At the very last minute, last Friday, I decided to join in on Eskimimi’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week event – I didn’t realize it had snuck up so quickly, but it seems like such a fun thing to take part in! I love the idea of all these knitters and crocheters blogging about the same things, all sharing their unique perspectives at the same time. Lovely! So check out Eskmimi’s blog for more information or to quickly join in yourself!
Today’s theme is, simply, color – which really speaks to my favorite part of planning a new project or putting together a design: matching yarn to pattern. This can be an insanely infuriating task when it comes to gauge and yardage and other evil vital details. Trying to determine wether the yarn in your stash will be enough to make that cardigan you love but also lengthen the sleeves is something that fills every knitter with dread. You know it’s true.
But picking a pattern and then searching for the perfect yarn for it – both in color and the yarn’s other unique woolly characteristics (I know this post is supposed to be about color, but for me they can’t be separated) – is something that I relish! At the risk of sounding immodest, this is something I think I do pretty well; when people say they think I’m a good knitter, I know that really I’m just good at matching yarn to project. I knit just about the same as anyone else. But going that extra mile to get the combination just right really makes handknits look just that little bit more professional, more ‘handmade’ than ‘homemade’. So I’m going to take a little look at some unused yarn in my stash and examine it to see what it might grow up to be one day.
Let’s start easy. Here’s a simple Opal 4-Ply sock yarn – for socks, I really have to have nylon in my yarn because the carpeting in my house will rip them to shreds. 25% nylon makes a massive difference, so I grab skeins of Opal and the like when I come across it. So, in theory, this is just the simplest of sock yarns and can be used for nearly anything. But the color – it’s bright and peppy, almost child-like. It doesn’t want to be a delicate lace pattern, but something simpler or bolder, maybe with a little texture to make up for the flat-ness of the commercially dyed color. Something like Sinusoida by Louisa Sisson, or Honey Badger by Irishgirlieknits:
Here’s another sock yarn, but a slightly tricker one. This was a commercial yarn, but because its pooling seemed to obscure every pattern it met, I overdyed it to get a more solid color.
Now it’s a wonderfully rich dark-blue-almost-black semi-solid, but that ply of bamboo – which doesn’t take the dye that covers wool – will still have to be taken into consideration. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what will happen, but I suspect it will still need a simple-ish pattern to be most effective. But because the yarn is also very dark, it can’t be anything that relies on contrast to show; cables, for example, look best in a lighter yarn because the depth of cables is made visible by the shadows they create. Shur’tugal (below) or Mince Pie, both by Alice Yu, have small-scale textured patterns that could work.
Though, honestly, that bamboo ply is really leaving me flustered. I think I’ll have to knit a little swatch of this one before I try any pattern, just to see what happens.
Here’s something a lot simpler, some Rowan Felted Tweed in a lovely warm – but bright – pink.
I like to really look at the yarn and think about the qualities it has that will transfer over to a project. It’s tweedy, which immediately conjures a traditional feeling. It’s a particularly girly pink, so something a little delicate would be nice. Felted Tweed is wonderfully drapey, which is a lovely quality in a shawl or loop cowl. I’m totally cheating on this one, because I already have the perfect pattern picked out for this yarn: Lispenard by Kirsten Kapur.
It’s got cables (traditional), lace (girly), a loopy cowl wants drape, and the warmth of the shade will really suit all of those things. Yum!
Here’s a problem yarn that’s been in my stash for a long time:
I’m totally in love with this yarn – the colors are amazing! Flaming bright pink, with these tiny shocks of electric blue and green. It’s so exciting! But those little color spots will make finding the exact right pattern vital. I’ve done one test and those bits are about 4-5 stitches long. I’ll need a pattern that’s as bold and playful as the yarn, something exciting and fun – but simple enough not be obscured by the color changes. Honestly, I don’t have any ideas for this one – I fell in love with the colors and couldn’t resist them, but I suspect it’ll take quite a few failed matchings before I find the right one. I’m guessing something with slipped stitches will be best, in order to make a feature of the color splashes.
My last example is one of my very favorite stashed yarns, a prize.
This is my own handspun, somewhere between a laceweight and fingering weight, but what makes it amazing is the wool it was spun from. This started as batts made by Katie from Hilltopcloud on etsy – talk about color! Katie’s sense of color is incredible – and matches my own so perfectly. Browsing her shop is like browsing my brain, but being able to buy what I see! It’s the best. The loveliness of this yarn is all because of the colors in it – silver, sparkle, and a blue like jewels. (The batts were even named ‘Ravenclaw’s Diadem’, another reason I adore Katie’s shop!) This is the holy grail of yarns right here, because it could be almost anything, but I will almost definitely use it for lace. I’ve considered using it for the Cloud Illusions shawl (by Boo Knits), one of the next knits I plan to start, but lately I’ve been thinking it would make a perfect Cnidaria by Anna Sudo:
So what do you think? How do you match your projects to yarns or pick colors for your projects?