Cheers!

Glasses, mitts and beverages joining together in a hearty CHEERS!

Three hands reach out to toast one another, the background is grey but each of the toasting hands is clad in a fingerless mitt that matches the beverage held by its wearer

Hello! Today I want to tell you all about Cheers! – the second design in the KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit eBook (publishing online in the KNITSONIK shop on August 1st, 2022).

Cheers! by Nolwenn Pensivy is a glorious ode to variegated yarn, stranded colourwork and beverages of choice: what is not to love?

Three people raise their hands in a toast - each person is holding a beverage in a glass, the colour of which is perfectly matched to their nails and the textured woolly fingerless mitts that they are wearing

There are so many things to like about this design but my favourite thing is that, in terms of stranded colourwork, this is very much a have-your-cake-and-eat-it kind of pattern. I normally steer clear of variegated yarns because although they allure me with their siren calls of colour, I’ve found they tend to dictate what is done with them and I really like to be in charge of where colours appear in my designs. I love semi-solid shades but have found that heavily variegated yarns with a mix of lights and darks can break up or melt a motif when used in stranded colourwork, and you’re at the mercy of where the dye has landed in terms of where each hue appears in the sequence of your stitches. What’s brilliant about Cheers! is that with this pattern, Nolwenn provides a framework through which you can pick the most variegated skein of all time, but then you still get to control and manage the shades with which it will be paired. See: HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT!

Three pairs of hands each wearing woolly fingerless mitts pop party poppers into the air, the streamers are caught mid-flight

Like all the designs in the KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit eBook, Nolwenn’s chapter comes with a big chunk of supportive creative content designed to empower you in adapting and understanding the pattern. Nolwenn’s tutorial guides you through the process of exploring your variegated skein of yarn and using colouring-in to test out your ideas; colouring-sheets enable you to play with ideas for your solid shades (and how you’d like to sequence them) until you’re ready to order yarn; and an in-depth interview with Becci of RiverKnits is chock full of ideas for thinking strategically about colour progressions and palettes. Becci’s Nene 4-ply minis and variegated yarn are used in the Mulled Wine sample of Cheers! and the conversation between Becci and Nolwenn included in the chapter provides much food for thought when contemplating, organising and designing yarn palettes.

Becci of RiverKnits' amazing wall of dyed 4-ply minis, arranged by saturation, tone and hue; from top to bottom the colours are earthy through saturated through pastel and from left to right, each set of minis is ordered through the rainbow from red to violet

This is Becci’s amazing wall of colour – AKA the full Nene 4-ply Minis Range – discussed in Nolwenn’s chapter. Photo © Becci of RiverKnits.

This whole chapter offers a framework for not only using variegated yarn in stranded colourwork, but also celebrating it in this medium. Sitting down with a skein to carefully observe its colours, going through the process of matching pencils to its shades, and prioritising the various options are lovely observant practices which really make you appreciate the work that has gone in, while also enabling you to put your own stamp on the final outcome. The mitts you end up making feel like a joyous collaboration in colours – and positive collaboration is something to which I can definitely drink!

Heidi peeps around the edge of a glass of mulled wine; she's wearing red nails and orange eyeshadow which pick up colours in the drink, plus a pair of glorious textured and stranded colourwork mitts that utilise a mix of bold primaries and a variegated yarn by RiverKnits titled "My Heart Bleeds Wine"

As well as the Mulled Wine version of Cheers! worked in RiverKnits yarn, Nolwenn’s chapter features additional samples worked in Bluebell Yarns Bluefaced Leicester 4ply paired with Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight Yarn (Blue Lagoon)…

James holds up a luminous blue beverage, while wearing perfectly matched nail polish and joyous blue, purple and turquoise textured and stranded colourwork fingerless mitts

…and in Rusty Ferret Masham also paired with Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight Yarn (Pink Lemonade).

Taia holds out a glass of pink lemonade in which is balanced a lemon wedge and a stripy flamingo straw; on her hands are fingerless mitts worked in complimentary shades that match this drink

Three sizes are offered and instructions are provided as both written instructions and as charts to suit different modes of information processing.

Nolwenn’s inspiration for Cheers! was originally a glass of pink lemonade:

These mitts were originally inspired by a very simple but enjoyable thing: a diamond embossed glass of pink lemonade! All the different hues of pink from the drink, the yellow-y shades added by the lemon wedge and the shiny refractive quality of the raised diamonds seemed like fun details to re-create and re-invent in knitting.

Nolwenn's pink lemonade: the original inspiration for the Cheers! mitts design

Nolwenn’s commitment to this idea has produced an amazing design that incorporates texture and colour, plus a rich and enabling collection of knitterly resources. Here you’ll find inspiration; playfulness; three different samples to get your ideas going; the joy of yarn shade mixology; templates to colour-in and a rich conversation with Becci from which we can all take new ideas. The whole chapter gives us lots of new ways to play and to explore colour in our knitting – another thing to which I could definitely raise a toast!

James, Heidi and Taia, all drinking their beverages and wearing their mitts and matching and laughing

One of the things that has been especially rich about pulling together the KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit project has been seeing how different folks begin with an idea, and where it takes each of us. I’m sure, had Patricia’s inspiration – or mine, or Bev’s – been a glass of pink lemonade, the final outcome would be massively different. What makes this project so exciting and rewarding is the diversity of perspectives on what inspires us to play with colour, and what we each individually do with our inspiration. This has a ripple-out effect in the KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit club, where folks are already taking Patricia’s Brightlingsea scarf and Nolwenn’s Cheers! mitts in yet more new directions.

HOW EXCITING!

James' be-mitted hands are poised to pop a party-popper

Taia's be-mitted hands toss a lemon joyously about

Heidi's be-mitted hand raises aloft a tasty glass of Mulled Wine

The creative commitment to the ideas and concepts of Nolwenn’s design really rubbed off on all of us on photo-shoot day. Ferg (my little brother and spiritual twin) embraced the joyous beverage/celebration/party theme with huge enthusiasm and there was much chucking of lemons and popping of party-poppers on the day. Taia, Heidi and James were all very sporting about being made to wear outfits and nail polish matching the mitts, and really worked together as a team so we could get shots featuring all the mitts but also suggesting people saying Cheers! and raising their glasses together. Thank you so much to all of team Fergus Ford Photography for bringing the designs in this eBook to life so brilliantly.

Glasses, mitts and beverages joining together in a hearty CHEERS!

Congratulations, Nolwenn, on producing such a joyous, playful and enabling design.

Cheers! will be available as part of the forthcoming KNITSONIK & Friends: Colour to Knit eBook (published August 1st, 2022). Shout out to the amazing dyers whose skills and eye for colour have lent so much to this design: RiverKnits, Rusty Ferret and Bluebell Yarns. There are kits for Cheers! available from RiverKnits and Bluebell Yarns.

More Soon –
Yours in Yarn Mixology,
CHEERS!

Fx

James, Heidi and Taia doing the conga in their mitts

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