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inspiration monday: festivus minus the frenzy

Here in the United States, turkeys everywhere are getting pretty nervous. Next week we sit down for our Thanksgiving (being a bit tardier than Our Cousins to the North on the gratitude front), and after that it’s just one big landslide down into The Holidays.

If you weren’t Little Miss/Mister Organized this year, here are some thoughts for what to put on your needles ASAP so you can give thoughtful, handmade gifts this year without losing your everluvvin’ MIND.

HATS!

Hats are a godsend to the gifting knitter: the sizing isn’t crazy-critical, it’s a fun way to use a bit of yarn to make a statement, and unlike sleeves and socks, they are a ONE-and-DONE gift. And let’s face it – no matter where you live, a hat can come in handy this time of year (even if only occasionally, for an hour – like for our friends in Florida and L.A.).

Hat patterns also span the spectrum of mindless (great for parties and gatherings of relatives) to entertainingly complex (for plane flights or distraction from those same relatives). Here are two of my ‘go-to’ patterns for myself and my knitworthy loved ones.

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

photo © Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

One of my favorite, most-used patterns is Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’ Boyfriend Watch Cap. It has a pleasing thick gauge which knits up quickly and provides reassuring warmth while being stylishly unisex. And even better, it’s your excuse to use pleasing, plump PLUSHY!

Since each skein offers a generous 330 yards, if you get two skeins, you’ll have enough to make three Boyfriend Watch Caps. Two different colorways could give you one solid cap in each color, plus a striped or colorblocked third. Go crazy!

I’ve always been mad in love with ‘Manly Yes, But I Like It Too‘ – those browns and greys are welcome in so many wardrobes.

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And maybe zing things up with a skein of ‘Scumble Bumble’…? The simple construction of the hat would let Tina’s colorways be the star of the show.

scumble_bumble_sk

If you’re looking for a hat that gives back to you as well (in the form of entertaining knitting with cool texture), look no further than L’Arbre by Cirilia Rose.

l'arbre

photo © Jared Flood

This was part of a 2015 Hatalong hosted over on Karen T’s wonderful Fringe Association blog. The pattern is from the fantastic and inspiring book Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads, but the Fringe blog kindly still hosts a link to try this pattern for free (which will only whet your appetite for the full book – you have been warned!).

I loved everything about this hat – the pattern was easy to follow, the texture interesting and motivating (and distracting!) to knit … and it’s one of my go-to hats to wear. You know how good it feels when you put a hat on and it just *fits*? This hat does it for me. (I’ve got a 21″, fairly standard-adult head; but if you were knitting this for someone with a bigger head, you could just add more depth to the hat.) The ‘Little Tree’ pattern is just 4 rounds tall, so it’s easy to add a repeat or two or three for additional depth.

Bonus: if you have a super-knitworthy person in mind, there are mitts to go with the hat!

I’m toying with the idea of knitting a second one for me, with mitts to go with. Perhaps I’ll put a skein of CAKE Worsted in my stocking – I’ll have to check with Tina to see if she thinks I’ve been naughty or nice this year.

This is one design where it’s worth sticking with Shaded Solids, to let the pattern play stand out. Oh, but the Raven Clan… they would be so beautiful here! Or the Spirits…! You may have to indulge in a few. You have folks to knit for, right? Perfect excuse.

Place your order for some Plushy or CAKE now, and you’ll get a lovely package in the mail from Blue Moon just in time to pop these on your needles, knit them up lickety-split, wrap ’em up and put them under the tree!

inspiration monday: heckle me, speckley!

This is a love song to a colorway… specifically, Heckley Speckley.

heckley_speckley_sk

(I’ll be over here if you just want to stare at it for a while. Can’t blame ya.)

I mean, really. That olive-y subtone; those blues-going-to-purples on the end there? The rust-ish speckles? Happy yellow? This colorway has Got.It.All.Goin’.On.

So of course it’s caught the eye of some talented knitters and designers out there… including most recently Miss Joji herself!

Tina’s already mentioned Tracie the pattern (and her huge affection for Tracie the person) – so can I just wax rhapsodic about the notion of Heckley Speckley as one of the colors in here?

