Thursday, December 10, 2009

Visual Texture

I'm not gonna play; I'm one of those guys that knitters complain about: I unabashedly enjoy stockinette sweaters in grey, blue, or black...maybe with a stripe across the chest? [full disclosure: I mostly choose greys or black, which means that most of my 'sweater quantities' of yarn are varying shades of grey, with an occasional bundle of black yarn]

However, I don't believe that stockinette fabric needs to be boring to look at, so I bring you examples of yarn with what I call Visual Texture. These are just a few examples of swatches I've been playing with that use yarns which create interest without a complex stitch pattern.

Yarn: Fibra Natura 'Mermaid' in colorway 'Turkish Tile'

The interest in this yarn is the result, in part, of its composition. The blend of pima cotton, superwash Merino wool, seacell, and silk creates subtle variances in tone, as the different fibers absorb dye to varying degrees. On top of that, the silk and seacell give it a really yummy sheen. Seacell is made from cellulose (read: wood pulp) and seaweed, and the buzz is that the seaweed content transfers nutrients when worn against the skin (osmosis FTW!!!). Between that and the lovely feel of the yarn and fabric, I'm bent on uncovering the manly accessory that I'm sure is hidden in a ball or two of this fab yarn.

Yarn: Universal Yarn Classic Worsted Holiday in colorway 'Silver Bells'

Ok, I give! I'm easily distracted by shiny objects! I don't know that there's anything guy-friendly waiting to happen with this yarn, but I do enjoy the challenge of looking for it. This machine-washable (79% Acrylic, 19 % Wool, 2% Glitter) yarn has a metallic element with a shine that's hard to resist. That, alone, is really enough to give some 'oomph' to a piece of "plain knitting". I'm showing the Reverse Stockinette side of this ribbed-border swatch to demonstrate how simply displaying the side of the fabric that we don't normally see can create some intrigue. What is that pebbley fabric, anyway? Right?

Yarn: KnitPicks City Tweed Heavy Weight in colorway 'Orca'

Here is another yarn whose mixed fiber content (Merino wool, superfine alpaca, & Donegal tweed) contributes to multi-tone appeal. Tweedy yarns, in general, are great for visual interest, as the tweedy bits--usually multicolored, and typically brightly-hued--break up what might be an otherwise-solid (or -semisolid) fabric. In this case, though, I really appreciate that the 'tweeds' are neutral tones. Davitron and I are of two minds on this one, but I truly enjoy the visual appeal of tweed without the distraction of bright colors amidst grey or black yarn.

Yarn: Fibra Natura 'Oak' in colorway 'Pewter'

This swatch (that looks like it's on its way to becoming a scarf, no?) illustrates that very complicated stitch patterns are not necessary to create very interesting fabric. You can see in the ball (background...a little bit) that the yarn itself (a blend of linen, silk and superwash Merino wool) has a respectable amount of color variation going on in it. Here you can see seed stitch (center), sandwiched between ol' reliable garter stitch (above & below the seed stitch sections), and at the top and bottom there's a very simple stitch pattern that I've been thinking of a lot lately. It's a variation on the Mistake Rib stitch that might actually have a name, though I'm unaware of it. The stitch pattern repeats over a multiple of 3 stitches, and you just knit 2, purl 1 on both sides of back-and-forth knitting. I added a slipped-stitch edge to my swatch, though, cuz I'm fancy like that! :o)

Yarn: Dream In Color Classy in colorway 'Cocoa Kiss'

Just when it's starting to seem like the only way to get visual interest is to blend some fibers, here's an example that is pure, delicious superwash Merino wool. Dream In Color's Veil Dying process and color palette create some pretty freakin' amazing yarns! Cocoa Kiss is an example of one of their yarns that combines different hues artfully to create a pleasing color combination, but you can bet your biddy that I have a sweater quantity of yarn stashed in their newer 'Grey Tabby Cat' colorway! Whether you're talking about one of their semisolids or multi-hued colorways, though, the gorgeously subtle variations in color create a lovely 'textured' fabric out of plain ol' stockinette fabric.


KateK8 said...

I'm seriously amused by any yarn that lists glitter as part of it's fiber content. Of course, I also am tempted to buy gold lame stretch pants at Target. I like anything shiny.

designerman said...

these yarns (and stitches) are beautiful. the oak one reminds me of those amazing aran sweaters...

kanishk said...
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