Conversations with yarn

My design process is slightly non-standard. I rarely start with a fully formed vision, sketch the design, and set about finding yarn that will work. I tend to start with the yarn. I have a conversation with the yarn. I try to find out what it likes and dislikes. Where its strengths lie and where it might prefer not to go.


I start with the stitches. My mind asks me “what if” I did something weird and then I swatch to see what will happen. Sometimes I begin with one stitch and end up swatching a length of fabric where subtle changes in the pattern evolves into something completely different (and coincidentally a gigantic swatch). Often this process begins with yarn that I have laying around. So then I have the fun of trying out the newly born stitch with other yarns to see what kind of yarn the stitch likes.

One commonality you might note in this is that the yarn and the stitches seem to be the boss of me. And they kinda are. Sometimes I manage to bully yarn into doing what *I* want, but most of the time it is me learning from them.

Yarn from The Ross Farm

The Ross Farm wool

All of this is lead in to some beautiful yarn that I have been having an ongoing Serious Conversation with. It is a unique and amazing yarn that has been taking me to school.  The Ross Farm raises rare heritage breed sheep with care and love and use their wool to create beautiful yarn. Leicester Longwool to be specific. It is such a different beast from the wools that I typically work with that it has been a very steep learning curve.

It is minimally processed, lightly spun, and undyed. Each label has a picture of the sheep from whence the wool came and the color of the yarn is the color of the sheep. And I wanted to do color-work. Yadda, yadda, yadda

A color-work lace swatch

A swatch is a Proto Pattern

I think I might have finally found a stitch for this yarn. This is a combination of my two design techniques. The above pattern was the result of an experimental stitch swatch combined with extensive swatching with the yarn to find what it loved. What do y’all think? Is this worth pursuing? If yes – what type of FO would you see for this? I have one skein each of the two colors with ~ 250 yards of Sport weight.

Maybe a small shawlish thing? Cowl? Scarf? If you can visualize this as something I would love to hear about it in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Conversations with yarn

  1. Hi Barbara, what a great stitch pattern! I love to see combinations of slipped stitches and lace! Thank you for showing!
    I think the best project will depend on whether the yarn is soft enough for next-to-skin wear.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I can’t help adding slipped sts to just about everything!

      Personally, I would say it is not next to skin. But I am super sensitive.

  2. Pingback: Fun Links – Christine Guest Designs Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s