Joji’s chosen to wash this gorgeous shawl in grey tones, playing on the more subdued elements in Heckley Speckley, but I can just as easily imagine this shawl with a rich blue as the other color, or a deep grey, or even a scummy green!

One skein each of Heckley Speckley and your choice of secondary shaded solid in Socks that Rock® Lightweight, and you’re off to the races with weeks’ worth of glorious knitting fun! (If you’re feeling particularly unselfish, you could plan to knit this as a special gift for a friend – got someone with a special birthday coming up in the early part of next year? Shawls are a great choice, since they are one-size-drapes-beautifully-on-all!)

Or let’s say you’ve got a busy set of weeks coming up, with lots of travel and family time, and you can’t dedicate a lot of concentration time to a shawl pattern. What if you just want some “in-law knitting?” The kind where you just knit around and around, no thought required. The kind that allows you to be attentive enough to your Uncle Vernon and his story about the neighbor’s old Ford Pickup truck and the mule (for the hundredth time). The kind that lets you nod and then laugh in all the right places…

Alexandra’s Airplane Scarf is just the ticket for these family-heavy coming weeks. Developed for easy knitting on long airplane flights, it’s a simple-yet-stunning tube of a scarf that lets the yarn really sing. I knitted one last year in SilkMo in Heckley Speckley and it was my stand-out accessory all through the colder winter months! This fluffy bit of loveliness went with pretty much every single coat I own – and everywhere I went, I had to whip it off because people wanted to see all the colors!

Speckley Airplane

I love how the mohair blurs the colors in Heckley Speckley – it’s a more muted version that still sings.

Best of all, right now Tina’s offering SilkMo with double the yardage! For a limited time, instead of getting the usual-size skein, Tina and the Barn Girls will dye a double-sized 1452 yd / 8 oz skein for you!  Considering that you can knit yourself an ‘Alexandra’s’ for around 800 yards, that means if you divide the skein in half, you get to cast on and knit and knit and knit and knit, round and round without a care in the world, until you have just enough yarn left to bind off. (The pattern lets you know how much that is, too. So considerate, those Churchmouse folks.) Then you’ll have one to give away (generous you) AND one to keep for yourself – all for just US$32!

Eight hundred yards of glorious, color-filled knitting pleasure await, whether you’re into stitch patterns or soothing, plain knitting. Either way, it’s a great excuse to add some Heckley Speckley into your knitting life RIGHT NOW!

inspiration monday: color consolation

The third weekend of October is come and gone — which means that some of us (snif snif) didn’t get a chance to walk the avenues at Rhinebeck, aka the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival. (Which I recently had to describe to some non-knitters as: “Woodstock, for knitters. … but with more clothes.”)

Instead of wallowing in self-pity and consuming my body weight in Halloween candy, however, I’ve decided to console myself… with COLOR. Multi-color wraps, to be precise! Two delicious, calorie-free-yet-color-rich designs crossed my consciousness this last week, and I just want to soak up all the fantastic possible combinations!

Electra

photo @ Libby Jonson

First up is Electra by the ever-talented Libby Jonson of Truly Myrtle. Let’s face it — it was already going to be great with that grey-on-green combination, amiright? But lace + slip stitches + big rectangle of cooshy goodness has gotta win the project trifecta.

Three skeins, one color each of Featherlight will have you sighing with joy, even if you were knitting with your eyes closed! (Which you won’t be, because seriously – have you seen how Featherlight takes colors?) And after all the pleasure of knitting it, you’ll love draping its light, flowing fabric around you on a crisp, pale winter’s day.

Since I can’t get the original colorway out of my mind, I’d go for Winter Solstice + Deep Unrelenting Grey + Mossay for mine.

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deep_unrelentinggrey_sk

mossay_an_sk

And as if that weren’t distracting enough, we’ve got another great textured wrap to tantalize you with — and this one lets you add in a FOURTH color! Meet Marya.

photo @ Ambah O’Brien

Oh, the possibilities! I’m seeing speckles … are you?

