Love in a Variegated Skein

Earlier in the week I chatted to you about my new favourite yarn club “The Golden Skein”.  Even though it was variegated and really not my usual colour palette, I was bowled over by the skein by ‘For The Love of Yarn’. I wanted to cast on with it, immediately. This left me with the gaping question – what on earth do I do with this skein?

I am sure we have all been there, holding that gorgeous skein of hand dyed in the LYS or looking through our stash and seeing all the magical colours dancing in front of us. I love these skeins, but I always worry about all those colours together on one skein. The fear of pooling or a delicate stitch pattern masked by the ever changing variegation often puts me off knitting with variegated yarn. I decided to confront these issues and find a pattern for this wonderful skein.

For the Love of Yarn.  Used with kind permission of The Golden Skein (all rights reserved)

For the Love of Yarn.
Used with kind permission of The Golden Skein (all rights reserved)

Ravelry has a vast collection of patterns and designers, I could spend all day wondering around adding things to my queue and clicking on that little red heart … oh wait, hold on, I frequently do this….

Over the course of this week I have surfed my way around Ravelry, picking projects for this skein of yarn. I thought I would share some of my ideas with you. After all, you may have a lonely skein of variegated sock yarn in your stash that needs liberating and I enjoy doing some public service enabling where I can.

The first designer I thought of when confronted with this fabulous skein was Martina Behm a very popular designer who is most well known for her Hitchhiker. This design is knitted on the bias in garter stitch to form an assymetrical triangle. The design is perfect for this kind of yarn and the knitting is soothing, easy but certainly not boring.

A long time ago I knitted one of her designs, the shawl Lintilla. It was a really great pattern and the perfect solution to another skein of variegated yarn in colours I would normally steer myself away from. I was very impressed with the result, hence instantly thinking of her patterns for this skein.


My Lintilla knitted in Nurturing Fibres Supertwist Sock

I really do love her patterns, the simplicty of them add to the sheer magical qualities of the knitwear. Easily won over by garter stitch I am drawn to so many of her designs. I considered all of these when looking for the perfect project for my skein.

All pictures used with permission. Copyright: Martina Behm

Top: Trillian 

Bottom row from left to rightMiss Winkle, Leftie and Brickless

Trillian is the perfect beginner lace project, an easy shape, lots of garter stitch and a hint of lace on the border. I need to make this, I really need to make this. I love the little details in her designs, Miss Winkle is the perfect example of this, those little loops just jump out at me everytime I see them. Leftie is the perfect yarn combining project, imagine that variegated skein with a anchoring solid colour, allowing the busy yarn to shine through. Finally Brickless, the perfect match of shape and pattern. I know many people are not garter stitch fans (I can’t say I am in that camp, I love garter stitch) and I think this is the perfect Behm pattern for them. Interesting stitch patterns flow from one section to the next. The pattern is written for worsted but I am sure it would make an equally lovely sock yarn project too.

The patterns are available in multiple languages and at the moment Martina has a special on 10% off when you buy three patterns. I think these designs are well worth a look for those variegated skeins in your stash.

I carried on with my search and came across another designer who has some brilliant designs that, I think, are perfectly suited to showcasing variegated yarn.

Susan Ashcroft (Stichnerd on Ravelry) designs beautiful knitwear, simply designed stuff that packs a punch. Many of her designs are perfect for working with, and not against, variegated or self striping yarns.

These are some of my favourites.

All pictures used with permission. Copyright Susan Ashcroft

Clockwise from top left: Long and Winding Row, G’day Boomerang, Colourwheel Cowl, Samothrace Wings, Quaker Yarn Stretcher and That Nice Stitch.

I bought and cast on the Long and Winding Row but it did not work with this skein of yarn, I want to knit it in something thicker. I have the perfect skein of Malabrigo that I will be using for this pattern. It is a genius design and perfect for those times when you want to just keep knitting, without having to count or keep track of rows.

The stitch detail and shape of G’day Boomerang makes it perfect for a variegated skein and the short rows of the Colourwheel Cowl and Samothrace Wings are just what you need to break up the colour repeats and showcase your special skein. Jo from The Golden Skein is knitting a Quaker Yarn Stretcher with her skein of FTLOY and it looks fab. That Nice Stitch is a lovely little pattern for a pretty infinity scarf or looped cowl. This pattern has the added bonus of being free, and while I believe strongly that designers should be paid for their work I like the odd freebie as much as the next person.

One of the things that really attracts me to these designs is the amount of knitters who have made more than one of a design. I always thinks this speaks volumes for the design and the pattern. If a knitter keeps going back to knit the same design again and again, the pattern is bound to be brilliant. Here are some examples of gorgeous projects by fellow Ravelers.

