Category Archives: Style

The Perfectly Colorful Shawl by Cate Carter-Evans

This post is part of the Fall Shawl Together a collaborative featuring great shawl-related content from designers, bloggers, and podcasters. We’re featuring a new post each week, now – December. You can check out all the posts on the Fall Shawl Together Project Page and show us what you’re working on by tagging your shawl projects! #shawltogether

Shawls are my favorite thing to knit because they provide a unique showcase for color.  However, picking colors can be intimidating, and color theory is a massive and complex topic.

In this tutorial, I’m going to share some simple tools and exercises to simplify the process of color selection, and help you end up with a very wearable shawl.

Helix Mini-Skein Rainbow

Step 1: Pick your “happy color.”

Almost all knitters are color-sensitive people. When you knit, you spend hours staring at a color, and this can impact your mood – hence the advice from Denny (via the Yarn Harlot) to not knit too much grey in the winter because it’s hard on the soul.

In this moment, there is at least one color that makes you really happy. Take a minute and identify this color. Whether it’s driven by a fleeting mood or a life-long passion, whether it looks good on you or not, just take a minute to figure out what it is. For this exercise, this is your foundation color.

Step 2: Decide how many colors you’ll use together.

If you’re working from a pattern, you’ll have at least one main color, and anywhere from one to dozens of contrast colors.

If you’re designing your own pattern or modifying a pattern, you’re blissfully on your own.palette

Step 3: Make a Color Palette

Named for the flat surface on which painters mix their pigments, a color palette can be digital or physical.

Your palette can be as simple as a piece of paper with blobs of crayon or colored pencil, subtle as watercolors precisely blended to your desired shades, or as precise as tiny balls of yarn stapled to a piece of cardboard. If you want to make a digital palette, ColourLovers is fantastic and free.

All you need to make your color palette is a space for your foundation color, plus spaces for each of the additional colors you want to work with.

Exercise: Make at least three impromptu palettes, intuitively picking colors that go with your foundation color. If you’re having trouble, try searching for the name of your foundation color or search for “color wheel” on Pinterest.

Step 4: Make it Wearable

I love the process of knitting, but I also like to get a solid return on my investment of time – and that means being able to wear the heck out my finished object.

For shawls in particular (since you’re highly unlikely to wear them without other clothes), you’ll want to identify which items in your closet you plan to wear them with. If you add colors to your shawl design that go best with the garments you wear most, you’ll have a much easier time coordinating your shawl with your garments, and you’re more likely to wear it frequently.

The majority of the time, I wear shawls with a winter coat or with a sweater. With the exception of a very funky vintage mustard yellow coat, all my sweaters and coats are neutrals. The neutral color I wear most is grey, and you’ll notice I use grey a lot in my shawls designs.


1. Look at the clothes you wear most and make a list of the colors that appear most often. These are your go-to colors.

2. Take special note of the neutral color you wear most(e.g. black, dark grey, light grey, white, tan, brown, or navy). This is your key neutral.

If you’ve having trouble finding your key neutral, take a look at your shoes. The shoes we wear most are usually neutral colors.Log Cabin Shawl by Cate Carter-Evans

Step 5: Color Strategies

If you’re planning a two-color project, start with combining your foundation color with your key neutral. The beauty of neutral colors is that they look good on nearly everyone, and they’ll let your foundation color shine.

If you’re planning a three-color project, start with your foundation color + your key neutral + one of your go-to colors.

If you don’t like your results or you’re planning a project with more than three colors, your next step is to identify the hue closest to your foundation color.

Hues are like twelve giant signposts in an infinite wilderness of color variation. They’re the most basic answer to the question “what color is it?”. The twelve hues are: Red, Red-Orange, Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Blue-Violet, Violet, and Red-Violet.

Also identify how your foundation color differs from its parent hue (if at all). Hues only contain pure color, no white, black, grey, or brown mixed in. Your foundation color may be a pure hue (like primary red), or it could be a tint (red + white), a shade (red + black), or a tone (red + grey).

With this information, you can now use a color wheel to see the relationships between your foundation color and all the other colors. There are a number of relationships on the wheel that are traditional considered harmonious. Because everyone perceives color differently, it’s important to remember that there are no right or wrong colors – only the colors that look right to you.

Combinations I especially love are analogous colors (e.g. blue-violet, violet, and red violet), gradients of a single color from pastel to super saturated, and combining a hue with its tint, shade, and tone.

Wishing you happy color selection, and happy knitting!

Cate Carter-Evans is the Procarousel IIprietress of Infinite Twist, a hand-spun and hand-dyed yarn company based in Shanghai, China. Cate blogs about knitting and life in China, designs knitting kits  and sends out a free knitting pattern every month via the Infinite Twist newsletter.You can find Cate on Instagram, Twitter, and Ravelry as infinitetwist.