Best of all, the lovely Ambah has left us a little note on the pattern page: “You may like to use partial or mini skeins for colours 2, 3, and 4. You’ll need 3 mini skeins each containing 134 yd/123 m for each colour you replace in this way.” And lookie here: Tina and the crew are now dyeing Featherlight MINIs with a generous 150 yards each – so you can play, play, play!

Pick your favorite solid in a full skein of Featherlight for the MC (I’m digging her dark groove here, so I might dive in with Obsidian or Black Onyx)…

 

… and then go a little crazy with some speckles from the new batch of Fall colors Tina put up last week.

Ginger Snap, Jeepers Creepers and Antiquated System

Ginger Snap, Jeepers Creepers and Antiquated System

Anyanka, Tree Toots and On a Lark

Anyanka, Tree Toots and On a Lark

The trees are telling us loud and clear this time of year: color can console!

inspiration monday: deep fall, big and small

Thank you, knitty.com for splitting up all the delicious Fall kniting goodies into two batches! More to go around, and more time to savor the decision of what to knit?

pistachioBEAUTYIf you’re hankering after a sweater’s worth of somethin’-somethin’, you’ll likely have your head turned by Carol Feller’s scrumptious Pistachio Saffron, a drapey, A-line-and-therefore-super-wearable bit of stripey goodness.

(Side note: ALL THE GRELLOW!)

The subtle sheen of Silky Victoria would be amazing in this sweater. Pick a Shaded Solid for the MC: you’ll need 2 skeins for all but the largest size (for the largest size, you’ll have enough left over from your third skein for a great accessory!). You’ll need just one skein of the CC for the contrasting stripey bits – and here’s a fun place to play with either Multicolor Waves or Speckles! Those small stripes look amazingly complex when several colors are allowed to play through them.

Oooh! What about Deep Unrelenting Grey with Swamp Fog?

swamp_fog_sk

If your Fall knitting menu runs toward a tasty little nibble – more like an appetizer than a full meal, what about a delicious cowl? No better place to play with damn-fine, luxurious-around-your-neck fibers than a cowl. Nossir.
alicornBEAUTY

I had my head turned by Alicorn (I’m a sucker for a fun-yet-easy stitch pattern in a drapey cowl). Julie Crawford nailed it with the photography, too: see? Everyone’s so HAPPY when they’re wearing a soft, luxurious cowl! (Think of all your happy loved ones come the holidays if you get your gift-knitting game on now… right?)

I’m pretty passionate about YAKSI Fingering – the depth of color that the ‘yakky brown’ adds to all of Tina’s already-amazing colorways … it’s just to-die-for yummy (or should that be “to-dye-for”?).

One skein does the trick! So the hard part will be deciding what color. If I can get myself out of my OchroidBladderwrack – Chana Masala groove, I’ll likely fall in another one with the great bluey-greens like Big Brain Blue and Grimm Green.

And if your palate runs to a little silk with your wool, consider La Luna Laceweight. Such luster, such silky deliciousness – it would pool around the wearer’s neck like nobody’s business. Once again, one skein does the trick!

A little bird told me that it SNOWED in Colorado yesterday. Deep Fall, indeed! And winter is coming …

Better get knitting! Thanks, Knitty, for another plate full of goodies.

Inspiration Monday: new classic cowls

Happy Monday again! Hope you’re safe and dry, or cool and enjoying some fresh air wherever you are. Mother Nature’s been reminding us that she’s boss the last few weeks, hasn’t she? When she settles down a bit, we’ll be able to relax into Fall (or Spring, Down Under).

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the light is coming in at an angle, lighting up the tomato bushes and their bounty; you might notice that you need a little something around your neck for your morning walk. Good thing there is a fresh crop of patterns for us to choose from with the change of seasons! My pals at Churchmouse have just released a new set of Classics patterns, and I could hardly wait to share a few them with you.

Tapered CowlThe Tapered Cowl solves the problem of how to drape a tube around your neck artfully – here, there’s a larger number of stitches at the cast-on edge, which gradually decrease away as you head toward the neck. What you end up with is a graceful pool of soothing stockinette, framing your lovely face just so.

