberry.  It’s actually a super-deep, almost-black purple.  It’s really gorgeous.  And I like how the high contrast really makes the stripes pop.

But I also love the subtle combination of colours in the Knit Picks sample.  Here’s another colour combo — this is actually the one which I had originally envisioned:

Sea Glass Shawl concept sketch by Amanda Schwabe  #summerknitting #KnitPicks #CotLin #aknitica Sea Glass Shawl concept sketch by Amanda Schwabe Sea Glass Shawl concept sketch by Amanda SchwabeAs you can see, there are so many beautiful possibilities!  I can’t wait to see how everyone else knits this shawl.  Seriously, it’s so fun watching project pages pop up on Ravelry.

Now, for the fun part:  the giveaway!

I have an ebook copy of the entire CotLin 2014 Collection, and I want one of you to have it.  It’s gorgeous.  You can check out the entire collection here to see what I mean.  (In fact, I kind of want to make at least the Band Camp Pullover for myself.  Now that I know how lovely this yarn is, I’m totally tempted.  I bet it would make an amazing, cool-yet-warm sweater.  The yarn is both laid back and high class at the same time.  I guess that’s what you always get when you throw linen in the mix.)

Since I so completely enjoy knitalongs, meeting my fellow knitters, and chatting about colours and projects, I’m going to give the free copy of this ebook to a knitalong participant.

To qualify for the draw:

Head on over to the Aknitica Designs group on Ravelry and tell me what colours you’ll be using to knit your very own Sea Glass Shawl.  Will you use three?  Only two?  Will you go bright or subtle or high-contrast?  Let me know in the group’s Sea Glass Shawl Knitalong thread.

You’ll get bonus points (read: extra entries) for every social media share you connect to this post!  Share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and then send me an email at amanda at aknitica dot com with a link to each share.  Don’t forget to tag those posts with #SeaGlassShawl

I’ll give you two weeks to enter the draw and order your yarn, and then we’ll get started knitting together!

And then….. da da da DAAAA:  At the end of the knitalong, we’ll have another prize!  Every finished project will be eligible.  I think we’ll have two draws, actually:  one for a hard copy of the CotLin 2014 Collection, which I will mail to the winner, and another draw for a free pattern of your choice from my self-published Ravelry patterns.

Yay!  I think this will be fun.  So, will you be joining me?


Sea Glass Shawl by Amanda Schwabe  #summerknitting #CotLin #KnitPicks #aknitica #SeaGlassShawl

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Giveaway and Knitalong: Celebrating the Under 100 Knit Collection and My Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers

Knit along with Ombre Arm Warmers and win a copy of the Under 100 Knit Collection!






















[box type=”info”]Read on for a contest and a chance to win a copy of the book![/box]

Oh, I am so excited!  I’ve been waiting to tell you about these for what seems like forever.  Yes, it’s my first “published” pattern, the Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers.

The book it’s in is called Under 100 Knit Collection, and it’s available as an ebook on the Knit Picks website, and as a print book there as well.

[box type=”tick”]You can also buy the pattern all on its own, by clicking here to get to its Ravelry page.[/box]

Knit Picks had the brilliant idea of publishing a collection of quick-knit projects that can use up stash yarn.  Every pattern in it takes less than 100 grams, and mine takes only about 30-35 grams total.

You can even use those teeny, tiny, looks-too-small-to-be-part-of-anything balls of sock yarn in these arm warmers.  Trust me.  I’ve been experimenting.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness for arm warmers.  I love having warm hands, but I don’t love having my fingers covered when I want to knit or drive or type.

I think they’re great for wearing under long sleeves for a little extra warmth or for wearing with short sleeves to make my favourite t-shirts last a little bit longer in the fall.

Plus, they’re so wonderfully simple to knit — especially these ones.  All the detail here comes from the fantastic colourways; the structure itself is quite basic.


Once I began playing with the colours, I realized there were so many possibilities.

I love the Ombre striping you’ll see on the Knit Picks sample.  Overlapping similar hues of different tints from light to dark (or vice versa) creates a lovely effect.  (And I’m very curious to try such a thing with a grey or black background as a variation.)