Stitch Fix August 2014



Stitch Fix August 2014 } Down Cellar StudioShari Abstract Chevron Print Maxi Dress $78.00


In August, I received my second Stitch Fix shipment. I was hopeful and excited but after sending back three of five items in my previous shipment (June 2014) I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Because I’ve been talking about this on the podcast lately, I wanted to give a more thorough review of Stitch Fix and a show and tell so you could see what I’ve been talking about.

Stitch Fix Basics

  • Stitch Fix is a subscription box filled with 5 items of clothing and accessories.
  • You fill out an online quiz to complete your style profile. You can also refer your stylist to a Pinterest Board where you can continually share thoughts about your likes and dislikes and general inspiration.
  • Choose to have a shipment sent monthly or defer months as you like.
  • For each shipment you pay a $20 styling fee, which is credited back to you if you purchase something from the box.
  • On your selected date, Stitch Fix sends you a shipment. You try everything on at home. Keep what you like, return what you don’t (free shipping both ways) within 3 days.
  • For each item (whether you keep it or not) you answer a few short multiple choice questions to give them feedback about how the item fits and your satisfaction with it. There is also a free text field where you can give further feedback to our stylist.

Ok. That’s the overview. Now to the fun stuff. My most recent fix!

The first item I opened was the red maxi dress (above). I love it! The notes from my stylist noted that its similar to another style they had sent me but in a print similar to things I’ve pinned on my Pinterest Board but in different colors (an attempt to stretch me a little). There are plenty of options of how to wear it. With a belt. WIth a cardigan over the top. With a shawl over my shoulders. I think it’s really versatile. The straps are wide so I can wear it at work in the summer without something over it and without my bra straps showing. It was a must keep.

I didn’t, however, think the navy cardigan (below) would be a keeper. I tried it on with some pants and it was only ok. Cute, but not a show stopper. Then after reviewing the style guide from Stitch Fix I saw it styled over a dress, and thought “why not?” and put it on over the red dress. Voila! Much better.

Stitch Fix August 2014 } Down Cellar Studio

Stitch Fix August 2014 } Down Cellar StudioIzzie Asymmetrical Button Front Cotton Cardigan $28.00

You can button it in a variety of ways. Please forgive the fact that the shawl collar part is a bit wrinkly in this photo. It can lay nicely if it’s been pressed. It’s also hard to see in the photo, but on the under side of the sleeves there is a ribbed section that holds it on snugly which I enjoy. It’s very soft and comfortable but adds a little pizzazz.

Stitch Fix August 2014 } Down Cellar StudioSpencer Striped Jersey Dress $54.00

I also received this shorter dress. It’s striped, which I adore, and the fit accentuates my smaller top half. There are oodles of styling options. Shoes, jewelry, that navy cardigan may look good over it too, come to think of it. But frankly it was nearly 90 degrees when I was trying these on to show you, so I didn’t get all that creative with the photos.

Stitch Fix August 2014 } Down Cellar StudioCadance Open Back Cowl Neck Top $34.00

This green tank is cute! It has a keyhole cut out in the back. The front-top drapes nicely. The material is good quality and it’s very soft! I think this will be great to wear with some skinny jeans out to a bar with friends. Classic, and not too flashy, but stylish in it’s own right.

Stitch Fix August 2014 } Down Cellar StudioEmily Lightweight Chevron Infinity Scarf $32.00

I’m not big on infinity scarves, but they nailed it with this one! I love chevron. This color blue is beautiful. It’s light and comfortable. It drapes well. I can easily wrap it twice if I want some more warmth and less length.

For the first time, I kept all 5 pieces! I was really impressed with each of them and how appropriate they were for my taste. What really wowed me this time around is just how much they took into consideration all of the feedback I have given. They clearly do look at my Pinterest Board. They have taken note of comments I’ve written about previous items they’ve sent me, both those I’ve kept and those I returned.

So what does all of this cost?

I included the price of each item under the photo. I gave input into the prices I was willing to pay for particular types of items and I think that was reflected in the items I was sent this month.

  • Sub-total for all 5 items: $226
  • 25% discount- $51.50 (for purchasing all 5 items)
  • Styling Fee Credit- $20.00
  • Total for 5 items: $154.50

That averages out to a little less than $31.00 per item. For clothing and accessories that are of good quality, wash and wear well, I think it’s an exceptional value for good product and an uniquely enjoyable shopping experience.

If you haven’t yet checked out Stitch Fix and are looking to change up your style or just try something you don’t see a ton of other passersby wearing, I’d recommend giving it a try. And if you found this review helpful, please consider using my referral code.