I’ve been slightly obsessed. I have taken it into my head that I need to knit my niece a cardigan. A pretty, fair isle cardigan. This one.
I carefully selected the colours. And then I swatched it (bear in mind the following are unblocked, raw colour samples):
Hmm. It has the same level of colour contrast as in the pattern, but no. It looks like Christmas wrapping paper. And it wouldn’t look nice on a little girl. I think I can use this for a future fair isle exercise though (in a slightly altered form).
I decided to let it rest and pondered the swatch overnight. I still disliked it in the morning, so I decided to try an alternative:
Swatches 2 and 3. Neither satisfactory. The lower colour variation is a bit ‘old’ for a child, and the pink doesn’t show up. The upper pink is too harsh. Then I tried this:
Swatch no.4. Better. In fact, I quite like it. It gives the pattern a different level of colour contrast, but I think it’s quite sweet. There’s a feel of old rose about it somehow. The only thing I wonder is whether it might be a bit ‘old’ for a little girl?
This one has actually given birth to a strong
lust itch to knit an adult-sized fair isle garment in Jamieson & Smith’s beautiful yarn. I’ve used J&S in the flower motifs in this swatch. It’s extremely satisfactory to knit with, and I love how all the colours are so complimentary. The woollen spun texture of the yarn is perfect, as you can imagine, as it catches the yarn it lies against to create a lovely smooth knitted surface. Not to mention the yarn colours blend beautifully. As this is a cardigan, and won’t be worn against the skin, the yarn will be fine even for a baby. After using the J&S though, no other yarn will do in the colourwork part! Everything else I have looks far too garish in comparison.
However, another thought occurred to me. Although her parents aren’t into pink, I felt I had to investigate a pink swatch:
Swatch no.5. Hmm. I don’t think so. The green and pink don’t really complement each other.
It’s definitely Swatch no.4 then!
Here’s a closer view:
I’m going to divert to another small track of thought here – you see how the green pattern in the pink swatch is more prominent than in the creamy yellow (look at swatches 4 and 5).
I’ve been playing with colour dominance to see how I should carry the yarn when knitting the cardigan. The creamy yellow swatch is knitted with the yellow and white yarn always carried under the pattern colour. The pink swatch is knitted with the pink and white carried over the other colours. You can see the dominance of the white yarn quite clearly in the closeup.
This was useful to find out. I’ll be carrying the pattern colour under the softer colours when I knit this garment – I like seeing the pattern better.
Back to the swatches, here they all are together:
It’s quite an interesting exercise to swatch. What looks good when the colours are all laid out next to each other doesn’t necessarily equal pretty once knitted! And what looks somewhat ‘maybe’ can actually turn out to be the best combination. I obviously have a lot to learn about colour combinations in colourwork! It’s quite different to knitting stripes.
I could carry on swatching forever. However, I’ve now knitted the equivalent to one cardigan back, so I think I’ll stop here. I did look at doing a pink pattern on yellow but got to half-way up and said “yuck!”. It looked hideous! And I can’t show you a photo because I threw the offending article straight in the bin. ;p
If I had a raft of soft J&S colours, I might have been able to manage something else, but I’ve only got what you see here. Pure wool machine-wash baby yarns are my alternative, but they really don’t look right now that I’ve been spoilt by J&S!
I hope the cardigan turns out ok!