Today's assignment: Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.
Well, I'd been yearning to make an Ishbel (Ysolda Teague) ever since I first saw the pattern, but I'd never knit a lace shawl before. I did some serious amassing of fingering-weight yarns so that I'd have the perfect one for this wrap. I wanted something variegated that would still show the lace (so nothing with too much halo).
I chose a beautiful multi-colored yarn, Schaefer Heather, a mix of superwash wool, silk, and nylon. The yarn was rust, dark silver blue, and deep wine colored. This is a gorgeous yarn, as you can see. I was totally excited about my beautiful shawl!
But, when I started knitting, something happened. The gorgeous colors just weren't flowing into the pattern the way I'd envisioned them. Knit together, it was more a cacophany; they almost clashed to my eyes. (Apologies for poor pic quality from my webcam!) I told myself to hold out; I was only into the stockinette portion of the Ishbel. So, I knit on into one full lace repeat, but I just couldn't stand to see the beautiful Heather this way; she deserved better. I knew it wasn't the fault of the pattern, as I'd seen others' beautiful FOs. It was simply a case of yarn vs. pattern incompatibility.
This was a new concept for me. I'd never contemplated that beautiful, quality yarn + paid-for, quality pattern could = disaster. But it turns out, you have to sort of let your yarns and patterns mingle until you find the ones that mesh well.
My second try was some Bavarian Sock from my favourite hand-dyer, Squibstitcher at Fresh From the Cauldron. The colors of FE, PI--coral, forest and olive greens, gold, and cream--contain as much or more contrast than the Heather yarn seemed to; however, I was surprised to find that the FFTC yarn wasn't as distracting as the Heather had been. All I know is the yarn took to the pattern immediately; I couldn't stop knitting it. Maybe old Iron Pi has a better balance of colors than Heather did. Or maybe there was a difference in the dyeing technique/pouring method that created a different look. Or maybe it was simply love at first sight between these two. All I know is, I love my FFTC Ishbel with its crazy colors.
And I can't wait to see what the Heather will be...