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers by Amanda Schwabe

My favourite so far, though, has to be these ones that I made up from my own stash of Knit Picks Palette.  I’ve listed the colours I used at the end of this post.  

But, I really want to see what you will come up with.  What amazing, flashy, subdued, classic, or crazy colour combination will your stash make?

In order to find out, I’m throwing a party.  It’s a knitting party, and there will be friendly conversation, laughter (I hope), and prizes.

It’ll be very easy to attend, and there’s no particular dress code.  Simply show up on Ravelry in the Aknitica Designs group, or on Facebook at the Aknitica Designs page, anytime you want, starting today, December 30th, until Friday, January 31st.

Show us your arm warmers — before, during, and after — and you’ll be entered to win a prize!

I have one ebook version of the book, the Under 100 Knit Collection, to give away, and one print version.

The ebook will be given away with a random draw this Friday!  Just post a photo of the yarn you’re thinking of using in the Ravelry group, and you’ll automatically be entered to win it.  I’ll post the winner in the same thread, then the lucky recipient will get the ebook as soon as I get her/his email address.

Head on over to the Ravelry thread to see about winning the print copy.  And show us your yarn!

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers by Amanda SchwabeColours used in my rainbow sample, in order from cuff to fingers:

Knit Picks Pallete yarn in Turmeric, Pimento, Fairy Tale, Garnet Heather, Currant, Urchin, Bittersweet Heather, Sky, Turmeric (again), Edamame, Whirlpool.

The purple colours are:

Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Fairy Tale, Bittersweet Heather, Eggplant, Urchin, Pennyroyal, Fairy Tale.

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers by Amanda Schwabe

These simple ones are knit in Knit Picks Palette in Midnight Heather and Clarity, with Masala as the orange accents.

So, what yarn will you knit them in?  I look forward to chatting with you in the Aknitica Designs Ravelry group!

And, if you have a moment and would like to share this post on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter, I’d appreciate it!

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers

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Effervescent Shawl Pattern

I love lace shawls, but I do not always want to wear them.  You know what I mean?

I prefer to wear an every-day, toss-around-your-neck-and-go Shawl That You Wear Like A Scarf.  In fact, scarf shawls are my new necklaces.  They keep me warm, and I always feel fabulous and cozy while wearing one.  They are my new love.  (I have my knitting guild to thank for that.  Last year was a bit shawl-obsessed for all of us.)

Since my shawls are my favourite accessory, I basically need all sorts of different ones.  Being an in-between size (you know, between “having kids” and “actually wanting to do the work to lose the last 15 pounds”), I tend to buy basic tops.  Like black t-shirts.  But a shawl?  It will fit me no matter what size I am. So you see, I’ve been thinking a lot about shawls lately.

This, then, is my first shawl design, with more to come.  More on my needles, more being charted, more being puzzled through…  But for now:  TA-DAAA!  It’s the Effervescent shawl.

Effervescent Shawl pattern by Amanda Schwabe. It starts with an interesting lace edge that I puzzled out from a cardigan that my Grandma knit for my mom.  I love it because of its nice lines, and how the little eyelets and decreases pull themselves into little almost-bows.  Close enough to be feminine, and far enough to be every-day wear.  It has patterning on both right- and wrong-side rows, with a couple rest rows in between.

Then we move on to perfect tv knitting: stockinette stripes in bold colours.  For me, that makes it a perfect project.  A little bit of spice to start, a little bit of relaxation to finish.  I like my knitting to be both spicy and sweet. Because we started at the bottom edge of the triangle, the finishing up bits are minimal, since all the stitches have been decreased down to 7.  Simple grafting ensues. Effervescent shawl pattern by Amanda Schwabe.


















I love that coral is back in style this year.  And that blue?  Oh my.  This colour combo will keep me feeling breezy and light, even through the deep, dark winter. But I have a feeling that you knitters will branch out and be your creative knitting selves, delving into colour combinations I haven’t even considered yet.  My friend Beckie was leaning toward grey, red, and dark blue last time I saw her.   I can’t wait to see all the colourways that will emerge! Effervescent shawl pattern by Amanda Schwabe.

