Monthly Archives: July 2014

Scheming Colors, Part 1

…Or color schemes. Tomayto tomahto.

One of my greatest frustrations with planning to knit a project or trying to correctly use my knitted projects as accessories is color matching. How do I know what items complement each other?

There are many different angles to consider. One is the color wheel, which I’ll discuss in this post, and the others include: seasonal colors, colors for your skin tone, your body shape, whether it’s casual or formal, and more. These other concepts I’ll discuss in a future post.

First: the color wheel. I tried looking for various apps that would help you use the color wheel, but couldn’t find one that did what I wanted it to do. :-/ So here’s an explanation.

basic color wheel

basic color wheel, (c) Takeshi Ugajin

Take a basic color wheel, like the one pictured here. Select your main or dominant color—that is, the color of the principal item in your outfit. Let’s say, for example, that I’m going to wear a blue shirt. To find out what colors complement the main color, you can either select colors that are:

1. Analogous: Directly next to the main color

2. Complementary: Directly across from the main color

3. Triad: Equally spaced from the main color on the color wheel
















Right Angle 2

Right Angle 2

Right Angle 1

Right Angle 1

4. At a right angle to the main color

5. At a T to the main color

6. At an X to the main color









Neutral colors that generally go with everything include beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray, and white, and sometimes brown.

Also consider hue, tone, tint, and shade, which can all affect whether your outfit really goes together.

hue tone tint shade

(c) Takeshi Ugajin

Hue is the pure color.

Tone (a.k.a. complement tint) is hue plus either gray or the opposite color, which will mute or “tone” down the color.

Tint is hue plus white, which will lighten the color.

Finally, shade is hue plus black, which will darken the color.

Consider also the possibility of contrast or of monochromatic colors. In the case of contrast, you can use different shades or tints to select colors you might not otherwise have considered—that is, you can combine light and dark colors. For example, to continue with the example of a blue shirt, I might wear a dark blue shirt with khaki pants or a light blue shirt with dark or black pants. Furthermore, there is the possibility of selecting a monochromatic outfit—that is, all the items in your outfit are the same color but different patterns (i.e., some solid and some patterned), different textures, and different shades, tones, or tints. Continuing with the blue shirt example, I could wear a dark blue, patterned, chiffon skirt; a light blue, solid, cotton shirt; a medium blue solid headscarf; a brown belt; and turquoise jewelry.

Okay, that’s it for now. Tune in next week to get the second half of the color scheming lesson!




I Love Wraps

I love wraps, I really do. But it occurs to me that I’ve written a couple posts recently about cowls that I consider ugly or weird—namely, the survivor cowl or Everdeen cowl (5/23/14 post Hollywood Knits) and the arm-knit cowl (5/9/14 post Arm Knitting and Giant Goblin Goiters).

First, I’d like to refer you to last week’s blog post about the differences between cowls, shawls, scarves, wraps, stoles, etc. According to those definitions, the arm-knit giant goblin goiter “cowl” is indeed a cowl. However, the survivor cowl or Everdeen cowl doesn’t really fit any of the descriptions. It’s more like a cross between a shawl and a cowl, or a partial vest with a cowl. For lack of better description, though, I guess it should remain “cowl.” What do you think?

moebius wrap

moebius wrap

So what do I like? I like certain simple shawls, Möbius shawls, and shoulderettes or shoulder wraps the best.

I like the look of this plain Möbius shawl (left) and this lace Möbius shawl (below). Both free patterns are available on Ravelry.






The vintage shoulderette tends to have sleeves but the modern shoulder wrap or shoulder shawl usually doesn’t. I prefer the look of the modern shoulder wrap. Here are some of my favorites (free patterns on Ravelry):

Shoulder Warmer with Lace Pattern

Shoulder Warmer with Lace Pattern

Kansas City Cowl

Kansas City Cowl







Lace Blend Shoulder Cowl

Lace Blend Shoulder Cowl

Knitted Shoulder Wrap

Knitted Shoulder Wrap











(Note that #1, the “Kansas City Cowl,” and #4, the “Lace Blend Shoudler Cowl,” are NOT cowls!!!)