(Bonus: if the A/C kicks in right over your desk in the office, you can pull the larger portion down over your shoulders, eliminating the need for a cardigan slung over the back of your office chair!)

The pattern calls for sport-weight yarn knitted at 6 stitches to the inch, making for a solid-yet-drapey fabric. What a perfect opportunity to take advantage of Silky Victoria’s body and luster.

One skein is all you need for this beauty – that, and a few stitch markers to remind you to do the decreases every umpty-ump rounds. (Does anyone else find this kind of project ideal for visually-rich binge-worthy shows like Outlander and Wolf Hall? Knit knit knit for most of an episode, then pause – do the decrease round, pour another beverage, get a snack and – hit play again!)

I’m thinking a skein of “Say Nevermore” on Silky Victoria might be sneaking their way into my Blue Moon shopping cart this afternoon.

But here’s a heads-up: this pattern also works beautifully with finer yarns! The 6 stitch-to-the-inch gauge on US3 needles means you can ‘open up’ lace- or fingering-weight yarns … which was exactly what I had to do with those two skeins of Yaksi Fingering. Mmm! And just as soon as I bind that one off, I’m casting on again with two skeins of La Luna Lace in “Winter Solstice” for my mom’s Christmas present (yup, it’s that time, people!).

half & half worstedIf you’re looking for neckwear with some architectural interest, how about the Half & Half Cowl? Half of the knitting is done flat, before joining in the round to knit the second half circularly. This allows the flat half to splay open over your shoulders (great to tuck under your coat when it gets really cold later in the season!), while the circular portion cozies up around your neck and ears. It’s a lavish depth at 20″/51cm, so it’s a great way to feature a colorway you just adore. It makes the most of a full skein of Targhee Worsted, which is what I cast on in “Spruced” last weekend – what a bouncy, fun knit!

The pattern includes two cool geeky techniques: tubular cast-on and bind-off methods that have been worked over and streamlined so they’re less intimidating and more approachable (always a wonderful feature of Churchmouse patterns).

What I love about these two pieces is that they take prime knitting real estate – the area that frames your face – and give you tons of room to feature glorious yarns in beautiful colorways. I can’t think of a better way to feature some of the loveliness that rolls out of the barn at Blue Moon.

Happy casting on, everyone!

 

Inspiration Monday: Round and Round in Circles

As I sit and write this in my little corner of the Pacific Northwest, the moon is finishing its valiant trip across the sun, and things are slowly getting brighter and brighter. That’s a nice image to start the week with, eh?

Sketchbook ShawlAmidst all the hullaballo about the eclipse, I haven’t stopped thinking about the quiet brightness of Suvi Simola’s Sketchbook Shawl. This beautiful, quiet design had been on the docket for last week’s Inspiration Monday until Eclipse Madness took over.

I can’t decide if it’s the sweet regularity of the yarnover lace pattern, or the simple geometry of the thing, but I’ve been a bit obsessed to cast one of these on…

I know a lot of us are fans of Blue Moon because of Tina’s masterful use of color – and the Multicolor Wave colorways are eye candy for any day of the week – but let me make an argument for the quieter side of the palette: the Spirits. “Wraithlike tints,” the Spirits are colors taken all the way to their essence; Tina says they are like homeopathy for color.

Seen side by side on their web page, you can tell the different tints apart – but get them alone and they register as a quiet version of white or off-white. I have some Jengu in La Luna Lace that’s quietly calling me to cast it on for one of these Sketchbook Shawls.unnamed

Jengu is ‘spirited from the color blue,’ and named after a mermaid-type spirit who inhabits the waterways in Cameroon and is the bearer of good fortune and healing powers to all they encounter. Sounds like an ideal Spirit to call forth in a pretty, lightweight wrap!

Two skeins and several weeks of calm-yet-entertaining knitting later, you’ll have your own Spirit to wrap yourself up in. And no matter where you live, there’s some weather coming up that would be ideal for a lightweight shawl like this over your shoulders.

