Before you do anything today, please go back on over to Ruth’s. She’s posted her first installment in the Playing with Colour series and you must NOT miss it! Ruth is really really really on to something here. I’m just jealous I didn’t think of it first. 😉

Last night I had my first color crisis with my squares. My process for picking colors is like this: dump the large bag of Tahki Cotton Classic on the floor and start rifling through finding colors I like. Once I’ve identified a range, I pick the four that hit me somewhere – my head, my heart, my eyes – I don’t know – I’m maybe not that conscious of the process (sorry Margene!) I just get four I like together. Usually I try to make sure there’s some kind of zinger in there.

Once I’ve got my colors together, then it’s time to decide which one is going to be most dominant. As I said before, I’m choosing one color of four (right now – this might change as I go along) that is the lead color on all four miters of a square. The other three colors become the “background” with one repeating twice. Don’t hold me to this particular rule. The main color rule – that’s staying. I really love the cohesiveness it brings to the squares and I think it lets me go a little wild in the background colors. I haven’t felt the need to go all out with four different backgrounds yet, but it could happen. There are going to be A LOT of squares. Lately I see this as a cover for my king size bed. Not necessarily a blanket to actually fit – just something to lay over the top of the bed. I’m crazy – but I’m not insane. I don’t think so at least. I’ve always taken comfort in the idea that if I ever do truly go insane I won’t know it because I’m insane. My therapist likes to burst this bubble all the time.

For square number 7 I chose a vibrant purple, a very dark purple, a wine, and a green. Right away I thought I’d go with the vibrant purple as the main color, and the dark purple as the repeating background. I like to knit all three different background colors before I do the repeat just in case I want to change my mind. I had two miters done last night at about 12:30 AM and I cast on for the third miter because you MUST CAST ON when you finish a miter. This is a law. There is no skirting around it. A tradition, but not necessarily a law – although as the rabbis teach us, tradition can sometimes be more compelling than law – is to knit the first six rows of the miter. Or at least get past the first two rows.

So I’m in bed and it’s very late and I’m very tired and I just want to get a couple of rows under my belt on the next miter when I suddenly decide that I’ve fucked up the order of the colors! The DARK purple should be the main color – NOT the vibrant purple. (Please PLEASE don’t ask me the color numbers. I’m keeping spreadsheet after spreadsheet of the yarn colors I have and where I’ve bought them but I neglected to write down which colors I’m using for which square. Sometimes I think I’ll work backwards to figure it out (because what if there’s a color I really like and want to use again!?) but then I don’t. It’s adding a bit of anxiety to the project – which might actually be a good thing. Maybe I am crazy after all?) Luckily I was smart enough to know that in the poor poor light of my bedroom and the dark sheets (dark purple and wine purple) I wasn’t going to be able to tell anything. So I put the miter down, turned out the lights and tried to sleep. You know where this is going right? I couldn’t get the miter out of my freaking mind – turning the colors over – questioning my decision. Then I had a weird dream about being thin and wearing a Von Furstenberg wrap dress. Oddly, it wasn’t a very good dream.

When I woke up this morning and took the miters into the light to photograph for you, it became clear that my first instinct was the right one.

At least I think so. For now.

A couple of things about the miters – someone asked if they were heavy. I weighed one square – four miters – lightly blocked, ends hanging, unsewed and I got 68 kg or 2 3/8 oz. (What the hell do I know! It says kg right there on my scale!) They don’t feel very heavy, but I’m sure the blanket will be substantial when they’re all sewn up and laying over my lap.