I prefer the shoulder wrap that is not open in front, but there are plenty of really cute or elegant shoulder shawls that are open in front, like this one.

Shoulder Piece in Garter Stitch

Shoulder Piece in Garter Stitch

I think I have a thing for DROPS Design… 3 of the 5 shoulder shawls I selected are designed by them! Hmmmm…

But there are also some REALLY cool items that are not quite shawl, not quite shirt/sweater/hoodie/vest, like these two (both free patterns on Ravelry):

Shoulder Hoodie

Shoulder Hoodie

Shawl Collar Vest

Shawl Collar Vest









I better stop while I’m ahead! And if this seems like a shameless plug for Ravelry… GOOD! All knitters and crocheters should be members of Ravelry. It’s free to become a member and there are thousands of free patterns on the site. If you’re like me, you could spend all day on the site… Hmm… Of course, we all know the tenth commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor her really cool knitted items, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” (Exodus 20:17)


Cowl vs. Shawl vs. Scarf vs. Wrap vs. Stole…???

Warning: this will be a long post.

Disclaimer: With media such as Pinterest and Facebook sending photos around at the speed of light, almost always without the originator’s permission, one would think something less willy-nilly, so to speak, than Facebook or Pinterest (e.g., a stationary blog post) would pose no concern. However, some people apparently don’t like their photos being passed around. (If I post a photo anywhere on the internet, I expect it will be passed around without my knowledge or express consent, so if you find I post an original photo or image anywhere on the internet, you can assume my consent to its being passed around.) In order to use as few of other people’s photos as possible without their express permission, I began drawing (yes, drawing) renditions of everything. However, in moving to Tokyo, I accidentally left my drawings behind and, having no idea where they are, I have no way of obtaining them from friends or family still living in Texas. :-/ That’s an awful lot of work wasted. At any rate, please understand that I made my absolute best effort not to use anyone else’s photos of anything, ever, but it didn’t really work out. Legal advice given me stated (short version) that I’m overreacting by drawing everything and that I really don’t have to worry about it. I will continue to attribute photos to their originators wherever possible.


It seems a huge point of confusion arises when discussing the differences between scarves, shawls, cowls, wraps, and stoles, made worse by the tendency of pattern writers and salespeople to use all terms in the description in order to attract the most traffic. I was also confused on this point, so I decided the look it up. The best source I could find was here, but several references are listed at the bottom.



shawl (c) E. Perkins, 2012

A shawl is a rectangular/triangular/square larger item wrapped around the body or draped over the shoulders. It is worn for decorative purposes (to accent an outfit or cover bare shoulders in formal attire), religious purposes, or to keep warm. It can be worn by men or women.

Mobius Shawl

mobius shawl

mobius shawl (c) DROPS Design

A Mobius shawl is crafted in a circle or loop so that there’s no beginning or end to it and has a twist in the fabric based on the mathematical discovery by Möbius and Listing of being “non-orientable.” It may be long or short, narrow or wide. It is usually worn over the shoulders. It is usually worn by women.



stole (c) E. Perkins, 2012

A stole is similar to a shawl, but made of elegant fabric, narrower in width, and long enough to drape around the body. It probably is related to the ancient Roman stola (the woman’s version of the toga). It’s generally worn by women. The wide decorative sash draped over the shoulders for graduation or liturgical purposes is also referred to as a stole and is worn by men and women.


A “wrap” can be a shawl or a stole.


vintage shoulderette

vintage shoulderette (c) American Thread Company, 1943

modern shoulderette

modern shoulderette (c) D. Brocco

A shoulderette is kind of a cross between a sweater and a shawl. It’s probably a precursor to the modern bolero jacket. Modern shoulderettes may not have sleeves or an open front, instead being crafted in one circular piece.



scarf (c) E. Perkins, 2012

A scarf is long and narrow (but may not be narrow if the fabric is fine). It is wrapped or tied around the neck for warmth or as a decorative accent in both casual and formal fashion. It can be worn by men and women.

