3 tips for working with a dark coloured fiber

I’m sample knitting to a tight deadline this week, here are three quick tips that are keeping me on track. It’s knit in a yarn that is a stunning eggplant purple with deep black shadows. I love this colour, however dark fibers can be challenging to work with.

Tip 1: proper light

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a light fixture marketed to crafts. There are many options out there that may fit your needs and budget. What is important is that it fits where you work and provides light without casting shadows. If you wish for a particular colour of light, replace the bulb! I believe colour temperature is a personal preference (often causing debates in our house). I notice and prefer what’s considered “Natural Daylight”, a very white light which is 5000° K.

Most standard household lights are either the traditional incandescent warm (2700° K) or cool (4000° K). A higher Kelvin value creates a whiter light that most mimics bright daylight.

I also prefer LEDs as they provide a physically cool to the touch light in addition to whatever temperature I choose for the bulb. I’ve been burnt more than once on older bulbs. Please be careful!

Tip 2: don’t match your project

This is my challenge! I tend to dress in black and when working on a dark project that makes it difficult to see the stitches. What I do depends on the project. I often lay a light colour towel or blanket across my lap. My other option is to pull out some of those lesser worn garments that aren’t black! Yes, this is a specific tip! When I’ve grabbed at my leg for the fifth time in a row and not picked up any yarn providing contrast where I can definitely reduces frustration!

Tip 3: slow, steady, and save

Since I need to look closely at the fabric to see each stitch, it’s unfortunately easy to make a mistake and not notice for a few rows, even in an easy to read lace. The repeats for this design shift making stitch markers difficult to line up without moving them every other row. I pause after every few rows and count to make sure I’m still on the right path. Though this doesn’t always work! On one row I’d both dropped and added a yarn over and it took me most of the next row to realize that! After every ten rows or so, I thread through a high contrast (white) lifeline in case I have to back up. Lifelines save time!

Do you have a favourite tip for working with black or dark fibers?

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