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How does yarn know what pattern is right for it or not?

I've got a theory, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Any yarn "knows" what pattern is right for it and what isn't. And when you get more and more into knitting, you'll get to "understand" what the yarn is "telling" you.

Now, I know this sounds crazy. But seeing that I'm called Krackers (instead of "madwoman") by my colleagues at work (and I'm not afraid of using it now, either), I'll just digress on this a little, if you bear with me.

At the moment, I'm quite into knitting prayer shawls. First of all, it's great to knit, seeing all you usually have to do is to hide away the ends of each new ball of yarn rather than laboriously sew the garment up. Not that I mind that too much, but if I can avoid it, why not. Secondly, there are so many lovely lace patterns out there that it gives me a chance to try them out eventually. Thirdly, it helps me stay "connected" through prayer and focuses my thoughts on what I wish for that person that the shawl is for. Finally, it gives me the opportunity to pass on the blessings that I'm receiving to my friends and people around me.

So what does that have to do with yarn "knowing" what pattern is right for it? Well, as most of us I do have somewhat of a stash - not too much, but enough yarn to see me through a few projects to come. But not much is actually laid out to make prayer shawls. So when I was looking for some yarn for my next project - a prayer shawl for myself - and that wonderful man of mine got that very concerned look in his face (my eyes must have gotten that glow that means £££££ to him - that's $$$$$ to my dear friends across the "pond"), I started going through my stash. And found some lovely red (or "cardinal" as the ball band reads) Stylecraft yarn that I had bought for a sweater.

Ugh - sweater - too hot. But hey, I can always buy some more of that later in the year when it's getting cooler again, right?

So what pattern to use? I have just finished the LaLa shawl in white for a friend of mine. And it really did come out nice (photos to come later this weekend). So that would be nice. But I so would have loved to make a Crystal Lake shawl, same as I did for my mum in law and doing for my mum. On the other hand, it looked so nice in the kid mohair yarn I used. Would it be the same?

Well, I gave the LaLa shawl a try. But it just wasn't right. Then I gave the Crystal Lake shawl a try (HATE frogging, but it DOES have to look right, right?) and - voila - it's coming out ever so nice. The yarn is real sparkly in the sun, otherwise it's a little darker. VERY red, but nice. I'll post some pictures later this weekend.

So how did the yarn know what pattern was right? I didn't know! I just gave it a try and found that the easier option wasn't the best one. Am I happy with the result now, though? YES!

So what'ya think? Pics will on my page soon.

Other than that:
What do you think? Have you had similar experiences? Let me know. I would really be interested.

Until then, happy knitting everyone!

UPDATE May 31st, 2:40PM (UK time): The pictures of the prayer shawls are now on my page. The blue one was finished around 2 weeks ago. The white shawl was finished yesterday. A picture of the red prayer shawl in the Stylecraft yarn will be on my page within the next 30 minutes.

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Comment by Mrs. K on June 19, 2009 at 2:54am
Your lack and red wool and silk yarn sounds very intriguing. Black is not usually my colour as I find it quite depressing (I know that's surprising seeing I ride a motorbike and true bikers supposedly love black). But with the red streaks in it, it will most likely look stunning and very chique. Let me know what you decide with it and what it comes out like. I'd be really interested in that. :)
Blessings and hugs,
Comment by Irene Soileau on June 18, 2009 at 3:25pm
Hello, No you are not Krackers, I think that a yarn does call for just the right pattern, I am knitting prayer shawls for prayer shawl project for our church, as you knit, you may not know the person who will receive it, but like you I pray for the well being of that person as I knit. Maybe, just maybe they will feel it when they wear the shawl. I love to make that triangle shawl with rows of lace work every now and then, we were asked not to make them too long as they might get in the way of elder women to sit on. I have some beautiful wool and silk yarn , black with some streaks of red in it, prettier then it sounds , still wondering what the perfect pattern is .Knit happily Irene
Comment by Snookums on June 16, 2009 at 11:31am
I'm deeply into making prayers shawls as well. So many different types of yarn, colors, textures and patterns to choose from it actually makes my head spin. I've made eightteen prayer shawls, baby blankets or afghans since January for charity, gifts or our prayer shawl ministry at church. Number nineteen is the basketweave prayer shawl in Encore burgundy for a cancer patient in Virginia.(U.S.A.)
Comment by Mrs. K on May 31, 2009 at 12:30pm
I so know what you mean with the sock yarn you mentioned to be "too nervous". I got lots of sock yarn for my birthday a while back from my mum in law. But whatever I knitted with it looked VERY strange. But it did just fine for the morning socks for my loving husband. Then I bought some other variegated sock yarn, nicer colours this time, but again the same dilemma. Now I'll have to look for yarn in the same colour for the next batch of socks. But that's later in the year when the nights get chilly again :)
Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on May 31, 2009 at 8:47am
I popped over to your page and I think the Maria's shawl will be great.

You are right about yarn... it does know, even when we do not. I think every knitter has had the experience of selecting a pattern and yarn thinking, "this will be beautiful, etc."... Then we start knitting, and after a short while, think, "what was I thinking," because it just isn't working. But with the RIGHT yarn, everything goes like it should.

I bought some sock yarn at the infamous LYS (with the unfriendly owners) on a whim. I bought it more for the feel of the yarn then for any other reason, and it was the only ball they had. I have tried twice to knit a pair of short socks, and once a pair of mittens, but neither have worked! And I think the problem is with the colors in this variagated yarn. It is just too busy or something, and whatever I try to knit with it just looks ugly. I'm getting the very bad feeling that I paid way to much for some yarn that will NEVER be knit into anything!

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