Finding the right pattern for your yarn, especially harvested yarn, can be a bit of a chore. Even so, it's an aspect of the knitting adventure that I relish, despite the time it takes. Here's a glimpse into my process:
First, I go onto Ravelry and sort my personal library by yarn weight and type of pattern (e.g. sweater). If the results don't look promising, I turn to the general Ravelry pattern library. This can be incredibly overwhelming so make sure to use the filters (e.g. sweater, aran, woman, adult, etc.)! I then select patterns that catch my eye and add them to my library without purchasing (who knows, you might want to use them later for a different project!). I know this is not typical for Ravelry users, but I find it so much easier than favoriting as you can use all the sort filters later.
Next, I cull. I try to bear in mind the fiber of yarn I will be working with. Am I using an animal or a plant based fiber? How might this sweater sit if I'm knitting it with wool instead of linen? (That is a legit question I'm asking myself right now as I attempt to knit Flex with a wool/acrylic blend!)
Once I have three to six patterns that I like (the contenders for my current Better Sweater Project are at the top of this post), I pick my top choice and begin swatching. Remember, even if you use the weight of yarn suggested by a pattern that does not necessarily mean that your yarn will produce the same gauge as the pattern. If my swatch doesn't match up to the gauge indicated on the pattern page, I try using a different needle size. If this doesn't work out, I move on to another pattern and begin the swatching process again. Once I have the winning combo, I progress to the final step.
Leap into knitting! Take a chance and see if your project will fly. Only time will tell if my acrylic/wool version of Flex will end up awesome or get frogged and turned into something else. But that's part of the grand knitting adventure, right? Cheers!
In short, I:
- Sort through my personal Ravelry library or the general Ravelry library by weight.
- Select patterns that I might want to work with and add to personal library.
- Cull these patterns, picking out the ones that would work with they fibre of yarn I'm using.
- Swatch and swatch and swatch.
- Leap into knitting!
Update: After taking a "leap" and beginning Flex, I soon discovered that I had completely inaccurately gauged my yarn as aran when in fact it is worsted. I blame this mis-reading of yarn weight on the slightly fluffed out quality of the yarn from washing (and not on my utter incompetence). Back to the library I go!