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Choosing the Right Pattern for My Yarn

posted in: Knitting | 3
As I am anxious to finish up my husband’s gansey, I find myself already planning my next knitting project. In December, I over dyed some gray Romney yarn with a mixture of cochineal and madder. The result was a lovely deep red. I have four skeins of this lovely yarn and I have been eyeing it ever since it came out of the dye pot. I tend to be a one project person when it comes to knitting. I try to only have one item cast on at a time or I lose focus and never actually finish anything. I am becoming impatient as I work my way through the gansey. I have just the sleeves and the neck to knit so I would say, that is close enough, and I can cast on something new, wouldn’t you?

Naturally Dyed Yarn from VT Grand View Farm
Romney Yarn Naturally Dyed with Cochineal and Madder

There are several things I think about when deciding upon the right pattern for a particular yarn.

1. Who’s turn is it to knit for?  With a family of five, I must share my knitting, though I have knit more than my fair share for myself.

2. Which sheep produced the wool in the yarn? I used to think that all sheep were alike and that all yarn was the same. After visiting numerous sheep farms, before we ever brought our first flock home, I quickly realized that this was not the case. Each breed of sheep produces distinctly different wool. To learn more about the different breeds of sheep and their wool, Sue Blacker’s book, Pure Wool, provides an excellent description of how to select yarn according to breed.

My Romney yarn has lots of luster and a soft handle. When knit, it has a lovely drape. I have found that knitting shawls, sweaters, and vests, best showcase these qualities.

3. What is the gauge? I find it helpful to knit a swatch, especially if the yarn is one I have not worked with before. This not only tells me what size needle I need to use, but also shows me how the yarn will feel when knit. I know some people do not knit their swatch until after they choose a pattern, but I feel it gives me important information in knowing which patterns it is best suited for.

After answering those three questions, I am ready to begin looking at patterns. For this yarn, I am torn between two options-Deby Lake’s Raglan sweater or combining it with some of my dark gray yarn to knit a vest with color work in the yolk inspired by the Icelandic sweaters.

VT Grand View Farm Natural Gray Yarn
Natural Gray Romney Yarn

All of you at Ginny’s Yarn Along, I would love to know what you think should be my next knitting project!


3 Responses

  1. Lilly's Mom

    Your red yarn is absolutely a beautiful color. I’m sure it will knit up so lovely, too.

  2. RMK

    Wonderful — that’s why I love natural dyes!

  3. Emily

    Is it my turn?? 🙂