Swatch Sketchbook: Dandelions

The plant world is full of wonderful textures, color palettes, and shapes for knitters to draw inspiration from. Recently I have been finding myself drawn to dandelions, the invasive weeds that have been appearing on my front lawn this past spring. Even though they can be a nuisance, I do think that their white fluffy heads are beautiful and inspiring.

I wondered how I could translate the characteristics of a dandelion to a small knitted swatch, perhaps for future use in a shawl design. I decided to sketch out my idea in my Knitters Graph Paper Journal, which is full of blank charts to use for all sorts of knitting purposes.

For this particular design, I knew I wanted to create the appearance of a dandelion quite literally—capturing both the long, skinny stem and tufted head. After a few false starts, I decided the stem would look best as a twisted knit column on a background of reverse stockinette stitches.

Finding a way to make the seed heads was probably the trickiest part of the swatching process. I started by knitting rays of slipped stitches going in multiple directions, but the result wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for. After spending some quality time with the Internet, I was lucky enough to find a stitch pattern called dandelion stitch, and I worked that pattern into my swatch so that it stacked on top of the stem design.

After finishing the design, I experimented with a few different yarn combinations. I settled on Shibui Silk Cloud held together with Shibui Cima in Ivory. I thought Silk Cloud’s halo would nicely mimic the fluffiness of the dandelion, and the Cima would give the swatch a bit more structure.

Here is the resulting swatch:

While I like the end result, next time I might experiment with making more loops to fill out the dandelion head a bit more. Overall, it was a fun experience, and I really enjoyed combining natural inspiration and my Knitters Graph Paper Journal to create a design.
June 10, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall
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