Yarns to Love
Playing with Mini Skeins: Color Fun
Color brings me cheer, and mini skeins let me play with color while solving the puzzle of what to do with a mere 60 yards of yarn. How best to use smalls bits of color to create a cohesive whole?
Here is my tale.
Start with a Set
Crochet allows for wild improvisation of stitches and shapes. Mini-skein sets are curated palettes, so there’s a certain security in committing to a full set. I may not know where I’m going as I wind them, but I enjoy the twists and turns of getting there. I trusted that the yarn, a set of Canon Hand Dyes mini skeins in colors curated by Melanie Falick, would speak to me.
I wanted to make something airy and light, because it was intended for use in the air-conditioned interiors of Tennessee in June—fingering weight, loosely crocheted, soft and woolly.
I began with simple granny squares of two or three colors each, a bit old fashioned. Granny squares do not have to be fuddyduddy, yet I found that no matter how I arranged the finished squares, the pink and blue read pastel.
I needed somehow to include more colors in each square, to find a way to balance the colors.
I truly enjoy making granny squares and shapes, but I like to mix it up, whether by varying patterns or colors. I decided to create loosely defined squares, to use every color at least once, but not more than once and to avoid putting the same edges together at the seams.
You can see hints of my first granny squares inside what became the log cabin-edged grannies.
For the log cabin portion of my squares, I used combinations of stitches. My favorite bits are the ones that look like the knitted linen stitch and the ones that look like the delicate tracks of bird feet in wet sand.
When I’m creating, I like to go where my mind and eye take me. My original vision was to create squares, slipstitch them together, then create an elongated log cabin-ish border to hold them visually together.
But these attractive but unruly shapes also aroused a certain anxiety in me. I didn’t have enough blocks to make a full scarf yet, but I needed to contain them somehow. I wanted to do longer runs with the little bird feet of my lacy double crochets.
I grew bored with making log cabin-edged granny squares. This stymied me for a day or two. The scarf, in order to be a scarf, needed to be at least twice as long as my connected six squares. I tried doing granny stripes.
I would make the second half of my scarf one rectangle as large as the original six squares combined. I got a few granny stripes in and worried that the result would be too structured. (I know.)
I ended up creating what looks like a very long tail, which doubled the length and made the scarf a scarf instead of a short table runner. I bordered the entire collection of my imagination with a mustard border, and it was quite striking. But, then I worried that the glowing mustard border might be a little neon. So I added a final border of gray. And that’s where I stopped.
Had I more than one set of mini skeins, I would have made a “tail” to go on the other side of the more structured six-square piece, then surround the resulting winged shape with a border of rows and rows of picots, shells, and birds feet. And then I’d call it a Shawl.
I think that 12 or 15 log cabined granny squares would make a wonderful scarf.
A structured rectangle of granny stripes made to the same approximate width of the original six squares would also have made a fine scarf.
The pattern, Gunn Lake Scarf, and it’s available as a free pattern on Ravelry, here. It’s a set of general guidelines and details about the stitches and colors I used.