Another thing – someone asked where I’m getting the Tahki Cotton Classic from – my initial forty skeins came from WEBS grab bag sale, which is over. Then I bought another 20 skeins from them as singles. WEBS has a nice discount policy – the more you buy the more you save. My greedy search for more colors also took me to Flying Fingers. I wasn’t so happy with this store when I was actually IN the store, but the mail order customer service has been very nice. A couple of the colors I wanted are on backorder – but they assured me I’d be getting them soon. The third place I’ve been buying TCC is from the Tahki website – they use Shopatron. If you’re not familiar with Shopatron – it’s a FABULOUS idea! You buy the yarn from the manufacturer’s website (I know Louet uses Shopatron as well) and the orders are actually fulfilled by local yarn stores! So my large order for Tahki Cotton Classic was fulfilled partly by The Yarn Shoppe in Miami, Florida and My Knitch in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. I don’t know about you – but I think this is great! I get to shop in one place for all the colors I want and Shopatron gets to track it down for me! And I’m supporting local yarn stores (maybe not MY local yarn stores, but somebody’s!) I should be getting more yarn any day now – I’ll let you know how it plays out. (Just a note – it looks like the prices on the Tahki web site are a bit more expensive. By like $.25-$.50. For me, that’s okay – because I don’t have to go searching every small website on the Internet. I’m the person who will pay full price at Bloomingdale’s because I CAN NOT STAND sifting through the racks at TJ Maxx. That’s just me. Time is money.)

Thanks so much for all your kudos on our crazy weekend. As I mentioned, I am extremely close with these kids and besides my own, if I have them one day, I wouldn’t do this for anyone else. (Sorry!) I love them to distraction and anything I can do to make their lives a little better – by keeping with their routines or letting them eat pasta with butter until they burst or letting them sleep with me because they miss their Mommy then I will do it. I would do anything for them. They are my family.

Okay. Off to knit miters! Have a great da


  1. The miters and squares are fantastic color combo’s so far. I’m wondering how many skeins do you think it will take to make a king size throw?

  2. Beautiful! The colors are so fun! I have started my own miters. I have not defined my rules to well yet. I started with a primary and a secondary color. And now I am altering the pattern in the colorway. Does that make sense? I am almost done with my first complete block of 4 in blue and orange. I love it! Thanks for the inspiration to give this a try! I have been eyeballing it in Mason-Dixon forever!

  3. I love spring green with purple. I can’t wait to see how this turns out.
    Between your miters and Ruth’s series on color, I’ve had wild color combinations bubbling up in my head all morning!

  4. I had to comment because I LIVE in Madison, WI (Fitchburg is a suburb) and I had no idea that store (My Knitch) existed. Small world, huh? I’ll have to check it out sometime.
    Your choices of color are so inspiring!

  5. Your mitered throw/blanket/whatever you will call it =) is going to be sooo cool or should I say warm? All the color combos put together are going to be amazing. You need to get more pictures of all the squares together. 😉

  6. Thanks for the info on the weight of the squares! I’ve got my own little color-combination obsession going on right now (it’s a long story. More info here). Thanks for being an inspiration for your fellow color freaks!

  7. I am the same way about money and time. My mother was the consummate shopper and would go to 6 different grocery stores each week to get the best deals on EVERYTHING. I would rather eat boxed mac and cheese than do that.
    The miters are looking neat!

  8. I too hate shopping unless there is fiber involved.
    You have such eye for color. Your instincts are working well!

  9. “I weighed one square – four miters – lightly blocked, ends hanging, unsewed and I got 68 kg or 2 3/8 oz.”
    I think you meant 68 grams. Or that would be one HEAVY blanket!

  10. I’ve been talking with Ruth about this for a while, trying to absorb a little bit of the genius she exudes, and while I don’t think I have the eye she has for finding the ideal colours to pick in the sea of pixels, it is an absolute blast to use her method on photographs and see what shows up. This morning I pixellated a photo of the iris of my eye, and I swear, now I know how Colour Me Beautiful works.
    I also now know that What Not To Wear needs to come and smack me around and get rid of all the black in my closet 🙂

  11. Cara, I absolutely love your miters, but am fairly sure that each one does not weigh about 68kg, as that would place them at approximately 150lbs each! : P
    Now I am imagining how much TCC it would take to knit a 150lb miter… How much space would it cover? Would you be able to make a blanket for a house or field if you put them together?

