Review: Knitting With Rainbows – Carol Feller

I can put away my wallet for just about anything but a good book.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reviewing some of my favourite fall releases. 


Gradient yarns are everywhere!  And we are spoiled with a myriad of choices…handpainted single skein gradients, cake dyed single skein gradients and mini skein sets like our own Tornadoz. Some colour shifts are subtle; some dramatic. We are seduced by the possibilities for the colours, but often paralyzed by choice.

This is where Knitting With Rainbows comes in. Carol Feller’s new book is a manual for breaking down what kind of gradient you have in your hands, and which techniques work best to show off the colour shifts to their best advantage.

Carol guides us through different types of gradients, how they’re constructed and then matches each one up with techniques that shows it off magically. A handy chart guides you through looking for techniques that work best with the gradient you have in your hands, while using patterns in the book as examples. Each chapter guides you expertly through a different technique, including “yarn management” tips that help you make the colours in your gradient flow smoothly through the entire project.

In fact, those tips alone are plenty. At this point in my knitting life, I am deeply attracted to books that teach me new things. Teach me techniques. Inspire me to be more creative. Just as a technique manual, this book will live with others that I reach for often.

But the patterns!



Stave Hat borrows its inspiration from the Bohus tradition. Combining texture and subtle shifts in a simple colour pattern with a dramatic effect.





Probys artfully combines a mini skein gradient with a slipped stitch pattern that uses the gradient to every inch of it’s advantage. Whether using a subtle gradient, or a set of colours cobbled from yarn scraps in your stash, these are a wonderful “go to” gift project.




Mardyke takes my breath away. Shifting the fabric on its axis, shifts the colours was well. I love the juxtaposition of the angles of the fabric/colour vs the lace. It keeps my eye moving and appreciating every inch.



Knitting With Rainbows is an excellent addition to your library and suitable gift for adventurous knitters of any level. Purchase directly from Carol on her website in both digital and print/digital formats, or Ravelry (digital only)

(All photos ©Joseph Feller/

To Reskein, or Not to Reskein

After we dye our yarn, we reskein each and every skein.

We do it to make sure you have a good winding experience.  If a skein is tangled at the mill or in the dye pot, we deal with it so you don’t have to.

But my personal favourite reason for reskeining is this:  it mixes up the colours.

Let me show you what I mean, using some skeins of the 50 Shades of Bazinga colourway we created for Knitty’s 10th Anniversary.

Fresh from the dyepot:



Now I love the way these look.  I love the way the dye looks splashed on them and how the edges of the blocks of colour are uneven.

But:  How will it look when it’s knit up?

Leaving the colours as dyed tells me nothing about what I might expect from this yarn when I knit it up.  Will there be big sweeping swaths of colour? Or short dashes?  How will the colours blend when shifted around and snugged up next to each other?

I don’t know.

Now, skeins from the same batch reskeined:



It looks entirely different.  You’d never know it was the same yarn.

Sometimes we dye colours that I think are really horrible.  Then we reskein them and fall madly in love.

But you be the judge.  Here’s this colour way knit up in Knitty. (a different dye lot.  Because there are so many colours in Bazinga, different ones become the star of every skein)

So clearly I’m biased!

Tell us what you think.  To reskein, or not to reskein?  How much of a difference does it make to you?

Can I Keep Them?

Sign up for the Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination Club!

I live in my favourite place in the world.  It took a long time to get here…to figure out what we needed to do to live here.  And it was worth it.  I wake up every morning, in every season, to beauty…everywhere I look.

But I do miss my friends in Toronto.  So every year (OK, 2 so far, but I don’t see this ending) a small group of friends make the trek north in the dead of winter to see me.  Seriously.  Not in the summer, when the roads are clear.  They wait till it’s -30° C and the weather network is throwing around phrases like “flash freezing warning”. I know we like wool and everything, but THAT’S friendship.

This is Anastasia.


She brought us cake, made by her cousin at Good to the Last Crumb.   That blur behind her? Stephannie racing to the cake.


And not just any cake…YARN CAKE!  With a pattern.  Which we ate.  All of it.  No, you can’t have some.

We got to roll around in Glenna’s Midnight Collection samples:


What’s even more amazing is that the samples were out romping around with her carrot cupcakes a hair’s breath away. Brave woman, that.

We moved right in to the house we rented and sprawled across every spare bit of space.




Getting up occasionally to cook:


(I love Martha because she brought me purple carrots. PURPLE!)

And we knit.


While introducing the uninitiated to Firefly and Buffy. (Though I somehow managed to dodge Dr. Who again…and I wasn’t even trying to!)

The Boy helped me bring over a little yarn. Two carloads full. So there was some very organized and well thought out hoarding:

Retreat 2011

And more food:


“Drizzle the cream ARTISTICALLY”, were the instructions.

We entertained Little Miss Lambie Toes…


Why yes, that IS a demon on the TV. Children’s Aid is SO going to be after us. And yes, that IS a world famous knitwear designer making faces at the munchkin. The extent some people will go to to avoid designing an entire Firefly-based sock collection in one weekend…

Really, this post should be all about the child:


“Mummy, this is MY stash…YOUR stash is purple.”

This year, this was more than a retreat to me. It was a milestone. At last year’s retreat, our entire stock fit into 2 plastic tubs. This year, we couldn’t bring it all. A year ago I was certain that no one would ever buy our yarn ever again. And this group of women encouraged me, made me laugh and told me I was crazy. They told me they had it all figured out and all I had to do was make beautiful yarn. And then each one went home and did at least one little thing to help us grow. It wasn’t exactly the same group this year. It may not be the same group next year. But this weekend. This oasis of calm and laughter and flavour and colour in the middle of winter is just what I need at exactly the time I need it.

(PS:  We really REALLY missed you Sandi and Andrea and Joyce and Jen!)