A place to rest.

Gonna get ranty today. Proceed at your own risk.

One thing Franklin said during  his color and design class resonated mightily with me: The eye needs a place to rest.

Observe that principle’s opposite:


Lovely colors. Too bad they get so muddied by being combined willy-nilly.


The yarns are lovely, but I predict the result will be a pastel hot mess.


There are worse examples, but still.

In the hands of a master designer — in this case, Addie Modesitt — it can work.

But put that design into the hands of the masses, and it can go south.


or west.

As I searched Ravelry for more of the projects that have annoyed me over the past few months, I found it hard to find them. In the advanced pattern search, I checked knitting, fingering weight, shawls, 3 colors.


Guess what? The pictures chosen to represent shawls with these characteristics do not display the sorts of yarn combinations that offend me. Good choices, Rav!


This design, while very nicely done here by the designer…


…goes totally off the rails in lesser hands.

The first objet d’knit to annoy me in this “no rest for the eye” manner was the original sock blankie.


I cannot tolerate this kaleidoscope approach to design. Beauty — and its opposite — are (largely) in the eye of the beholder, and my eyes are exhausted by this blanket. Allow me to offer two examples of my solution to what I have personally identified as a design problem.

First and last pics are of an afghan in process in which I alternated colored squares with white and white-ish squares. Upper right is my take on the sock yarn afghan, wherein each mitered square is separated from another by three rows of black. Much easier on the eyes, to my mind. (Although in looking for these photos, I realized my colored and white checked afghan stands a risk of being boring if I do not include enough variegated squares.)

Note to self: do not be boring. Boring is not restful; it is just bad.

I think the root of what I am classing as bad design/bad yarn combinations is all the beautifully hand-painted yarns that have become available in the past ten years or so. They are so gorgeous in the skein that we must buy them; they sit in our respective stashes mesmerizing us with their colors, their possibilities, their enchanting nature. The problem comes when we try to find the perfect project for them.


I also blame ArtYarns. Yarns like these need better design skills than most of us possess.


Then they go and post something like this and it gets 47 likes in its first day on Facebook. There are one or two shawls in there that meet my approval — you can probably guess which ones, having read my ravings above — but the others, bleah.

There is a limit to how many one-skein hats and cowls we need, so we move on to scarves and shawls and wraps, which require us to combine other yarns with that single beautiful hand-painted skein.


Some of us take on that challenge and succeed beautifully.


Another success: this knitter manages the design with just enough black to enhance the sunset colors of the main yarn.


Another one meets my approval, even though I despise those colors.


The resting area doesn’t necessarily have to be large; it just has to exist in the balance.

One classic solution is to separate the bright colors with a neutral — white, pale gray, black, whatever. I find that to sit very nicely on the eye.

Okay, I have ranted enough. All of this is my own personal opinion, of course; YMMV. Now go forth and knit what you like and I shall do likewise. Each of us has our own personal esthetic; mine just doesn’t include the kaleidoscope.

Peace out.

All photos cheerfully lifted from Ravelry or FB.
This entry was posted in knitting, Rants, various, Yarn. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A place to rest.

  1. Kat with a K says:

    Bravo to the boldness of speaking out! I am with you – please people, ugly knitting is still ugly.

  2. Kym says:

    I am always . . . amazed . . . at yarn choices on Ravelry. Sing it, sister.

  3. Carole says:

    You are right!

  4. Helen says:

    In my mind a busy pattern does not need a busy yarn, or only one busy yarn and a couple of ‘tame’ ones to calm it down. That my general way of looking at knitting.

  5. k says:

    Silly silly silly hoomans. Especially that top one; I kept seeing the spot on Jupiter, in that top shawl and a bunch of the ones on the table or whatever. Go Jupiter!
    But to be honest, I save all pretty multicolored yarns for socks, and rarely mix yarns in any object. Pretty much anything in this post would be too loud for me. Of course, I also love knitting lace and HATE OH MY GOD HATE having anything that fussy anywhere near me ever. One cable, maybe.
    Let it all hang out, amen.

  6. Melissa says:

    I like my pretty fun skeins, but often I must buy solids to go with so that the pattern doesn’t overwhelm. I find a few with multiples that I can make work without pain, but it’s not easy.

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