Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Knitting with Handpainted Yarns

So, one of the really cool things about being a vendor at Black Sheep is being asked to give a small presentation on something that would be useful to knitters/spinners. The topic I chose is pretty fitting, it is Knitting with Handpainted Yarns. I am constantly getting questions about how my yarn knits up, and the answer is, well, it depends. Here, I'll show you:

This sample, and all of the samples I have included are knit out of my Superwash Worsted Yarn on size #3US. The first four samples are out of colorway Dragon Fire. With this sample I cast on 60 stitches and knit in the round in stockinette stitch. I did this on purpose to show the dreaded pooling that can occur when the number of stitches matches up with a particular repeat in a colorway. Pretty much any yarn can do this that has multiple long stripes of color. So how do we avoid pooling? There are several ways we can do this, as you will see.

Now this is the same exact yarn only I have cast on a different amount of stitches. The change to the cast on means that the colors will line up differently and thus not pool. For this sample I cast on 45 stitches. Of course this won't make the same project that you first started out to make, but it will make something else. As in if you cast on for a pair of socks for your husband and it pools in a way you don't like it might just end up being a pair of socks for you instead at a smaller cast on number. Unless your husband is attached to the yarn, then it might just turn out to be a hat for him instead with a larger number of stitches cast on. Don't be afraid to change the project if the first idea doesn't turn out as well as you thought it would.

Well, let's just say that your husband is set on having those socks out of that particular colorway, as I know mine would. Another option is to knit from both ends of the ball. Wind your yarn into a center pull ball or use 2 different balls of yarn. For this sample I cast on 60 stitches then knit 2 rounds with the inside end of the yarn and then 2 rounds with the outside end of the yarn. This breaks up the pooling and creates a different set of stripes. You can experiment with 1 round, 2 round, 3 round, or however many rounds to break up the stripes. You can even try changing it up and doing stripes randomly. There are lots of options!

The next idea is to add a stitch pattern, especially one with slipped or purled stitches. Slipped or purled stitches take a different amount of yarn than just knit stitches which will make the yarn line up in different ways than the pooled sample. For this sample I cast on 60 stitches and used the Brick Rib Pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works' Brick Rib Socks. It is just amazing what the simple addition of a stitch pattern can do to break up pooling!

Lastly, if none of these samples appeal to you, then consider knitting with a semi-solid. Semi-solids can contain all of the colors of your favorite handpainted yarns without the fear of pooling. For this sample I cast on 60 sts. It is made with my new colorway Snapdragon. It contains the same colors as my Dragon Fire yarn only all mushed together into a semi solid.

If you would like to see these samples in person, I will be giving this presentation at 4pm on Saturday, June 20th at Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR. Any feedback would be appreciated, so I can give the best presentation possible!

If you are going to Black Sheep, which is June 19th, 20th, & 21st at the Lane County Fairgrounds, then please consider signing up for Black Sheep Bingo! It's a great way to meet new people and have a little extra fun at BSG. The deadline is June 12th, which I know is short notice. I am signed up to be a square and a player. I think it will be a lot of fun!

If you can't make it to Black Sheep and you will be in the Portland Area, consider cheering on Lorajean of Knitted Wit! She is taking part of Take Steps, a walk to support the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, which is taking place in downtown Portland at 4pm, on Saturday, June 20th. You can donate to her walk here. She has some lovely prizes posted up on her blog. For every $5 donated your name will be entered to win one of these wonderful prizes. Make sure to check it out!

1 comment:

Lorajean said...

This is a great post! Lots of good information, very clear. Thanks for the shout out at the end! So kind of you.