How to Knit a Lightning Bug

In summer, there’s a time at twilight, as the light fades over the horizon and the stars start to pop, when the crickets and katydids take up their chorus, and the occasional lightning bug sparks the air. It is the most magical time of day. That’s what these shawls remind me of—twilight in summertime. Whether it’s a reddish sunset over a stark mountain range to the west, or the deep woods of the southeast where fireflies light the darkening under-canopy with their neon bulbs, the Day Fade Shawl exhibits the soft beauty and color transitions of summer eves in the outdoors.

day fade shawl

But the Day Fade Shawl is more than pretty—it’s super fun and quick to knit. Worked with one ball of gradient lace yarn split into two equal balls, you get captivating contrast and subtle transition as you work through the simple purl-ridge pattern. This shawl is a great lightweight knit for travel (let’s go RV’ing, anyone?) and makes a sweet summer accessory that will shift to fall and denim jackets with ease.

The secret to this clever design is the yarn. Freia Ombre Lace comes in a cake that features one long color transition. See how no colors repeat in these cakes?

day fade shawl

To knit the Day Fade Shawl, you start by splitting the cake into two equal balls, which requires a kitchen scale and a ballwinder (check out a video on this method here) . Or, you could try knitting from the outside and the center of the cake, but it will eventually collapse and you might have to break the yarn to rewind it. So, I say, stick with the pattern and use a scale and ballwinder to make two equal cakes.

Tina Whitmore, master dyer at Freia and designer of this shawl, explains: “When splitting the balls, wind off the second ball as a center-pull ball. Then you could work from either end of each (half) ball. The cast-on is worked from the center color—of the original unsplit ball—as the MC and the darkest part of the other half of the ball (black in the case of Oro Azteca) is the CC, which will work its way into the original center color on the outer edge of the shawl. This way you have the highest contrast at any time between the two halves.”

In a simple pattern of increases and stripes, the yarn does most of the work as you zoom across the growing rows. And you keep going until the yarn runs out, which makes a shawl about 48” wide and 18” deep in this yarn.

For a limited time, we’re offering the Day Fade Shawl kit in the colors Embers (sunset) and Oro Azteca (lightning bug). We also offer this yarn in four other colors: Vamp, Grapevine, Ice Queen, and Canyon. Grab your kit today and see how your twilight unfolds!

See you by the campfire,

Knit Summertime Magic with the Day Fade Shawl


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