Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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How To Choose the Best Yarn for Your Project; Understanding How Texture and Color Interact

February 9th, 2012

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When choosing the best yarn for a project, there are a few different factors that come into play.  You need to consider what you want the focus of your project to be; will it focus on stitch definition, color or texture?  For instance, if you’re working on a complicated lace stitch, you will probably work with a solid color yarn (preferably a lighter color), so your beautiful stitch work isn’t overlooked by a self striping or variegated effect of a yarn.  If you work with a bulkier or bouclé style yarn, you can whip up a fast project with a simple stitch that still looks amazing.  A heavily textured bouclé yarn hides stitches, so it’s great for an advanced beginner who wants to stick to basic patterns, but can handle navigating through the loops and bumps.  Below are some examples to demonstrate how the interaction of color and texture affect your final project.

Moon Rock Hat
Moon Rock Hat

Moon Pebble Hat
The pattern featured on the far left is the Moon Rock Hat, crocheted in Amazing; and the pattern to the right of it is the Moon Pebble Hat crocheted in Homespun.  Due to the color variegation of the Amazing yarn, the individual bobbles on this hat seem to stand out more because they’re different colors.  Since the Moon Pebble Hat is crocheted in one color of Homespun, your focus is solely on the hat itself, and the bobbles become more of a “feature”, not the main attraction.
Sunny Diagonal Blankie
Sunny Diagonal Blankie
Summery Diagonal Blanket
Summery Diagonal Blankie
When I think about how to make my simple stitch project look more than “simple”, self striping yarns are my yarn of choice.  I love how the diagonal stitch plus the self striping effect of the Nature’s Choice Organic gives this blanket a completely new look.  Since the Summery Diagonal Blankie is done in a solid color of Jamie, it isn’t as obvious that this pattern uses the same diagonal pattern; but it has more of a classic feel, and it won’t hide stitch mistakes (a side note for those who hate to frog!).
Raglan Sleeve Topper
Raglan Sleeve Topper
Raglan Sleeve Topper
Raglan Sleeve Topper
The Raglan Sleeve Topper on the far left is knit in the Natural shade of Fishermen’s Wool, a nice off-white color that truly enhances the stitch definition of this pattern.  The Raglan Sleeve Topper on the right is knit in the same pattern, but has a different look to it because it was knit in the self-striping Amazing.  In Amazing, the Topper has more of a fun, attention grabbing feel to it, while the Topper in Fishermen’s Wool provides a more classic, timeless look to the piece.
Zig Zag Pillow
Zig Zag Pillow
Herringbone Stitch Pillow
Herringbone Stitch Pillow
These pillows are a great example of how color and texture affect a stitch pattern.  The Zig Zag pillow was crocheted with Homespun, a bouclé yarn with subtle painterly effects.  The stitch pattern itself creates the zig zag effect while the bouclé style adds more texture.  The Herringbone Stitch Pillow to the right was knit in the Linen color of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick; a great yarn to showcase this particular stitch because its bulkiness adds more texture, and the light color helps make the stitches pop.
Cushy Knit Cowl
Cushy Knit Cowl
Stockinette Cowl
Stockinette Cowl
Both cowls are knit in the stockinette stitch, but have very different looks because of the yarn.  The Cushy Knit Cowl was knit in Luxe Fur, a cat. 6 super bulky yarn, while the Stockinette Cowl was knit in Martha Stewart CraftsTM/MC Extra Soft Wool Blend, a cat. 4 worsted weight yarn.  The Extra Soft Wool Blend provides more drape, and the individual stitches stand out more than the stitches on the Cushy Knit Cowl.  The cowl in Luxe Fur makes you think more about the functionality of the piece, as opposed to the aesthetics of the stitch-work; you’re more likely to wear it on a cold winter day.

What techniques do you use to enhance your projects? Textured yarns with simple stitches, light weight yarns for complicated stitches, a little bit of both? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.

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