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:
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.
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.
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.
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.