Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Taking charge of self-striping yarn

If you've met me or watched me knit for any length of time, you know how much I love self-striping yarn, especially gradient yarn.  There's a difference:  gradient flows smoothly from one color to the next, sometimes along the value scale.  Self-striping?  Think sock yarn.  Both are great fun.

But you want a particular color or value to hit at the right spot in your garment, right?    E.g., in a shawl, to create a picture using color.

Here's my latest gradient project:
Pattern:  Cladonia using solid black noil silk fingering alternating with SMC Tahiti.  Both are light fingering weight yarns -- meaning alternating yarns in the shawl body will show both yarn colors equally.

But back to taking charge of color.  I wanted the lightest gray at the neck, so started with that.  Then I wanted a wide white stripe just before the lace edging, which happened to come off the skein and land in the right place.  But I didn't want any more white in the edging.  That required cutting the gradient at the right color and splicing the same color when it began to occur again in the skein.  This is why you buy more gradient yarn than the pattern actually needs, so you can pick and choose.

For all of you who are wincing at the thought of cutting and splicing in lace:
Yes, just a Russian join (right below the green pencil point).  Click on photo to enlarge.

Same in the picot edge:
Border join after burying ends, shown just to the left of needle point:
Picot after burying ends.  Can you tell which of the three picots in the photo has the join?

Sometimes I enjoy the sheer randomness of color in self-striping or gradient yarns.  Just let the colors end up where they want to.  And then there're the times when I have a picture in mind of what I'd want a project to look like.  

For the record, I love this shawl.  Wearing it tonight.


P.S. more in the next few days on choosing the right tools for the right job.  As in, just what is that long-eye sharp needle in the second-to-last photo and why do I have a small collection of them?

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