We had fun in Scarf Club last week working on Spectra. I think the most fun is choosing colors, although, the knitting is really addictive. Helen emailed me regarding color choices for the main color if you're not using Noro, and since that question has come up several times since, I thought I'd repeat it here.
The question is this:
If I am using a standard variegated sock yarn for the contrasting color (the wedges) rather than a long color shift yarn like Noro, which is called for in the pattern, what special considerations do I need to give to the choice of my main color?
And here is my answer:
Most variegated sock yarn (like Jitterbug) has a very short color repeat, so the effect is totally different than if you were using a Noro-type yarn. I think that regardless of the yarn used, the key is to choose very different colors for the main body and the wedges. If the colors are too close, you will totally lose the wedges and thus the spectacular effect of the design. This is particularly true if you're using short color repeat yarn. With Noro, you might lose one or two wedges where the color of the contrast yarn is close to color of the main yarn, but most of the wedges will be sufficiently different to give you a lovely effect. For short color repeats, I would probably choose a complementary color for the main color, or at least something that doesn't appear at all in the contrasting color. Another approach would be to choose colors with very different values - i.e, very light versus very dark, for the two yarns. Take a look on Ravelry at all the different examples of Spectra, and you'll see what I mean.
Betsy, Phyllis and I have chosen Noro for our contrasting color, and Ella Rae Lace Merino for the main color.
Here is Betsy's selection. There are some portions of the Noro that have the same blue in it as the main color, but for the most part, the contrasting color is different from the main color.
Here is Phyllis' selection. The orange of the main color is close to some of the Noro Taiyo tones, but those tones will not appear in every wedge.
Duffy has chosen an Ella Rae variegated for the contrast color, so we selected a main color that is totally different. The Ella Rae is a gorgeous mix of blues, greens, pinks, and purples - all very cool colors. The warm golden tone of the Juniper Moon Findley (which she's holding double) really sets off the contrast yarn.
If you are interested, you can see mine here. Hope that helps all of you who are contemplating a Spectra of your own! After the first couple of repeats, the pattern is easy to remember and totally addictive. We'll be doing Specta at the Thursday Afternoon Scarf Club for the next few weeks.