Jun 22, 2014

Unexpected Effects

It’s a puzzlement.

Yarn that is perfectly lovely in the skein can become underwhelming or downright unattractive when it’s transformed into fabric. (This is especially true with way-too-many variegated yarns.) Conversely wallflower yarn sometimes becomes lush and delightful once it’s knitted, crocheted or woven.

Remember The Good, the Bad, the Uglies? The two-toned speckled, confetti-like yarns looked fine in the skein, but they looked mottled, splotchy and awful no matter what stitch I tried. Resigned to using these skeins for dishcloths, I could imagine scrubbing something super grimy then tossing the cloth rather than wasting time and water to wash it. (Yes, I really, really disliked that yarn.)

Then a weird thing happened. In a last ditch effort, I tried again.

The uglies morphed into something completely different when they were paired with a closely aligned solid color and worked in the fluted rib stitch.

This discovery quickly moved several ugly skeins out of the stash and into a series of
Twegen afghans.

Fast forward to my current WIP, the two-toned version of the Drumlin reversible afghan in brighter shades.

With the green strip finished, it was time to start the blue one. Color selections were obvious since only two stash skeins had sufficient yardage: One was a predictable powder blue, the other was a muted indigo. Strictly speaking they weren’t ugly, just uninspiring enough to make the prospect of working with them feel like a chore not a choice.
Once again a strange thing happened.

In combination, these pedestrian shades became fresh and interesting. The indigo gained stature and the lighter blue took on a nearly luminous quality. (The photo captures a little of this.)

This surprising synergy turned a dreaded portion of the project into pure pleasure.

That's the mystery and marvel of working with fiber. It's always fascinating, sometimes frustrating and occasionally fabulous. All because of these exciting and unexpected effects.

If you're looking for the Twegen reversible afghan pattern, you'll find it here.
If you're looking for the Drumlin reversible afghan pattern, you'll find it here.


  1. Pretty sure this stitch is a miracle worker! Love seeing all the different combos.

  2. Am eager to see this new afghan come together. Knit faster!

  3. Wow - you're right, they look fabulous. Can't wait to see the finished article.

  4. They really do look so much better knit together like that - I really like that stitch pattern

  5. The yarn you didn't like looks beautiful now. I too am wrestling with a yarn I am not at all crazy about. It has been knit/crocheted into a few different projects all of which have been frogged. This post gives me hope that I will eventually find the right project for it.

  6. The color combos are truly amazing. And I can't wait to see the complete afghan!
    Visiting from small things.

  7. So fun! I'm loving watching these yarns progress as you play with them. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Looks like you've found a fun stitch to change up those colours and make them play nice.
    Enjoy your taming afghan.

  9. I love how you paired the yarns and the effect they have knitted together.

  10. I quite like the "ugly" actually, looks like you've had fun playing with the colours and stitches ;)

  11. Isn't it wonderful when you figure out the right thing to do with a yarn?

    I have a few skeins of lovely yarns to work with but no matter what I try, it looks like camouflage... I hate the result and keep ripping it out and putting it back in my stash. Pairing with a similar solid color is a good idea. Thanks. :-)

  12. All those different colour combos are really pretty. I love that just with a different stitch and paring up with another yarn can make such a difference!

  13. Finding the right project for a yarn is so great! Love these combos.

  14. What a lovely way to use those yarns! I like how the turn of your mind worked on that. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Just found your blog via the Yarn Along. Love your post and photographs and you are right - they look amazing when matched with a solid colour like that!


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