Ok, so the picture on the left here wasn't intended to be a swatch, it was supposed to be the Ten Stitch Blanket, but I abandoned it at this point. The yarn is a lovely present some friends brought me back from South America, some sort of mysterious brandless hand-dyed chunky weight fibre that feels like pure wool and screams that it wants to be a blanket, but the pattern just wasn't working for me. It's weird, I mean even though it's a bit old skool I really like garter stitch for its cheery bouncy warmth, which is what you want in a blanket really. I like the simplicity of this pattern for mindless tv knitting. It knits up super quickly, but the spiralling construction is interesting enough to stop boredom setting in. I even liked the way that the colours of this hand-dyed yarn lined up so nicely in neat little stripes. So I zoomed happily along for a bit. Then something bad happened. When stopping to admire my progress, I would look at it, and get an overwhelming feeling of My First Knitting Project. I think the combination of garter stitch, simple pattern and chunky yarn just wasn't right. I could see dropped stitches in it, even though there weren't any - my brain just filled them in because it thought they ought to be there. Hmm, not a good sign.
So I started again. I spent some time looking at patterns but just couldn't find anything else that grabbed me. Blankets are so infinitely wingable though, and in the end I copied the stitch pattern from My So Called Scarf. I'm much happier with the result - the criss cross pattern breaks up the pooling of the hand dyed yarn, and the fabric is super dense and warm and blanketty. It's slightly slower progress than the garter stitch effort but it's still such an easy pattern that you can pick it up and do a row whilst chatting before you've even properly noticed what your hands are doing.
The red swatch lies at the other end of the brand notoriety spectrum. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I woke up the morning after the Bobbins launch party with fewer magazines in the front room, a bit of a headache and some Wollmeise. I've managed to resist the Woolmisery / StrickHeroin / Fairy Farts hysteria until now, but frankly you can't help but be intrigued by a yarn with so many street names. I didn't know whether to knit with it or roll it up and smoke it. But I'm rather liking this colourway - 'Gazpacho'. It's a bit of a photograph fail, the bright streaks are much more vivid red IRL, not the tomatoey colour they appear here. I have 2 skeins which I am hoping will be enough for Tempest in a solid colour. It's knitted on big needles so is quite summery and drapy and hopefully could be accomplished in less than seven lifetimes.