The Perfect Marriage...

of yarn and pattern is an elusive pursuit.  As knitters we play matchmaker to yarn and pattern.  I have done my share of bad pairings (see photos).  I remember how perfect I just KNEW they would be together.  Every knitter has made a bad match,  it very common.  Have you considered how hard this process really is?  As I write this post - there are:

is there a lace pattern in all that?

178,711 patterns in Ravelry - countless more hidden away in books,  pamphelts and magazines that have never been openly posted.


64,608 Different Yarns - and so many more that are in stash Purgatory from collected by our friends, grandmothers, and who know how many more are local purveyors who sell at local venues and events uncatalogued. daybreak shawl

With this many choices, it's no mystery so many projects go wrong.  How can you make the perfect match?

1) Get to know your yarn - how will it behave?  will it be warm? is it next to the skin soft? is it thick or thin or both, will it drape, will it pill?  is it workhorse or hot house flower? how long have you had it - has it seen its day? is it fuzzy-like or smooth operator?

2) Get to know your pattern - is it simple or complex? Does it flatter or flop? does it want your yarn choice? is it the right season to knit this?  does it need order and discipline of a smooth yarn or is it free and easy- perfect for fuzziness?

3) Is the color right for you and the project?  is it a next to your face color?Is it too busy, variegated, simple, or loud for the pattern? Will the color mask the pattern, will it get lost?  Is the pattern and yarn so simple that you will have to sleep knit to complete?
Clown collar....

3) Arrange the date - swatching!  The only way to know if they might get along is to swatch.  I know, I know - the  S word.  But swatch does not have to mean the 4" by 4" square of boredom.  Try casting on the smallest piece of the pattern - the sleeve or a front.  If they hit it off, you keep going, if it's flop you move on.  I can't tell you how many times I have been possessed by the idea of a pattern and certain yarn together only to try them out and know it's over before it began.  Sometimes its enough to just try it on the needles and know.  The fascination ends and I move on.

When you consider the is a wonder 50% of all projects don't end in divorce.


  1. Wow, the clown collar is a bit scary! I'm positive your success to divorce ratio is pretty heavily on the success side.

  2. Oh, too true! I have my own share of mis-matched duds. ;)

    If I might ask...I'm the newsletter coordinator for my local knitting guild, and I think this post would be a fantastic and helpful reminder for our members. Could I excerpt it for our November newsletter, giving full attribution to you? I would be happy to let you look over it before printing time (early November). Thank you in advance for your consideration!

    (I'm Katinka on Ravelry)