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I Found My Fade in Zen's Hand-dyed Yarns 

I Found My Fade in Zen's Hand-dyed Yarns 

If there is a handknit designer who is currently more "liked" than Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits, I'd like to know. With her "modern knitwear for the modern knitter" and her 191k followers on Instagram, she's a force in the knitting community. Her designs are chic yet approachable. Her techniques are not overly complicated, and her use of color is stunning. Her "fades" continue to trend, even though she introduced the technique back in December 2016 and it's now late 2021!

Though I've been knitting for years, I just completed my first "fade" from Drea Renee Knits… the Find Your Fade shawl. According to Ravelry, this pattern has been knit 10,963 times as of today. However, that's only counting the number of people who've posted their project on Ravelry. I'm sure this number is double that, if not more, when you count all those who've knit it without posting it on Ravelry.

Shawl knit in hand-dyed skeins of purple, green, and white draped on dress form (left) and displayed against a white couch (right)

I chose the Find Your Fade shawl because I had several colorful, hand-dyed yarns in fingering weight that I desperately wanted to use, and with this pattern, I could use them all! In this case, the yarns were from Zen Yarn Garden, milled in Italy and dyed in Canada.

In the pattern's description, Andrea writes, "Let your creativity shine!! Get creative - this is YOUR shawl! Use only 1 color, or 3, or 10. I highly recommend diving into your stash (or the shelves of your LYS)... Look for nuances that can be seen from one color to the next." For my shawl, I chose four skeins that all incorporated a vibrant, warm violet or magenta hue, each to different degrees. My first yarn was a tonal, rosey lavender, which I used to bookend the shawl. Then, in the middle, I used a splatter version (color on white) of a green called "Jungle Bush", followed by its full color version, followed by a green and magenta hand-painted skein. With just about 10 garter ridges to go, I ran out of yarn so, per Andrea's recommendation, I dove into my stash to find a few grams of deep, dark purple with magenta highlights, which provided just a touch of "pop" at the end. I could have also gone with a mottled grey or pale pink for a softer finish.

Zen has two fingering weight yarns -- Superfine Fingering and Serenity 20 Fingering -- that are both terrific choices for this piece. They are both super soft and squishy and feel great in your hands and against the skin. I used Zen's Superfine Fingering (90% superfine, superwash merino, 10% nylon) for the shawl shown here, but my next one will be made with Serenity 20, which consists of a slightly more luxurious blend (70% superfine, superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon). It's a bit more expensive, but the added cashmere makes it deliciously soft!

Andrea's original shawl shown from the back (left) alongside three different kit colorways.

If you'd like to try your hand at Andrea Mowry's Find Your Fade shawl, we've created some kits to get you started. Each of these kits include four (4) skeins of Zen's fingering weight yarn (either Superfine Fingering or Serenity 20), which can be used to knit the entire piece or supplemented with other fingerings from your stash. Kits come with a professionally printed pattern that includes a Ravelry download code so you can add the pattern to your library. Or, you can purchase a yarn-only kit for a few dollars less, since it doesn't include the pattern. 

In January 2019, Edith Zimmerman wrote a delightful blog post entitled This Woman Is Making Shawls Sexy, I Swear to You… which was a love letter to Andrea published on TheCut.com. It's worth a read if you want to know more about the designer and her trendsetting knits.

Susan Watkins

Susan Watkins

Prior to launching Izzy Knits in 2018, Susan worked professionally as a freelance marketing consultant, specializing in branding, graphic design, and copywriting. Today, she puts these same skills to good use at Izzy Knits, where she gets to delight daily in the fiber arts, satisfying her passion for color and texture. Outside of work, Susan loves to spend time with her family, including her parents, husband, and two children. She enjoys photography and travel, knitting to unwind, and serving the global Church in southern Haiti.