Infinity Scarf

infinity scarf

infinity scarf (c) M. Hudson, 2013

An infinity scarf is a scarf crafted in a circle or loop so that there’s no beginning or end to it. It may be narrow or wide, fine or thick.



bandana (c) E. Perkins, 2012

A bandana, neckscarf, or neckerchief is a smaller square scarf usually 20-22 inches wide. It is usually made of a light material such as silk and is worn around the neck. It may be worn by men or women.



foulard (c) E. Perkins, 2012

A foulard is a larger square scarf usually 36 inches wide. It is usually made of a light material such as silk and can be worn as a head scarf or around the neck or waist. It is traditionally worn by women.

Oversized Scarf

oversized scarf

oversized scarf (c) E. Perkins, 2012

There is also an oversized square scarf that is 47-55 inches wide. It is worn as a head scarf, worn as a shawl wrapped around the shoulders, or worn around the hips. It is worn by men and women. Men usually wear it wrapped around the neck in loose folds.


modern cowl

modern cowl (c) M. Hudson, 2013

Finally, a cowl is either a hooded cloak worn by a monk, the hood of such a cloak, or a draped neckline on a woman’s garment. However, a handmade cowl today tends to be a separately-crafted item not attached to your top. It is similar to a disconnected cowl on a woman’s garment, or a larger-than-normal disconnected neck of a turtleneck.

I feel like I understand the differences much better now. 🙂 Don’t you agree? What do you prefer of the above? Do you know of any other items similarly confused for any of the above?




Happy Independence Day Knitting!

Wow, what are the chances that this post would fall *exactly* on Independence Day (U.S.A.)? This happens to be my favorite holiday, so I was honestly quite bummed to realize that, obviously, it’s not a holiday in Japan and I will therefore not celebrate it in the traditional way while living here. *Sad Panda*

So in honor of July the Fourth, here is a long selection of patriotic (free!) patterns. Click the pictures for the links. (Note: These were free when I found them. However, when editing this post, I later found one to have changed from free to paid and therefore deleted it. If you find one of these is no longer free by the time you click the link, I apologize. I am as disappointed as you are.)


baby dress

baby dress (c) A. Rege

baby dress 2

baby/toddler dress (c) C. Masessa

bib (c) S. Dyas

preemie beanies

preemie beanies (c) T. Batchelder

baby booties (c) K. Popadin







wrap (c) Lion Brand Yarn


afghan (c) R. White

table runner

table runner (c) L. Hering

table runner

table runner (c) J. Clement

sock pin

sock pin (c) K. North

ribbon pin

ribbon pin (c) D. Adcock

tote bag

tote bag (c) E. Wiechmann


purse (c) Sassy Skein


wallet (c) J. Nachman

toy lion

toy lion (c) Phoeny


pennant (c) Little England




hat 2 earflap

beanie 3

(c) M.J. Mucklestone

beanie 2

(c) Iam 4MAN

beanie 1

(c) L. Smith






hoodie (c) B. Kluckhohn


(c) E. Epstein

girl blouse

girl blouse (c) Universal Yarn

sweater toddler child

(c) Maddie Créatricoteuse





scarf 3

(c) Frivolite Handcrafts

scarf 1

(c) National WW Museum

Scarf 2 ruffle

(c) Red Heart Yarns





(c) L Sielicki

gloves fingerless

(c) L. Bernard

wrist cuff

(c) C Rose




socks 1 beads

(c) J. Erickson-Sweitzer

socks 2

(c) J Erickson-Schweitzer

socks 3

(c) R.B. Creedle



Here’s to apple pie waistlines, sparkler burns, and Roman candle wars. Here’s to the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s to the Land of the Free (usually) and the Home of the Brave. Here’s to whiskey for my men and beer for my horses.

But most of all, here’s to our incredible Founding Fathers, that the current Administration might recognize their greatness and respect them as something more than “just a bunch of old, white, slave-owning men.”