One of my favorite pastimes, aside from actual knitting, is pouring over my queue and my stash to pair up patterns to yarn. This also involves swatching. While most people I know loathe to swatch, I really enjoy it!
Swatching allows me to test drive the yarn to see if it will perform appropriately for whatever task I have in mind. With hand-dyed yarns, it is also fun to see how the colors interplay when they are knitted. This is true for semi-solid, as well as highly variegated colorways.
More importantly, swatching usually satisfies that urge to start yet another something without adding an actual WIP to my ever-growing stack of unfinished knits.
Often, it is not until I have swatched, that I can be absolutely certain a yarn will work with a specific pattern.
A few months ago, I flipped over a Fair Isle design called Olafsdottir by Sunday Knits.
My original thought was to pair two colors of Classic Elite Waterlily (Bramble and Celestial):
They are gorgeous colors, no doubt; however, at an aran weight, I had difficulty getting a fabric I liked at the gauge called for in the pattern. Ordinarily, I do not let this deter me because with a little math I can adjust the size I am knitting or modify the pattern. In this instance, the pattern was complicated enough, and I just was not quite sure.
Today, I was swatching several different yarns, Madelinetosh Vintage in Lowland and Nightbloom, Madelinetosh dk Twist in Dr. Zhivago Sky, and Malabrigo Merino in Pearl Ten. I have no less than three patterns identified for each yarn, depending on the gauge, knitted color and fabric each created.
All of the yarns are lovely and delightful, but I was having great difficulty marrying them to just the right patterns.
Lowland, for example, is highly variegated using complimentary greens and blues with just a hint of yellow:
I had been thinking of Driven by Veera Välimäki with its reverse stockinette to help mute the variegation:
The pattern is gorgeous, but I was not convinced I had the right yarn. So, I kept looking and finally found a newish pattern by Glenna C: Edgewater:
Without hesitation, I immediately bought the pattern and added it to the top of my queue. Basking in the glow of my good fortune, I finally got around to see what yarns other people have been using to make this.
Good news: Someone else has already cast on in Madtosh Vintage!
Bad news: Someone else has already cast on in Lowland.
More good news: It looks FANTASTIC in this colorway. I consoled myself that she may have thought of it first (good for her!), but I came to the same conclusion without any input from anyone (good for me!).
Even more good news: My gauge is BANG-ON!
Now, back to the queue. I really wanted to make a reddish or purplish cardigan. With that in mind, I acquired a ton of the Madtosh Vintage in Nightbloom:
In my heart, I wanted a lightly cabled cardigan, something along the lines of Wrought Iron:
In the back of my mind, I knew the Nightbloom's color changes; however, subtle, would interfere with the design of the cables. So, I kept looking and looking, but nothing seemed just right.
It was not until I swatched the Nightbloom, did an idea begin to flicker. Six rows into the swatch, I just knew what this wanted to be, but it would all depend on three skeins of some three year old yarn languishing in my stash. Taking a chance, I rooted it out and added it to my test swatch:
Nightbloom, meet Celadon, you were meant to be together!
I am so in love, I can hardly stand it!
Together, these will become Olafsdottir from above! Of course, unlike the Waterlily, the gauge is PERFECT!
The colors are PERFECT!!
The color combination is so ME!
Now, I know I am not the first person to pair purple and green, but these two shades are so different and completely complimentary.
Did I mention the gauge thing? Seriously.
Further, this means the dark reddish Waterlily in Bramble is now free and clear to become that Wrought Iron cardigan!!
That is three!
Three perfect matches between yarn and designs!!
I am so done now. I can go back to an existing project with a song in my heart and a plan of execution!
Life is good.