I have been pattern testing for just over a year now and I love it! It has been a lifeline for me over the past year when I haven't been able to work a lot of the time. Having something to focus on and deadlines to work toward has helped to keep me grounded when it feels like so much else is out of my control.
When Bella of Bella's Custom Crochets first shared pictures of the Hope & A Future Wrap and her inspiration for it, I knew I wanted to apply to test it. The past year has been full of ups and downs for all of us. The idea that the pops of colour in this project represent the bright spots in between the dark times really resonated with me. The rainbow promises us a hope and a future despite everything that has been happening in the world. The lacy stitch pattern used is also representative of how things can look so complicated and messy, but at the end (when it's all blocked) you can see the whole picture.
Bella designed this wrap in collaboration with Megs and Co and used some gorgeous rainbow colours and greys. Unfortunately it didn't make sense for me to get a kit from Meg for my wrap since post takes forever to get from the US to NI. Thankfully I have a good collection of mini skeins, so I spent an afternoon creating chaos in my yarn room, trawling through my stash trying to make matches. Considering how much yarn I have, you'd be surprised how hard it was to find two full skeins and seven minis that worked together! I eventually chose two gorgeous merino/silk skeins from Ginger Twist Studio for my main colours, and narrowed it down to two options for the minis - one with a beautiful pastel rainbow and one that was more dark and moody. After mulling it over for a ridiculously long time and discussing it with the tester group, I decided that the moody option wouldn't have enough contrast. This meant that I got to use some of the beautiful pastel rainbow mini skeins from Skein Heroine that I'd been saving for the perfect project - and what better project than one based on rainbows?!
Once my yarn was chosen and wound, next up was the most necessary (and my least favourite) part of testing - swatching. In my opinion, swatching is a necessary evil - it's not something I enjoy (I'm always eager to get stuck in to the project) but it's absolutely something that needs to be done right when you're testing a pattern. I had trouble getting gauge on this project - I had to swatch three times which has never happened me before, and even in the end my gauge was ever so slightly off on width. This did mean that my wrap turned out a little smaller than Bella's sample, but it still turned out a good size for me. The silk content in my two main colours made it super soft, but also provided a nice contrast with the BFL mini skeins I used.
The pattern includes instructions for adding tassels to either end of the wrap. Tassels are not my thing, and Bella was happy for some testers not to add them - so with her permission, I added some long fringing in my two main colours instead.
I really enjoyed this pattern, the simple stitch repeats were therapeutic when my mind was racing and perfect to work on while watching mindless TV. Blocking it was quite the undertaking, but so worthwhile to see that gorgeous lacy pattern open up!
The pattern for the Hope & A Future Wrap went live today, so make sure you head over to Bella's Custom Crochets and check it out! You can find my project notes and details about the yarns and yardage I used over on my Ravelry project here.