My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Variegation is the Spice of Life

But not always.

Francie asked:
How do you pick a pattern that will work with this kind of yarn? I gravitate towards very intricate patterns of the Hazel Carter variety, such as Legends of the Shetland Seas. (Just finishing Spider Queen – yes it’s true!) I think I should be tuning it down a notch for a patterned yarn, yes?

What do you look for? A certain kind repeat? Large or small motifs? More or less background? A strong vertical or diagonal line? Garter stitch? Any type of pattern to avoid?

My own rule of thumb is the more complex the pattern, the less variegation in the yarn.

(Subject to change, of course, at my whim.)

If you are knitting a shawl that consists of one motif, done over and over, I think you could use a variegated yarn with good results.

But the Hazel Carter shawls you mention — definitely best done in a solid color.

Speaking of Variegated Yarns


The yarn I am using for my current shawl-in-progress is variegated. But in an extremely pleasant low-key kind of way. The different colors are very similar, so you get lovely shading without startling color changes. I love this yarn! Kathy, please dye some more! And if you could make some that was oh-so-gently shaded from ice-blue to silver, well, I’d be in heaven!



  1. I am so in awe of your lace work! The Woodland Shawl is stunning, and the shawl-in-progress is destined to be another beautiful item. The icy blue to silver yarn you are dreaming of might be perfect for the Winter Shawl of the Four Seasons Collection. Lucy is a love; thanks for putting a shot of her “hard at work” in each blog. (What does the pillow behind her say?)

  2. The new Kidsilk Spray from Rowan is a good example of yarn that is subtly variegated.

  3. That current shawl in progress is gorgeous! How do you do that!?! WOW…Nice picture of Lucy…she is looking very fluffy these days…

  4. Alice in Richmond says:

    OK, so with the price of gas at over $2.60 a gallon here, my car gets about 25 miles per gallon and Kathy’s shop less 25 miles from my house round trip I can easily justify a run for that hand dyed alpaca.
    Of course when I get there, there is always her hand dyed wool roving, mohair locks, mohair roving, raised-in-Powhatan romney roving……..

  5. When you got Lucy from the adoption place, did she come with the name or did you give her one of your choosing? And do you ever feel compelled to tell her she has some splainin’ to do in a Ricky Riccardo accent?

    Your lavender flowered shawl is looking lovely. Are miles of edging planned?

    Are you sick of my questions yet?

  6. What is that “cat hair” book hiding behind Ms. Lucy? Hmm… perhaps a pillow? Inquiring minds and all…

    I’m loving watching your variegated yarns emerge into lacy goodness. Very inspiring!

  7. Hi Wendy-I am very excited to see your flowers shawl “bloom” a little each day. I feel quite honored that my little dying projects are being used to create such beautiful things. Yesterday-as I was keeping tabs of the storm stuff on TV (my sister and her family are in Baton Rouge and my niece is going to Tulane-plus I grew up in New Orleans,) I was dying more Alpaca lace to help keep me grounded. I came up with “Autumn Haze” -golden olives and orange-reds to celebrate the end of summer, and “Aqua-Strawberry” which is iceyblue-teal and faded strawberry-the color of a drink I used to get at “Pat Obrien’s” in the quarter. All are almost dry and will be skeined tomorrow. I always wonder what talented hand will create out of my yarns-nice to see a project in progress online!

  8. I love your Woodland Shawl! Just the right number of different patterns to add interest (both for knitting and for looking) without being busy.

    On a non-lace topic…oh is that allowed in the Summer of Lace? There’s a new nephew in the family and I’m thinking of trying your Baby Norgi, both cuz it’s cute and I can learn some new techniques. Is there a good 2 color knitting tutorial out there? I have not done any intarsia or fair isle. Thanks!