Got Yarn? Need a Pattern... (like you do)

Lady Dye Yarns
I want to share my process of matching yarn to pattern today; sometimes I start with a pattern and then search my stash or LYS for yarn. Today I will focus on my thoughts when I opened the mailer containing this yarn. This parcel came to me with no input on my part as to color or yarn weight. I must admit to gasping when I pulled them from the package, so bright, so soft, so squishy and in hues I never gravitate towards. My initial thoughts were in regard to pooling, as I am not a fan of the zigs and zigs of color patterning when I use self striping on a flat piece of knitting. And, since I am not a sock knitter, I knew it was going to become a shawl or a cowl. The second slew of thoughts were in regard to how many and which skeins to combine.

Three skeins untwisted.
Yes, the colors are that bright! These three skeins are from Lady Dye Yarns by Diane Ivey. She is a Boston area dyer and I look forward to meeting her when she comes to speak at the Common Cod Guild on September 11 at 7 pm. The topic of her lecture will be related to creating your own business successfully. Please consider blocking that date on your calendar and join us! Common Cod Fiber Guild is an active and energizing collection of crafters, we gather every other month at MIT for a lecture and sometimes related classes are held on Saturday. If you want to sit and knit before the lecture, there is always a handful of people chatting and knitting. This sit 'n knit makes for a nice ice breaker.  You will enjoy meeting these crafters!

I follow Diane on Facebook and a few weeks back, she messaged that she wanted samples knit up for her Stitches Midwest show. I responded, because it is summer and what else do I have to do but knit? She mailed these three skeins to me and it got my creative wheels turning. My initial pattern idea was Topography using two skeins, bright orange and the canary, hot pink and maroon. You can see a small test swatch to the right. It seemed too loud, and so my next pattern choice was Spectra by Stephen West. Using all three skeins, I loved the play of color and the pattern, but the problem was that the shawl stays even at a depth of 6.5 inches. I wasn't sure I would like the finished project as it tends to spiral curl when hanging loosely. Onto the next....

Swatching ideas, Spectra and Topography
You might wonder how these patterns were the ones I chose to trial. Topography is a favorite and I love the texture created by the garter stitches. I seem to think of that shawl first whenever considering a new shawl project. The way the wedges are knit allow the shawl to sit securely on your shoulders with minimal adjusting while being worn. The modifications to this pattern are on my project page, but I use a smaller gauge needle and more yarn; I have made two where I alternate bands of a solid color that are the same hue as the garter stitches. Another pattern I considered was ZickZack Scarf, but it just didn't feel like the right match. 

Here is what I ended up with....

Topography Shawl
Close up of bumps and stockinette
As I knit on this project, I really enjoyed the soft flow of yarn through my fingers, it wasn't split-y or pill-y and when I finally blocked it, it was color fast. I made this in record time, probably due to the fact that I am hanging out in Maine helping my parents and I have loads of uninterrupted knitting time. They turn in at 6pm! I like how it turned out and wonder what way it will be styled in Diane's booth?

Search Number II
I shared the images of my finished shawl on Facebook and Instagram, and heard back from Diane that she liked the results. She PM'ed me later that the other two skeins were a gift to me for knitting the sample. So the process of pattern searching continued. I considered making another Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang, but this pattern, Union Square, was in my Queue. I think it showcases the yarn quite well, do you? It is my first real foray into color work and I like the outcome so far. I blocked it to show you what it looks like at this point. I still have 6 more repeats before doing the ribbed border.

Union Square

So, I hope my sharing of the process of finding the optimal match of yarn and pattern will be helpful, but if you would leave a comment on how you end up casting on a successful project, I want to know!


Katheen said…
Wow, both of those are lovely! I particularly like how Union Square turned out - I may have to copy your idea and make one myself!
Wow...I love that cowl....great job on the bright and cheerful...

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