Because I took the time the week before last to restart this year long project and catch up on the weeks that have already been published, I had the opportunity to put some thoughts into matching yarns to designs. I now have a flow chart to help decide which yarn is best each week!
Because I saw 8 block designs in one go and had made three of them with yarn that did not work for the blanket as a whole (too thick, the knitting got stiff; too thin, the knitting got flimsy; too variageted, the pattern got lost) I noticed that block designs fall into various categories. There are stranded blocks; reliëf blocks; lace blocks and other type blocks (they get their interest from something else besides stranding, reliëf or lace).
(Do you know the word ‘reliëf’ the way I use it? it means ‘textured-with-riggs’. Like a hilly landscape is or the patterns made by surf or wind in the sand on the beach. It has nothing to do with ‘relief’.)
Each category of blocks is served best by a certain type of yarn:
- stranded blocks deserve two yarns that have the same thickness and enough contrast between them. One can even be variegated. They need to be thinner yarns than sport because stranded blocks are double thick. (that will be sock yarn then)
- reliëf blocks look their best in mono-coloured yarns with good stitchdefinition (i.e. not single yarns or woolen spun). It can be a semi-solid but than the reliëf has to be bold. (reliëf blocks can have cables or purl-knit combinations)
- lace blocks are nice in shiny yarns?
With lace blocks and the type blocks that get their interest from some other aspect, you really need to understand the pattern first to chose an appropriate yarn. Than it is really good to look at other peoples projects. Thank you Ravelry!
I had one other concern: the green in my original yarn choice was not thick enough to match the red, yellow and orange. So now the greens in my blanket have to come from the stranded blocks, the lace blocks and the blocks that give interest in another way.
here are the choices that will hopefully guide me the rest of the year:
Reliëf blocks: use the red round sportsweight yarn
I have lots of this yarn. Three balls of 50 grams. These blocks typically take 7 grams so I’m all set.
Blocks with strong reliëf: use the semi solid yellow sportsweight:
I have one skein of 100 grams of this yarn. These two blocks took lots of yarn, one with all the cabling, the other with 3 row deep slipped stitches. Together they took 30 grams already! Will keep an eye on that. It is bright yellow though, only a few blocks of it will take the blanket a long way.
Lace block: use shiny yarn, preferably with some green in it.
this is my handspun silk. It’s a plied yarn so very sturdy. It is selfstriping which is ok in this design. I have some other yarns that can be used for blocks like these, there’s a handpsun orange with glitter (called Happy Squirrel). And I still have more of this silk left too.
Stranded block: use sock yarn thickness, preferably with some green in it:
the dark green is very gnomey 🙂 it sets off the red yarn very nicely. I go for good contrasts here.
Other block: look for the characteristics to enhance & try to use some green yarn:
this is Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn. A bit too thin to make this block wide enough. But it does have a pocket so it has two layers of knitting in the middle which makes it thick enought to knit with sock yarn. Noro has long colour changes and also an interesting texture which livens a design like this. I have some handspun that would provide interesting texture too.
Textures yarns can only be used in designs like this. In one of the other categories it would muddle or muffle the design.
all blocks are knitted on 2,5mm needles. This yields blocks that are 12 by 12 cm wide to blocks that are 15 by 15 cm wide. I will remedy this in the fall/winter, when all blocks are brought together. For this I will use round plied orange yarn that would be very good for reliëf blocks too. But I try to save it.
In other news: Stientje Sweater is almost finished. This afternoon I’ll attend a knitters meeting at Neue Masche, a friendly wool shop in the midst of Bocholt, Germany. There will be cake. I will try to resist it.