The Long and Winding RowThe first picture shows just how this wonderful design works so well with variegated yarn. This project is by Scullybunbun who has knitted three Long and Winding Rows. The second image is of a project by Xstitch who combined two skeins of yarn to great effect. I am definitely using this as inspiration for my Malabrigo cowl that is waiting in the wings.

Pictures used with permission. Copyright: Scullybunbun (left) and Xstitch (right)

This is a gorgeous example of how a variegated yarn can be paired with a neutral yarn to create the perfect project. This was knitted by Covelady.

Pictures used with permission. Copyright: Covelady

Samothrace Wings uses clever short rows to shape the shawl and I think it would be perfect in a variegated or tonal yarn.

I love this example by MelsNattyKnits, who has also knitted numerous versions of this pattern.

Copyright: Melsnattyknits

Copyright: Melsnattyknits

This beautiful example by Covelady shows how the shawl works with a more tonal, but still variegated yarn. I love this project.

Copyright: Covelady

Copyright: Covelady

If you are searching for a free pattern to use that perfect skein of variegated I think the Honey Cowl is a great option. With almost 15,000 projects I don’t seem to be the only one who thinks this is a great little pattern. Here are some of my favourite projects by other Ravelers.

The colours in this version by GracieBelle are beautiful. I really do love this Madtosh colourway.

All pictures used with permission. Copyright: Graciebelle

Pictures used with permission. Copyright: Graciebelle

I also love the way the colours work together on this version by Mdcim. 

Pictures used with permission. Copyright: Mdcim

Finally, two versions of the Honey Cowl by Tweets1973.

Pictures used with permission. Copyright: Tweets1973

After all that searching the project I have chosen to cast on is a lovely design by Louise Zass-Bangham called Knit Night. I was instantly drawn to this design and love the fact that it does ot require counting or generally too much thinking. I have limited spare brain capacity at the moment and need a project just like this. I am going to ‘think outside the box’ and make this my Knit Night project. I desperately need a project for Monday nights and this, I hope, is the one! The pattern comes as part of an e-book, which is great value (it may have slipped into my Rav basket earlier this week).

The first pattern is Knit Night. 

All pictures used with permission. Copyright: Louise Zass-Bangham

Its partner patter is Stay Awhile.

All pictures used with permission. Copyright: Louise Zass-Bangham

Both of these patterns are flexible, with lots of options and will work with any yarn weight. There are also variations using beads or adding eyelets to jazz up your shawl. This is the perfect shawl if you want to try out something new like beads or simple lace, equally it is a great project for more advanced knitters. It works equally well in variegated or solid yarns, what is not to love?

Here are some examples of the fab projects knitted with this pattern. The example on the left is by Knittinghun, and uses a very bright but fun skein of Wollmeise. The example on the right is by CathyG and I really love how the pattern breaks up the bright colours of this skein, it is such a wonderful shawl.

Pictures used with permission. Copyright: Knittinghun (left) and CathyG (right)

I will update you on the progress of my project later this week, I intend to cast it on tomorrow night at knitting.

Do you have a favourite variegated skein that you just can’t find the right pattern for? Has this post given you some ideas?

I would love to hear about your knitting adventures with variegated skeins.

17 thoughts on “Love in a Variegated Skein

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for choosing my project…I plan more Long and Winding Rows as it is a joy to knit and great for knitting in places where you don’t need to concentrate! Funnily enough, the other projects you linked to are either in my library, my queue or on my wish list. I’ll be knitting a Stay Awhile shortly :) look forward to seeing pics of your Knit Night 💜

    • Thank you for letting me feature your project. I can’t wait to cast on a Long and Winding Row, I need to cake the yarn and get going. It will make a lovely warm cowl, which is very much needed in Edinburgh at the moment. It is a touch colder than I am used to (being a Southern Hemisphere creature at heart)

  2. It’s amazing how the right pattern can make all the difference with variegated yarns. I had two balls of a variegated soy blend that I picked up in Australia 3 years ago and had no idea what to do with them until I came across the right pattern – the result ––Kersti–/otulenie-neckwarmer – I thought was amazing and has gone off for a Christmas gift but as soon as I find the right yarn I will definitely be making another!

  3. I love this post and thanks so much for featuring my scarf and linking it to my blog. You’ve also given me lots of other ideas too. Just what I need….more projects to add to my very long list!

  4. Another brilliant blog post, Clare. You are a serious enabler – I am now going to have to go and queue a load more projects! I have nearly finished the Quaker Yarn Stretcher – such simple yet effective pattern.

    • Thanks Jo. You and I are a dangerous combination. The yarn pusher and the pattern enabler – what a great team ;-)

      Looking forward to seeing pictures of the finished shawl. Mine is cast on and ready for Knit Night. It is taking a lot of will power to study this afternoon and not knit. (For the record I am on a quick teat break, honest gov, I am not on the internet while I should be studying)

  5. Pingback: Glitz at the Ritz Shawl | MelsNattyKnits

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