  12. LOVE it. I love the purple. I’m in search of purple. I can’t find a decent purple. I have purple-Y colors… but no purple. There’s one dark, dark, dark purple that I have but it looks navy in some lights.. lots of fuschia-y colors too. Lots of green, too. I need to knit more squares. LOL 🙂 I’m swapping with one of my knit-group ladies tonight, so we’ll see what I end up with. I’ve also had success finding colors on eBay. A couple of the sellers are a bit cheaper than stores, if that helps some people. I know you said not to ask about colors, but if you happen to be checking out your spreadsheet & you happen to think about it, could you tell me what number the vibrant purple is? no worries if you don’t think about it, though! 🙂

  13. Those purples are perfect. They look lickable. (ooh a tongue twister and a compliment!)

  14. I love the colors in those mitered squares! They really fit in with the lovely weather we’re having today in the Netherlands.

  15. The vibrant purple looks great as a background color! I think it would be hard for you to go wrong here 🙂

  16. There’s a yarn store here that has a big selection of TCC hanging on pegs, sorted by color. Seeing all of your miters makes me want to skip work and go stare at them!
    And I completely agree- time is money! I’m always baffled by people who will go to four different grocery stores and wait in four different lines (not to mention the parking and traffic!) just to save $20 on their grocery bill. How is that really saving anything?

  17. i’m loving all of these entries on miters 🙂 they are very soothing to me.

  18. I love the idea of these miters as color studies. Sometimes the most unlikely combinations can surprise you. Once they are all sewn together into the larger piece, you will begin to see other color relationships emerging. I like to take off beat combinations and see how the balance of each color affects the overall look. A little more or less of a color can make all of the difference. There are many painters who spend their careers exploring color. The one that comes to mind for me is Mark Rothko and his Studies in Color.
    Your purples look wonderful. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  19. Thanks for the link to Ruth! That’s really neat stuff and now I’m itching for things to start sprouting and flowering in my yard to play around with color palettes.

  20. I definitely like the first choice for the purples – but hey, you can try out the other option next, right?
    Thanks for the link to Ruth’s site – so many talented bloggers out there, my Bloglines is going to explode…

  21. Thanks for the great link! Clever, clever stuff.

  22. Coming out of lurkdom to say that I love the miters! I have not yet tried them myself, but seeing your color combinations has given me more inspiration to go buy lots of beautifully colored yarn and start playing. Up until now I’ve always been conservative in putting colors together in my knitting and crochet, but seeing the blanket in Mason-Dixon Knitting and now your miters have encouraged me to step out of the box a little when it comes to color. Also, I think the vibrant purple is great as the main color for your latest square.

  23. Thanks for the comments on using Shopatron, Cara. There’s been debate among LYSOs as to its effectiveness. Yours is the first consumer comment I’ve heard and I’m pleased it’s positive.
    Love, love, love the purple squares.

  24. I don’t know if I’ve commented here before, but I read almost daily. I’m just a lazy commenter. (And always assuming that what I have to say doesn’t really want to be heard.)
    I used to work for a yarn shop, and most shop owners hated the idea of Shopatron. It totally cut into their profit and didn’t let them set their selling price and I think TSC takes a % of the sale too. (So not only are they selling the yarn to the company, but they are then taking a % of what would otherwise be profit.) I don’t know if this is still the case, but I thought maybe you’d want to know the “insider” view of things.
    That being said… I’m definitely a hunt-for-the-best-deal girl. I loathe to pay full price for anything. It’s probably from all my years in retail and knowing what the actual cost is for a lot of things. But I am the type to take the first parking spot I have, mostly because I’m too lazy to look around.

  25. That looks good. I think it’s a great idea that your doing all of this and keeping us in the loop with the color combos and such. Thanks

  26. About Playing with Color…I went to a lecture by Jenny Beyer, who designs luscious quilt fabric and she does the same thing with photographs to get color palettes for her fabric lines and quilts. Looks like a fun technique!

  27. PICAdrienne says:

    I can’t wait to see the vibrant purple with the green. I thought I was going to be knitting my son a log cabin, then he saw the mitered blanket. He is not sure now, I think it will end up being courthouse steps or the miters.