In the meantime, in honor of the light returning from behind the moon, we’ll leave you with an inspiring quote from Paulo Coelho:

“You are the light of the world. Shine, and the darkness will disappear.”

Inspiration Monday: Moth-rah!*

MothCozyIt’s hot out, isn’t it? And here we are, on the last Inspiration Monday in July … is it cruel to post pictures of cozy, cocoony sweaters?

No, it’s not – it’s a knitter’s optimistic gesture, a reminder to all of us sweltering and melting in the summer sun that the time will come to wrap ourselves in woolens again, and drink our tea hot instead of iced. Winter is coming, my friends. Hang tight.

And when that time comes, you’ll want a new sweater to wrap yourself up in, right? You’ll want to be packing up your brand-new, fresh-off-the-needles Moth Cardigan into your suitcase to take to Rhinebeck. You’ll want to be wearing it as you queue up for your cider doughnuts and choose your favorite knit-themed mug from one of the stalls. And you’ll really want to be wearing it when – oh look! Is that Amy Christoffers walking toward you?

(These are my fantasies. You’re very welcome to share them.)

So it’s time to get one of these on the needles, STAT – if only as a way to take back some control over summer (which is bringing 110-plus-degree weather to the gals at Blue Moon. Send them strength as they stand over steaming dye pots this week!). Cast on a Moth Cardigan now, because that much Fisherman’s Rib is a deliberate business, and you won’t want to rush through the pleasure of knitting it by October.

Time to choose the perfect yarn, then – look no further than Silky Victoria. Long-and-fine-wool Polwarth is blended with a hint of silk for sheen and luster to show off the rich texture of the Fisherman’s Rib. And each generous skein comes with 695 yards of knitting potential, so the first two sizes can be worked from just two skeins ($72!). That’s a lot of knitting pleasure for way under a hundred bucks. For the largest size, you’ll want a third skein, but you’ll have a bunch left over for a few great accessories (holiday gifts or donations, anyone?).

The color of Amy’s sample piece left me inspired to choose a colorway that’s got all my favorite Fall colors all wrapped into one: dusty plums, faded greens, some woody tan and quiet greys … which of course means none other than Heckley Speckley:

heckley_speckley_sk

When dyed onto a silk blend, the fabulous scummy-plummy colors on Heckley Speckley come out a bit muted (remember my SilkMo Alexandra’s Airplane Scarf?), a nice choice for this oversized, cozy cardigan.

So by all means, brew your iced tea to get through this sweltering week … but keep an eye on the prize: a new fall (Rhinebeck?) sweater!

* Moth-rah? Mothra!

Inspiration Monday: Cozy Up!

Some patterns take the Knitting Internet by storm… A good design can capture our hearts and jump on our needles faster than we can say “indie designer.”

Image © K Good Photography

Image © K Good Photography

One such pattern was released this week – Veronika by the ebullient VeryShannon. In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock (otherwise known as ‘camping’ this time of year) and haven’t clapped eyes on it, it’s a cocoon-like shrug for you to knit up now and nestle into as the weather pulls in. (“Winter is Coming!”, right Game of Thrones fans?)

And in a burst of universal synchronicity, Tina’s launched a yarn that should be just the thing you want to snuggle up in… Plushy! This 3-ply, 20.5 micron merino provides plump stitch definition and some extra durability for years of wear (good to have in a garment that’s got a few miles in it when it’s this cozy).

Plushy

Best of all, Tina’s offering Plushy at an introductory price for the next few weeks of $5 off per skein – generous, 330-yard skeins, to boot! So if you pick a color now and git ’em ordered, they’ll be at your doorstep and on your needles before the Equinox.

Shannon’s worked three sizes into the design, so even though fit isn’t super-critical, you can choose a size that will give you generous room without swamping your figure.

Size 1 gives enough ease for bust sizes 30-38″, and takes 1323 yards = 4 skeins of Plushy;
Size 2  gives enough ease for bust sizes 40-46″, and takes 1562 yards = 5 skeins of Plushy;
Size 3 gives enough ease for bust sizes 48-54″, and takes 1691 yards = 5 skeins of Plushy.

