I buy yarn because it looks pretty in the skein. I just do. I don't always have a project in mind. If it makes me happy, it's probably coming home with me. I'll worry about how it looks knit up later on. That's my personal approach.
But, as I've had time over the last couple of years, as a hobbyist dyer, to contemplate how color placement in the dyeing process works on a finished project, I've developed a lot of focus on how the pretty skeins I dye will look when they become sweaters and cowls and baby blankets and hats. And realizing that I can't knit fast enough to do all of the testing I want to do, I've been fortunate enough to find a dedicated group of knitters, whose testing work has really advanced my ability to tweak how colorways are dyed to produce both a pretty skein and a pretty finished project.
I was thinking about this as I put my Big Island Wrapper out for blocking (Thanks, family cats, for the lovely claw marks on my blocks. No, not a scratching post!) And I decided to go back and look at projects I've knit with my own yarn. I confess, I'm not as good about getting them into Ravelry as I should be, but when I went through them, I was able to create a group of 27 Elliebelly projects. Wow, were my early photos bad. I'm still not a master yarn photographer, but, just ouch! Were my kids ever really that small? It's fun looking back through the projects and seeing still-favorites like Steven West's Honegart Hat, which I wore last winter, although it was knit in 2011.
And, it was a good reminder that it's the time of year to pull out the Clapotis I knit in Elliebelly Chemise. It gets softer and softer every year and I love wearing it.
I'll always love the sweater I knit for Ollie out of Crayon when he was small. It's still a favorite.
I love looking at these older photos and examining the projects closely. The more you dye, the more you learn about dyeing and about knitting. And I hope I'm constantly evolving as a dyer. My goal is to create yarn that isn't just another pretty skein. Although I love the pretty skeins too!