Now, let’s get down to the details.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Coral, White, and Light Blue.  For you local people, I bought mine at Unraveled in Merrickville.  The Baby Cashmerino is about a 2 (Baby/Sport weight) if you’re going by the Craft Yarn Council of America standards, in case you want to substitute.  I bought it because it came in the exact colours that I wanted, and because I love the feel of it.

With the Debbie Bliss yarn, you will need

300 m / 120 g White (3 balls)

150 m / 60 g Coral (2 balls)

250 m / 100 g Light Blue (2 balls)

Needles: size 6 US (4 mm) circular, in about a 32″-40″ range.  You just need a cable long enough to hold your shawl while you work it back and forth.

The pattern includes charts for the lace as well as written directions.  There’s also a drawing that gives you a brief overview and the measurements for blocking.

And now for the Grand Finale!  You can get it by clicking this little button:

p.s.  I finally started a Ravelry group!!  I’d be honoured if you’d join me there.  It’ll be a great place for pattern support, knitalongs, and lots of encouragement.  You can still (and always) reach me by email if you have any questions or comments, but now we have one more choice in the mix.  If you’re knitting up an Effervescent shawl, please come and share it with the group!  I will ooh and ahh over your colour choices.  🙂

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Knotty Baby Hat and Merrick Cabled Hat are now on Knit Picks!

I am so thrilled to announce that two of my patterns are now available on the Knit Picks website!

Why does this matter to you?  Well, if you’re so inclined, you can go to their product pages and quickly pick up both the pattern *and* the yarn to knit it in, in one simple step.  I like that!  It’s so streamlined.


Knotty Baby Hat.  Pattern by Amanda Schwabe.  Aknitica Designs.

If you’re knitting for babies in your life, I’m super proud of the Knotty Baby Hat.  I designed it while knitting for my fifth baby.  I wanted to model it after a sewn hat that I’d used and loved on my sons, but the fifth child was a girl, and a blue hat simply would not do.

I had some Rainbow Felici in my stash, and it was perfect in every way for a baby project.  It’s soft, washable, and I love the colourful self-striping effect.  (I love stripes, but I hate sewing in ends.)  If I could, I would keep two balls of every Felici colourway in my stash for spontaneous sock and baby-hat knitting projects.  (I have also knit a pair of Skew socks in the Rainbow colourway, and some Jaywalker socks in the High Tide colourway.  The light fingering weight and superwash properties make the perfect socks and hats.)


Knotty Baby Hat pattern by Amanda Schwabe

Anyway, I knit the Rainbow hat for Eva, and it was a hit in the hospital.  All the nurses commented on it, *every time* we walked around in the hallways, without fail.  I was a proud mama.





Merrick Hat pattern

The Merrick hat came about while I was knitting a hat for a family friend.  I wanted thick, squishy cables for warmth since he works outside a lot in the Canadian winter.  It was really snowy last winter, and I was picturing a cozy head covering that would protect his ears from blowing snow.

Now, I love cables, but after a couple of inches working the same pattern, I get bored.  So I sent the cables on an experimental journey to meet each other.  They were happy, and I was happy.  The pattern turned out to be interesting (I think) and really enjoyable to knit.  It’s got enough variation in it to stimulate, and enough repetition to keep it from being too complex.  You’ll notice that the cables flow intuitively, and you’ll soon be able to anticipate what to do next.

I’m really thrilled that I was able to work the decreases right into the cable pattern, so they flow right up to the top bind off.  The hat looks great from above, so you’ll want to make sure you’re around tall people when you’re wearing it.   *wink*

I’ve also worked out a version that incorporates ear flaps into the design.  Watch for that coming in August or so, just in time for fall knitting and winter preparation.

I chose the Knit Picks Swish Worsted for Merrick because the cables really pop with solid colours.  Swish has lots of colour choice available, and, as an added bonus, it’s machine washable.

So please, hop on over to the Knit Picks website and check me out!  I’m really excited to be there.