Are you Pairing Yarn and Project the Wrong Way?
Last month, during the yarn review of Red Heart’s Boutique yarns Twilight and Infinity, I touched upon not using very colorful yarn for a project with an intense stitch pattern. This is a small part of a much larger iceberg that doesn’t get as much attention as it should.
You always want to coordinate your yarn and projects. I’ll tell you right now, I find it much easier to pair a yarn to a project rather than the other way around. There are hundreds of thousands of patterns and you could spend days on Ravelry seeking the right pattern. Whereas yarn is usually something we touch and go, ‘ohhh, no, I must have this’. At that point we panic and try to think what we would use it for, how much should we get, what’s the budget for this project?
If you use the queue or library of your Ravelry page then you’re halfway there. You can save the patterns you like in here and when the opportunity of yarn comes up, just check the gauge and yardage for that project; simple, easy, no panic involved. If you’re going in the other direction and just buy a sweater’s worth of yarn every time, you need to search for the perfect pattern, you might have way too much, not enough, this yarn might be best suited for making a hat, but now you have 1000m in your stash.
I feel that I have now terrified most people into using these tools and being extremely organized with their yarn shopping from now on; sorry for the horror stories, but it IS October.
Now! For unsolicited advice about actually picking your yarn. Keep in mind what I said about busy yarn color and busy stitch patterns. It’s like wearing a patterned shirt and patterned pants. It’s possible, but never looks as good as you think it will. There’s another factor in there, which is more particularly inline with this week’s yarn: texture.
The two yarns I’m playing with this week are furry, but there are a number of other factors that give a yarn texture. Mohair and baby yarns can be textured because they’re so fluffy, Red Heart’s Scrubby yarn is textured. A good way to tell if a yarn is textured would be to knit a swatch and see if you can clearly define stitches.
If you remember the swatch I posted yesterday, there’s no way you would be able to make heads or tails out of a stitch pattern on that swatch. You might be able to do something that was really REALLY big, like a cable that was 18 or 20 stitches in total, but that seems like we’re going a bit nuclear. The cabled cowl posted on Monday has a lot of texture in itself; therefore it will be suited for a very plain yarn; solid, one color, regular spun construction.
Let’s talk about where you can use all the texture you want. Edges! The Boutique Sashay Fringe in particular would be excellent for edges. If you want to make fancy cuffs for your jacket, the edge around a triangular shawl, a ruffle for a throw pillow this works well. With Sashay Fringe you could even do something like make an entire throw pillow. The fur is soft enough that you would be able to get away with it AND it would ruffle causing a plain stockinette throw pillow to look much more complicated than it actually was to knit.
Throws are a place where you are able to use more than one texture. There are blanket patterns out there that call for several different types of yarn including a few that have a fuzzy texture. This is a design element within the pattern and usually add a bit of pizazz in an otherwise plain blanket. If used in a consistent manner, you could easily integrate a textured yarn into a log cabin throw or a striped pattern. It would have to be repeated in a pattern so it doesn’t look out of place. If you’re doing a striped pattern, make every other, or every 4th stripe a texture. Then you’re saving yourself from the heartbreak of a ‘looks-like-you-ran-out-of-the-right-yarn-so-just-threw-something-random-in’ effect.
With these points in mind I hope pairing your yarns and patterns together goes a little easier. It has the feel of giving advice when pairing a fine wine to a dish at a restaurant, there are some rules, but it’s about your personal palate. Once you know the rules, you can also experiment with when it’s okay to break them.
The right job for the right yarn is so important.