The original plan I had for the yarn I dyed (Fiber Fun, Part 1 and Part 2) was to make all three hanks into a shawl. When I made a swatch in the shawl pattern on size 8 needles, I could see right away that it was just not going to work. The bright colors which tended to look stripey just obliterated the stitch design of the shawl. And the yarn wasn't being shown off to its best advantage either. It's a triangular shawl that flares out from the center and I had thought that having the stripes go in different directions would be interesting. But the colors are too bright. It's too busy. Ixnay on this one.
Then I thought, with those bright colors and the light weight of the yarn (it's a fingering weight, merino wool), it would make something perfect for the baby! And after all that I put this poor yarn through, I know it is washable! In her book on Color, Sally Melville suggests using a variegated yarn with a solid color yarn to keep things under control. You let the variegated yarn stripe all it wants and border it with the solid color. I found a pattern for a raglan-sleeve cardigan for the baby with a stripe every 8 rows. I plan to use a solid color, maybe a dark blue, for this on-purpose stripe and for the ribbing, too.
I can't show you a swatch of that idea yet as I have to go out and get the second yarn, but here is a swatch of the yarn I dyed using size 5 needles. Notice how I got perfect stripes this time (for awhile anyway). This was because my row length was exactly right for the length of chartreuse in my dyed yarn. Some people try to get this effect on purpose. They stretch out the hanks of yarn to be dyed up and down and around, and then dye it with long color repeats. Problem is, as soon as you have an increase or a decrease in your pattern, you lose your stripes.
OK, the baby sweater will work, but it only uses one hank of the dyed yarn. What else can I do?
A foulard. The perfect pattern for my yarn. It is from the Morehouse Farm knitting book. The pattern is as simple as can be, garter stitch all the way, but you start at a corner and increase one stitch with each row. When you get to the middle, you start to decrease with each row. So except for the two rows in the middle, no two rows will be of the same length, and the variegated yarn doesn't have a chance to get into a stripey mode. This swatch was done with size 13 needles though the pattern calls for 11s. I wanted a more open effect. The stitches are pretty even right now, but when I block it I will purposely stretch them out to different sizes to make the final square look more casual and carefree. Looks Impressionistic doesn't it? Reminds me of Monet's Water Lilies. Worn as a shawl, it will be perfect for those cool summer evenings we have in L.A.