This little hat, photo below, is the inspiration for the sweater I'm currently over half-way finished knitting.
And let me tell you why. It's the yarn. It's Malabrigo Rios and so soft you can't believe it's 100% wool. As I was knitting along on this hat and enjoying it so much, I had the inspiration that THIS was the yarn for the beautiful sweater pattern I had picked out...and boy, was I right! This yarn loves knitting needles and behaves itself like no other yarn I've ever experienced. It's soft and squishy and yet the stitches are very well-defined and hold their own.
Not to mention how incredibly beautiful the colors are. Each skein is hand dyed, so while one "bag" (10 skeins) are technically one dye-lot, the color varies from skein to skein just enough that you notice if you knit all in one skein then switch to another.
It's also difficult to get enough yardage to knit a sweater (being so well-loved by knitters that it sells out as soon as stores get it in stock), so I consider myself lucky indeed to have found a color that will complement my own coloring.
In order to compensate for this, I am knitting my sweater in "stripes." Unfortunately you won't see the sweater today because the pics I took were all blurry. Before I started knitting, I noticed that laying the skeins side-by-side you could tell the difference between them--one being considerably lighter than the rest. There are patches of a tannish color in one skein that aren't present in the others. I considered different ways to address this issue because I didn't want the experience I had when I knitted my dad's sock and the foot is definitely 3 shades darker than the leg and heel...and that was with two skeins that looks fairly identical.
I had the option to take two skeins at a time and alternate rows. That made sense, but then as I looked at it I knew that even if I did that there might still be a noticeable break between sections--while not as grand, still it would be there. Therefore, I decided that I would work with two skein at a time, knit two rounds in one color and then two rounds in the other, switching one skein out each day and replacing it with a skein picked at random. This is working out very well and the color changes just look like they are part of the overall color changes in the sweater.
Have I mentioned how much I cannot wait to finish this sweater?
(And I didn't even talk about Alyssa's hat which is really wonderful. I had to go back a bit in the knitting because it was smaller than she wanted, but I'm finished with that revision now. I need to wash and block it and then add the ribbon and button, which will make this hat very special indeed...but that's still to come.)