Friday, August 30, 2013

Abbot Shawl - Swatching and Choosing Colors

I highly recommend swatching for the Abbot Shawl.  While swatching is typically done to check stitch gauge, in this case, that's not the primary purpose.  For Abbot, swatching does two things: 1) checks the relative gauge between the lace and linen stitch portions and 2) allows you to see how you like your combination of colors.

Here's one of the swatches I made.  You can see that the linen stitch pulls in much more than the airy lace stitch.  For this sample, I used a US size 5 (3.75mm) needle for the lace portion, but a US size 7 (4.5mm) for the linen stitch to achieve a fabric where the body and lace edging "fit" together.

I designed Abbot for variegated, short color run yarns.  I love them, but find them very hard to use.  I found that I preferred combinations that either highly contrasted or were very similar.  To check, I took pictures of the potential combinations in black and white.  If the two yarns were black/black, white/black, or white/white -- they were candidates.  Similarly, if they were both gray, they were candidates.  But white/gray or black/gray were not.  In those combinations, the white or black simply overwhelmed the gray and that's all I saw.

Here's what the above swatch looks like in black and white. Pretty much all gray except for those streaks of yellow.

My next sample is even more subdued -- see the color and black and white versions.  You can see that the pink will stand out when it's knit up -- but it's mostly gray.

Remember - color is very subjective.  There are no color combination police -- the important thing is to find a combination you like.

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