As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been doing the fun kind of swatching … where you get to play with fibers and stitches and allow the creative juices to flow unchecked. In addition, these swatches are new yearns that are just coming on the market, so it’s really exciting stuff.

Collage of swatches

Collage of swatches

I did a total of eight swatches for the Great Wall of Yarn for the upcoming TNNA trade-show in Long Beach. The GWOY is a collection of swatches from professional designers, along with samples of the yarns that fiber-producers want to showcase, for the attendees to get a chance to see the yarn in action. It’s also a great marketing tool for designers to get their name out there and possibly interest publishers or yarn-producers in their designs.

I had done GWOY in the past, but it’s been a few years … I’m thrilled to get the chance again.

Here are the individual swatches, with a bit about the yarn and my design ideas for the yarns. NOTE: I specifically requested DK or worsted-weight and non-novelty yarns, so many of these yarns are just cool colorways or interesting fibers.

Lotus Yarns' Sunset -- a blend of

Lotus Yarns’ Sunset — a blend of 70% merino wool and 30% soybean fiber

Sunset is so soft and beautifully dyed. The stitches knit nicely with just a hint of a halo. I loved the color gradation and so opted for a mini-shawl design … with eyelet triangles and a fun construction.

Plymouth Yarns' Maria Diaz in "Helena", a 100% is a lovely colorway

Plymouth Yarns’ Maria Diaz in “Helena”, a 80% Peruvian Highland wool and 20%Alpaca in a lovely colorway

I loved knitting with this one — a hand-dyed yarn from noted fiber-artist Maria Diaz. The skein is huge — over 400 yards — in a worsted weight. The alpaca softens the wool to make soft and cozy. I opted for a mini-honeycomb stitch as I think this would make an amazing cowl or infinity scarf.

Plymouth Yarns' Colorando ... a 50/50 cotton/acrylic in a fun colorway

Plymouth Yarns’ Colorando … a 50/50 cotton/acrylic in a fun colorway

Corando, with its ability to be machine washed/dried, would be perfect for baby or kids items. I worked a swatch in classic basketweave which shows up nicely in this yarn even tho the colorway is so mixed. The only down-side to this yarn is that there is only 87 yards on the 50g ball. I wish they had opted for 100g or 200g put-ups of this great yarn.

Plymouth Yarns' Cleo, a mercerized pima cotton with 125 yards per skein

Plymouth Yarns’ Cleo, a mercerized pima cotton with 125 yards per skein

Cleo’s sheen would make this a perfect yarn for spring/summer tops or light jackets. The lacy stitch I chose really sparkles in this yarn … I was thinking an allover lace with just a bit of stockinette to give it stability. This 50g skein has 125 yards, which makes it a little bit more useful than the small Colorando.

Knit Collage's Maharani Silk in 99% silk, 1% lurex

Knit Collage’s Maharani Silk in 99% silk, 1% lurex

This is one of the bonuses of knitting for the GWOY — I never know when I’ll get a lovely, luxury yarn which I would rarely try knitting due to the high cost. This almost-pure silk yarn, in a light-worsted/heavy DK knits up nicely (I did a knit/purl checkerboard with a stockinette center … stitches of which you can see the hint) comes in a nice sized skein (100g and 185 yards) and is fun to knit. The colorway, “firework”, is a strand of bright fuschia/pink with a strand of orange … a bit of tonal quality that gives it some spunk.

Knit One, Crochet Too's Nautika, 85% microfiber and 15% acrylic

Knit One, Crochet Too’s Nautika, 85% microfiber and 15% acrylic

Altho some don’t like microfiber (since it’s man-made and not natural), I enjoy knitting with it as it drapes so beautifully, takes dyes wonderfully, and stitch definition is wonderful. K1C2 has a real winner with this one … I love the deep turquoise … absolutely perfect for a summer-top!

Knit One, Crochet Too's DungarEase, a cotton/acrylic blend

Knit One, Crochet Too’s DungarEase, a cotton/acrylic blend

. DungarEase seems particularly suited to spring/summer jackets — it holds a lace pattern well (with just a bit of blocking) and the acrylic keeps it softer and more malleable than a 100% cotton would. The 100g ball is 250 yards of pleasurable knitting with a tight-spin to the fiber to avoid splitting.

Classic Elite's Mesa, 100% cotton

Classic Elite’s Mesa, 100% cotton

. 100% cotton, especially Mesa, just screams summer tops to me. This tonal cotton knits beautifully but due to its 100% cotton content could be a tad heavy. Cables and twisted-stitch designs work well with this … as shown in the twisted-stitch heart pattern I worked. The skein is small — 50 g = 85 yards — but it is fun to work up.

Have you found any fun new yarns lately? These eight I got to play with … wow! Can’t wait to see if the LYS will get any in.

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