Now for the hard part – choosing a color! I’m thinking mine will have to be in one of the Raven Clan colorways, for a deep moodiness that will serve me well through our wet, dark Pacific NW winters. (Maybe I’ll step out of my usual blues-and-greens safe place and try Tlingit to spice things up…)

See you on the needles!

Inspiration Monday: Cloudy, with a chance of cowls

Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s the first official Monday in summer, and yet in the perverse schedule proscribed to us makers, what’s on our needles now is what we’ll need to wear come Fall. Smart Gal Amy Singer of knitty.com is all too aware of this, so she gives us the gift of a “First Fall” issue in June.

So many good pieces in this ish! But the one that jumped out at me first and inspired me to reach into my Blue Moon bin was Wolkig, by the endlessly-talented (and fellow German, again!) Martina Behm.

WolkigbyMartinaBehm2_2_medium

It’s a little fluffkin of a cowl, perfect for knitting at this easily-distractable time of year, when your eye might be on the kids playing in the surf or on the waiter bringing you your drink with the umbrella in it, rather than on your pattern.

WolkigbyMartinaBehm2_1_small2

Dudes – it’s a ONE-LINE PATTERN. ONE set of instructions, round and round, ’til you bind off. A genius AFP (Afternoon-Friendly or Alcohol-Friendly Project, depending on how you roll) that will roll off the needles just in time to deter the first windy days of Fall.

A piece like this needs a fluffy dream of a yarn, and good thing Tina has just the ticket: Featherlight. As Tina says in the description, it’s “a perfect balance between softness and twist, like a feather dancing on a breeze.” 100% merino, with just enough twist to hold its shape, but an airy single that will let the texture of the decreases and increases in your ONE PATTERN ROW (did I mention it was easy?) shine.

And with 430 yards per skein, you can just knit knit knit til you have just enough to bind off – or splurge and make it bigger with two skeins and extra stitches (Martina tells you what multiples to add right there in the pattern).

May your summer be filled with blue skies, with the only cloud on the horizon the Wolkig on your needles!

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inspiration Monday: Sandbank

I’ve long wanted to start a series that captures the possibilities of an inspiring design in a Blue Moon yarn. After all, a truly successful project is the marriage of a great design with the proper yarn; and helping customers choose yarns for projects was one of my favorite parts of working in a yarn store. I picked up a lot over the years from customers’ experiences and around the teaching table; seeing customers come in a few weeks or months later wearing their gorgeous FO’s was one of the best perks of the job.

So let’s grab some inspiration from patterns that are out there on Ravelry and in the knitiverse and help each other make beautiful things!

Following the advice of “start where you are,” I’ll dive in with a piece that grabbed me just this morning (I’m particularly vulnerable during my first cup of coffee): “Sandbank,” by my fellow German Lea-Viktoria. Here’s a wide, deep, mildly-crescent-shaped swath of stockinette that’s just crying out for a great colorway. It’s an ingenious center-out construction which lets you knit it entirely in the round and make the most of the yardage you have in a laceweight to light-fingering weight yarn.

image @ Lea-Viktoria

image @ Lea-Viktoria

This piece has a supple rhythm to it which is so beguiling; at first glance, it could be a big rectangle, but it’s curved at the ends. It could be a Faroese-shawl shape, because it has shaping that helps it stay on the shoulders, but it’s not overly huge. Lea-Viktoria says you can wear it like a cardigan or like a big scarf, which would make it super-versatile for wear over a sleeveless summer dress. Or bundle it up around your neck under your winter coat and then let it cover you at your desk in the office before the heating kicks in.

image @ Lea-Viktoria

image @ Lea-Viktoria

 

 

 

 

So let’s talk yarn … what should we knit our Sandbanks out of?

The yarn she used for her sample is a laceweight, with 1722 yards in a 300g skein, and the project is knitted at a gauge of 26 sts = 4″/10cm in stockinette, after blocking. These two bits of information will be vital for us looking to substitute a different yarn.

