Swatching: What kind of dragon are you?

My dragon cowl set offers you an immediate choice – will you go for the simpler, worsted-weight option, or slinky beaded glamour? But of course, the next decision is equally important. What yarn will you use?

I used yarn from stash, and I really love both options. If you can get your hands on some Semi-Precious or Outlaw Bohemian, you won't be sorry. But if you're curious about how these cowls would look in something quite different, read on.

One way of getting a sparkly dragony cowl without the hassle of beading would be to use a glittery yarn – and that was actually the first thing I tried. Unfortunately, my swatch wasn't satisfactory. While a lot of indie dyers offer sock yarn with a silver or gold thread, the Stellina makes itself known with a slight scratchiness – only slight, but enough that I didn't want to wear it at to my neck. The tight spin of that yarn (again, typical for this base; I was using unbranded yarn dyed by a friend, but if you've handled any sparkly sock yarn you know what I mean) also meant it didn't have the soft drape I wanted. 

Of course that was before The Knitting Goddess produced this lovely, gently fluffy, soft sparkle yarn… (By the way. No, Joy isn't paying me to promote her yarns at all – I hate ads disguised as reviews! – but I have a note at the end of this post you should read…)

This is a BFL/Masham fingering-weight yarn and it's utterly luffly. My cowls were all done by the time I got some to play with, but I swatched it in the dragonscale pattern for comparison. I could definitely see a Haku in this; it would be a comforting Luck Dragon of a cowl, a fuzzy winter friend. It knits up a bit fatter than the Babylonglegs yarn; don't even try to get gauge, it'll just leave a smidge more room around your neck. 

Although I recommend solid or semi-solid yarns for both patterns, I was curious to see how it would work in a low-contrast variegated. So I swatched. I'm deeply in love with this blue-violet colourway (I think it's Midnight?) but as you see, the stitch pattern does show up much better in plain silver. I do like the effect – but it works better as a way of moving the colours around than as a way of creating a clear dragony look.   

sparkly swatch2.jpg

I also swatched in some Malabrigo Dos Tierras, just to see how that looked. This is a lightish DK (and it's amaaaaazing!) so it sits right in between Haku's fingering and Chihiro's worsted gauge. Now, I haven't done the maths, but since Haku takes 6 repeats, Chihiro 4, and they both come out at a similar size, I'd say you could use this for either pattern and just add or subtract one repeat as needed. 

I think this is a pretty good choice if you want a colourful yarn. You can see that the colours don't stripe or pool – there's enough variegation to give the fabric a lot of depth and interest, without fighting the stitch pattern. If you're stash-diving, try to pick a yarn with similar qualities: think speckles or kettle dyes, rather than traditionally hand-painted colourways. 

Now read this… I'm excited to tell you that I am working with "Knitting Goddess" Joy on a few upcoming designs! One of them uses a DK version of that fabulously soft and squooshy BFL/Masham blend. One uses the luscious Britsilk that I've previously reviewed. And one – well, look at this: I'm in her 2018 shawl club! I'm going to have to sit on my hands to keep me from spoiling the surprise on that one, but stay tuned for snippets about the other two over the next few months.