Crazy Quilt Combination of Colors
Using small amounts of yarn in knitting projects
by Jackie E-S
Sometimes we collect small amounts of yarns that are not by themselves enough to use for a project. These may be the result of left over yarn from another project. Or sometimes that lone ball of designer yarn in the close-out bin calls to us, but how and what to use it for? Or maybe even some yarn we handspun for a sample.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for making projects using a sort of crazy quilt combination of colors?
A: Using "patchwork" techniques ala Horst Schultz and other recently published designs that are modular, has become very popular. Anything based on stripes, as well as of course using multiple colors in Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques are classic approaches. Many of the designs by Kaffee Fassett are a modern takeoff on Fair Isle designs using not only color, but fiber and textural variety. If you are concerned about wearing horizontal stripes, choose instead those projects that put the stripes on the bias, or vertically.
Q: What kind of problems do you see in such a project particularly since I have various fibers?
A: I am rather daring when it comes to working projects in multiple types of fibers. Basically, your care is restricted to your most restrictive fiber. Some knowledge of elasticity and density helps, but overall if different fibers (and even weights) are distributed fairly evenly throughout a garment, it can be successful. Remember that finer yarns can be held together and used as one. Also, see Must I Wash Yarn before Using?
Q: Should I have one unifying color that gets repeated?
A: Generally yes, or at least some kind of balanced scheme. If it's hard to plan this out ahead of time, then work separate modular sections, when finished lay out to come up with a pleasing arrangement, then sew together.
Another approach is to take your best shot at a knit-as-you-go garment, then duplicate stitch or otherwise embellish (sort of like crazy quilting) to balance out colors and textures in any problematic areas.
So, what do YOU think? What is the largest number of different yarns you have used in any one single project? Mine is 67 – one of these days I want to get it photoed and maybe share a little about it if you are interested. I'd like to hear about yours, too. If you'd like to share what you've done and maybe have it mentioned in an upcoming article, let me know!
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