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When knitters go wild: how to use unconventional yarn to your advantage

by Fiona Stevenson

Universal Yarn Bamboo Bloom Handpaint is a pretty yarn with a fun-loving wild side. (Hey, wait, that sounds like me!) It has a dramatic thick and thin strand that’s reminiscent of artisan handspun yarns. Bamboo Bloom brought my impish side alive, and I immediately wanted to play with this yarn. So, are you willing to step out of your comfort zone with me, and try a little rebel knitting?

The beautiful waves of thick and thin Bamboo Bloom Handpaint in color “Sensei”

When I saw pictures of Bamboo Bloom Handpaint in the Sensei colorway my heart skipped a beat, because I knew this was a chance to go wild. The unconventional thick and thin texture of this yarn called out to my creative spirit and set my imagination ablaze.

I didn’t know how the thick slubs of yarn would work with the tighter strands. I wasn’t sure what size needle I would have to use. I had no idea how this yarn would look after blocking. But, despite the unknowns, or maybe because of them, I found myself drawn to the challenge of Bamboo Bloom’s unique texture.

Universal Yarn Bamboo Bloom Handpaint

I have one simple rule of thumb when stepping out into the wild side of knitting. If one aspect of the yarn or pattern in my project will be wild, the other aspects of it will be more conservative. What does that mean, you ask? Let’s take the project I’m sharing with you this week as an example: The Faroese Style Shawl.

The thick and thin quality of the Bamboo Bloom yarn is pretty extreme, so it’s my wild element. To counterbalance that I chose colors that were a bit more subtle and a relatively simple pattern. I did this because I want my finished piece to be remarkable, but not overwhelming. I wanted to highlight the wonder of the thick and thin Bamboo Bloom, and not have it get lost in overwhelming color, nor have it swallowed into the textures of a complicated design.

When you decide to experiment with unconventional yarn or projects, you want to be a charming rogue, not a crazed clown dancing down the main street at rush hour screaming “Jabberwocky!”

The subtle pattern of the Faroese Shawl shows off the yarn beautifully.

So this week I’ll lead you down hidden paths in the wilderness. I’ll be your knitting Sherpa to bring you safely through the dangerous passes to the heights of creativity. You’ll learn when it’s safe to abandon gauging your projects; how to choose a yarn that’s different from what the design calls for; and how to play with the pattern to make your project unique. Finally, I’ll share with my tips for going off-map from your daily life, and take your knitting on the road for a yarnie road trip.

This week’s project is the Faroese Shawl using Universal Yarn Bamboo Bloom Handpaint (Sensei & Lights Out)

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: Swatch out! When, in knitting, is it okay to skip the swatch?

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