Most often my catalyst is a pattern – “look at that! I want to make that!” – followed by an expedition through the stash, a trip to the yarn store, and a Google search to rival all Google searches.

But sometimes the yarn provides the necessary spark to get things going. Though my personal stash isn’t large, I am in no way, shape, or form against stashing – if the yarn speaks to me, it comes home with me! And then the yarn may linger for months, years, but if the admiration hasn’t faded, the right project will make itself known.

(and if it has faded, there’s always DeStash)

Berroco Touché, Shiraz and Persimmon

Such was the case with Berroco Touché: I noted this yarn the very first time I touched it. And I kept noting it every time I’d see it again. And when elann had it on sale not too long ago, I held out like a trooper, fighting temptation for days, reasoning I had no pattern in mind…

And then I came to my senses.

And got 24 skeins.

And I felt no guilt about it then, nor do I feel any guilt about it now. For those of you familiar with KnitPicks Shine, Touché has a very similar composition, but I like it better (maybe because it seems spun more tightly).

Although I got enough to make one adult sweater out of each color, I knew I wanted the two side-by-side as soon as my yarn arrived. It was just a matter of waiting until the right project made itself known.

Now, of course, you understand exactly why Shadow Knitting spoke to me when it did – by its very nature the technique combines light and dark yarns, placing them side by side!

So, how about it? A little throw or blanket, combining the orange and the fuchsia, placing them side by side? It so happens that shadow knitting is not much different from garter stitch – the fabric doesn’t curl – and so the technique produces a functional flat fabric.

I’m starting with a simple border, as outlined in the Classic Cross Pillow pattern (same book, p. 28). Once I pick up stitches for the main part of the blanket, I plan to roughly follow the design of the Collared Jacket, doodled up (very poorly) on that yellow post-it (or see my previous entry, p. 110 of the book).

The border grows, slowly but unobtrusively – great for watching TV or chatting on the phone. In the meantime, I cannot help but admire the seriously tidy edges:

When a designer has taken the time to work out exactly how yarns should be twisted and stitches should be slipped, it shows. Love it!


38 thoughts on “Catalyst

  1. Rebecca

    I adore those colors together! I now see a need to venture out of my wooly world for something a little more, um….I forgot. Anyway, can’t wait to see how it works up, I’ve yet to try that technique but really do love garter stitch in a beautifully textured yarn every once in a while.

  2. Barb in Sudbury

    I love your blog…you inspire! And even when you make things I will never do, I still love learning something new. Thank you Grumperina!

  3. SarahJanet

    Wow, that yarn is gorgeous. And I am a total nerd because my first thought when seeing them together was “wow, how Gryffindor.” Clearly I read too much Harry Potter.

  4. ann

    I love those colors together too! (Tho around here people will mistake you for a virginia tech fan… boooo). I’ve always been a bit enamoured and a bit befuddled by shadow knitting. Looking forward to reading your entries on it.

  5. Ashley

    LOVE those colors together (although be prepared for all the Gryffindor comments–it’s all I hear when I wear my Endpaper mitts!)

  6. Laura

    Very smart — using that jacket’s pattern for a throw instead. You’ve inspired me to take another look at that book with home decor in mind instead of garments. Love the neat edge too.

    (Glad I’m not the only one who immediately associated those colors with Gryffindor!)

  7. ClaraU

    Unless the shadow knitting techniques used in the book differ from those used in popular illusion scarves, shadow knitting does curl, as anyone who has knitted an illusion scarf can tell.

    Lovely edges.

  8. Rose

    The yarn looks so soft, the colors so edible. Reminds me of mangoes and raspberries. I’ve done some small shadow knitting projects, no curling. I’m not sure how you would get it to curl unless you did the edges too tight. Can hardly wait to see your progress.

  9. Ina

    My experience is also that shadow knitting curls. It is a combination of garter stitch and stocking stitch, so some curling will occur.

    Beautiful colours you chose!

  10. Lauren

    Wow it’s really lovely! I think I like to do something like that one day too. The twist of the yarn looks really cool. 🙂

  11. amberpixie

    glad you like working with the touche. i just got some for the “cardigan for arwen” from IK and was a bit worried if it was going to make a nice garment, but am heartened that you’re using it. enjoy!

  12. Stef

    Echoing ClaraU and Ina, beware the curl. If you plan a 10 st border of actual garter stitch into your blanket, I bet that will solve the problem. Good luck! I bet it’ll be stunning when finished.

  13. Stef

    Double post of DUH: For some reason, the border pictures didn’t load on my first peek at the page. I guess they would prevent curling too, haha. The slipped edges really are pretty and neat.

  14. Knitnana

    So you’ve become a Hokie? (VT fan)

    Those colors are not my fave (tho’ my MSed is from the school!). Still I can see how lovely that blanket is going to be…

    You’ll have ‘Hoos mad at you forever … (that’s UVA, FYI)



  15. betsy

    I took a class at OFFF last year. The instructor had a child’s sweater in the colors of OSU (black and gold). And the back with shadow knitting she had written ‘GO DUCKS’ (ducks refering to the rival college UofO. It was the most amazing thing. If you didn’t look at it at exactly the right angle you couldn’t see the writing and would never identify the infiltrator.

  16. Anne

    Those colors look just GORGEOUS together. I’m not huge on stash, either, though I almost always have more yarn than I’m knitting with, it’s generally ‘tagged’ for a particular project I just haven’t gotten to. I think it’s knitting up beautifully. I’ve long been intrigued by shadow knitting and you’re pushing me to want to try it!

  17. Christina

    There’s nothing I love more than tidy edges. Tidy edges = complete happiness.

    Can’t wait to see more of your shadow knitting expedition.

  18. Laura

    Your pillow is truly beautiful. I am wondering if the border would work up as well with mitered corners or even making bias strips in garter stitch.

    It’s great to see interesting projects and get more ideas for my own project. I was researching the shadow technique for a cotton cardigan. I believe I’ll give it a try. 😉

    Thanks for letting me visit. 🙂


  19. Kimberly from Some Bunny's Love

    Tonight before bed, I was curious to see if anyone has created any yarns for Hokie Hope day. I G**gled the words “Hokie Hope yarn” and viola… This post appeared in the top 10. Thanks for putting those colors together in this pillow. This week has been horrible for my VA Tech family and those affected.

    Bunny hugs,


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