  28. Cara….. so glad your back!!!! Sounds like you had such a great time with those kiddies. I missed your posts, as I look forward to them every day. I LOVE your miters…. the colors are so great. Just how many skeins of TCC have you used? Also just wanted to let you know my Ariann is done, and she turned out great. I am so happy with it and have had many great compliments. I just ordered a cotton blend for a 3/4 length sleeve one for the summer months. THANKS SO MUCH…..I really don’t think I would have figured it out without you!

  29. Gosh, I love that vibrant purple! It’s the right one, for sure.
    Now, of course, I’m thinking about a colorful project of my own… mm!

  30. I dunno, but *I* think Tahki should GIVE you the TCC because you are the best advertising they could ever get!!

  31. Dude, you were wearing a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress and it still wasn’t a good dream? That’s a crying shame. (I still remember when she posed for the cover of Newsweek in that dress. I was eight years old, I was enchanted, and I held onto that damn magazine until it was in shreds, and my parents were finally compelled to throw it away when I wasn’t looking.)
    I am trying, really trying, not to start any miters until I finish the Log Cabin blanket first, but you’re making it really difficult for me. Not complaining, just saying.

  32. I am thoroughly enjoying the saga of the mitre squares. I think your colour instinct was right. One day, I shall tackle a mitre square (notice I didn’t say mitre square afghan). I’m still trying to get a log cabin square to lie flat!!!
    Now I’m off to check out the colour study you suggested…..

  33. I’m delurking here to tell you that the colours for your latest miter (in today’s post) are the colours for my wedding and, might I say, by seeing your pictures of the colours together (particularly the purple with the green… the green!!!)you’ve completely reaffirmed my choice! Thank you!

  34. Those damn mitre squares will make you crazy. Honestly, I think I heard of a new drug on the market that you talk while knitting them (usually side effects: nose bleeds, headaches, itchy ass) . . . never mind, the side effects blow! I knew that the complete throw is heavy, but I didn’t think that it would be that heavy. I have about 20 more squares to go before I even think about seaming and I have just been knitting whatever two yarns I grab. Should be f-ing lovely!

  35. I think your first instinct was right too. Those miters look great. I love purple.
    And I have to say, between your miters and Stacey’s miters over at Sheep in the City, I finally caved. I ordered a crapload of Araucania NatureCotton last night to make my own mitered square blanket. I can’t wait ’til it gets here!

  36. You know it’s true, serious family love, when even the offer of free yarn for childcare won’t budge you. Can’t blame a girl for trying though!

  37. Cara, if you’re still tracking down TCC there’s plenty in NYC at Downtown Yarns and Knitty City. I’m sure if you called either of them they’d be happy to do a bit of mail order. TCC is one of my favorites, too, so I always keep an eye on who has what.

  38. I love, love, love the purple! Beautiful! Thanks for the link to Ruth, what she’s doing is fascinating. I just took some pictures at a garden, so I think I’ll try her technique on them and see what happens.

  39. I love your squares! I am so inspired by them and think it’s the perfect project for me to start next month. I’m having surgery and will be in bed for 2 weeks afterward recovering. I think mitered squares are perfect knitting for that time! Now I need to finish my court steps log cabin before then…hahaha

  40. I love the purple color! I’m really drawn to purples and blues since I can see them really well. I’m red/green colorblind, so I lose those shades, but man I can see that purple and blue clear as day! Knit more with those colors, since I know you only knit for your bizarre readers who represent like 0.5% of the knitting population :oP

  41. Hi! I’d like the flower basket shawl but I can’t to find the pattern. Could you send me it please. I’ll be pleasure with you. Please, please…….Answer me to my email if you want.

  42. 42!!

  43. I’ve been having so much fun watching the color choices you make. Fabulous. Up until these last two miters. Yup. The darker purple needs to be the main color. The bright one with the wine makes me feel slightly nauseous.

  44. Wow, I teach knitting and crochet at the Yarn Shoppe! I showed Shana your post and she is very happy for the bloggy mention. We love Shopatron. Thanks for spreading the word.