One of the first impulses customers would have in the shop was to look at the knitted gauge (26=4″) and try to find a yarn with that gauge listed on the ball band. In this instance, that would send you off in search of heavy-fingering to light-sport-weight yarns – the problem being that the resulting piece wouldn’t have any of the lightweight airiness you can see in Lea-Viktoria’s sample photos. See how sheer and flowy it is? If you chose a yarn that was thicker, you’d get heavier, denser fabric – even if you got gauge, your fabric would be different, and the piece perhaps not as wearable.

So the trick is to look at the original yarn used and find a yarn that has similar vital statistics: in this case, laceweight is a good clue… but even among the laceweights, there’s so much variety. You’ve got cobweb-weight, which has a bazillion yards per gram, all the way up to heavier laceweights that could almost be substantial enough for socks. How do you choose?

I like to key in to the number of yards per gram when substituting yarns. Here, her original yarn was 1722 yards per 300g; divide 1722 by 300 and you get a yard/gram ratio of 5.74. Let’s keep that in mind as we prowl the Blue Moon site to consider which batch of yumminess to order for our Sandbank.

The two yarns I’m considering for mine are Silky Laci and La Luna Lace, both scrumptious silk-and-wool blends in the right gauge range (laceweight). How do they stack up?

silky_laci_sk

Silky Laci is 80% extra fine merino and 20% silk, with a slightly wooly surface texture that’s great at allowing the stitches to grab each other a bit and hold gauge very well when knitted a bit open. Fans of Shetland lace shawls would adore this stuff – it has a very regular spin, and the addition of silk makes it just that little bit special for your heirloom lace pieces. Here, we’re not focused on lace, but even in stockinette the fabric would have a hand that would make it both special but sturdy enough to wear every day. Silky Laci sports a hefty 900 yards per 90g skein, so its yard/g ratio is a whopping 10. Very different from the pattern gauge – if you knitted up a Sandbank in Silky Laci, it would weigh only half as much as the original (around 150g). For those of us knitting in warmer climes, this could make it a wearable piece for at least 2 seasons a year; but you’d want to swatch to make sure you liked the fabric knitted at that gauge. (I’m about to do just that.)

la_luna_lace

La Luna Lace is 85% 19.5 micron Merino (in other words, oooooooh) and 15% mulberry silk. Super-soft and silky, with little bitty pearls of twist, this is a dreamboat of a yarn. It has 480 yards per 99g skein, so its yard/g ratio is 4.84 – fewer yards per gram than the pattern’s sample, but still within range for a laceweight, and much closer to the pattern sample’s thickness. La Luna Lace will probably be my first choice for my own Sandbank, if only to showcase the gloriousness of this yarn in a piece so strikingly simple.

Which brings us to the question of color – once you’ve chosen a yarn, how do you choose a color(way), especially from the hundreds of eye-catching candidates at Blue Moon? I’m going to put my designer’s hat on let you in on a little lesson from design school: the relationship of complex to simple. In other words, if you’ve got a design where there are lots of things going on in terms of pattern or texture, you’re best served to keep the colorway(s) simple. Or vice-versa: in a relatively uncomplicated piece like Sandbank, you have more leeway to play with complexities of color. (Swaths of stockinette, especially where the stitch counts change as things increase, are a great platform for multicolors, and won’t muddy the design the way texture + tons of color can.)

That being said, this is a BIG piece, so bear in mind the visual impact it can make walking down the street! While you can play with some of the more active multicolor wave colorways (the ones that bring in four or five hues, or incorporate most of the color wheel), you might get more wear out of the more tonal or two- to three-color multis.

Me, I’m toying with either ‘Hush’:hush_sk

 or ‘Murky Chi’: 
murky_chi_sk

Both would play beautifully in my mostly-grey wardrobe, and the wash of grey-to-color around the stockinette body of the piece would be enchanting, dont’cha think?

What colors would you choose? I’m off to ponder over my next cup of coffee.

Feeling inspired by a design, but don’t know what yarn to use? Pop your ideas in the comments and hopefully I can chat about them in upcoming Inspiration Mondays!