a big brown thing and a plan

Along with gift knitting (which I’m not talking about yet) I have been working on another sweater. It’s the big brown thing aka plum frost cardigan aka plum tree (because mine is clearly not frosty: it’s BROWN)

When last we saw this project, it looked like this:
plum tree

and that’s pretty much exactly what it looks like still. I’ve wound the skeins into balls, so that’s nice. And the pile of brown knitting now includes a completed body, one finished sleeve, and a cuff. But it’s still BROWN.

To break up all that brownness I knit a little color swatch this weekend. If you look at the colors I’ve chosen and the original sweater you might notice I’ve changed the colors. But I’ve also change the color values – and I knew that was going to cause trouble. Let’s analyze this, shall we?

The original sweater has 6 colors, Charcoal, suede, pearl, lilac, purple haze, and blackberry. Those are just two color families. Charcoal, suede, and pearl are neutrals – a dark gray, a medium/light nude sort of color, and an almost white. Lilac, purple haze, and blackberry are all purples, light, medium, and dark. The designer fades the background from dark to light while the star colors fade from light (lilac over the dark gray) to medium (purple haze over suede), to dark at the center of the star (blackberry over pearl).

colorwork swatch

See how my colors don’t blend or fade properly? I knew this would happen. When I picked my colors I already had the russet red and blackberry in my stash. I knew I wanted to use them together, so I picked a dusty rose as the third “color” and went with teak, sand, and white as my “neutrals.” All 6 yarns play well together but the values are off, the russet and blackberry are more different in true color, and at the same time are too close in vibrancy and saturation, compared to the purple haze and blackberry they’re meant to replace.

Rather than picking new colors (because I want to knit this with the yarn I have, not buy more) I’ve decided to rearrange the colors. I won’t be maintaining the original vision, but when was the last time I knit something exactly as written anyway? So here’s my plan:

colorwork plan

A) swap the teak and rose in these rows. This will make for a XOXO pattern that stands out in all dark colors over light background. Different from the original vision, but less murky in my colors.

B) Swap the red and the purple here. I think the purple is a touch darker and will stand out against the sand better than the red does.

C) The purple bar and flecks will stand out against the rose much better than they doe against the teak. But why is there no fleck row below the purple bar at the bottom? There will be in my sweater, because I need the symmetricalness.

D) The white stands out too much against the teak down here. I’ll fade into the colorwork with more rose instead.

E) I don’t like the flecks in the center of the star it’s just too busy (yes, I know, it’s fair isle, it’s supposed to be busy. Oh well) I’m thinking a white center with one colored fleck instead.

After this swatching and planning I’m really excited to get to the top of the second sleeve and start the yoke!! But all that brown isn’t holding my attention so well at this point…

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2 responses to “a big brown thing and a plan

  1. What a beautiful pattern Becky and I love your color choices ~ I can’t wait to see it finished :)

    • Aww, thanks! I’m not re-swatching with my new color choices. This is either brave or foolish. But that’s just how I roll, it’s only knitting after all! I can always rip it out and try again – as long as I decide to before the steeking…

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