Monday, July 4, 2011

Pooling knits

Last summer, one of the members of the Atlanta Knitting Guild brought in a scarf she had knitted in which the colors pooled into vertical columns. Can I say amazing and beautiful?

She had read about pooled knitting on Ravelry and found Gladys We, one of the yarn floozies. Gladys has explored using handpainted yarns to their full pooling potential and sharing that knowledge with masochistic knitters everywhere.

Masochistic, you ask? Yes.

I've been working with one of the skeins I dyed. I love the colorway, Mood Ring. I had dyed a skein of Knit Picks Bare, the silk and merino blend, which I had purchased before I had started Fiber Charmer and could get yarn from wholesalers. Besides, I figured I'd keep this for myself as I didn't think that Knit Picks would really be a good source for undyed fiber.

So, some of the knitty gritty about why I think this is good for masochists.

1. There's swatching. Lots and lots of swatching. When I'm working at the LYS, I advise people to swatch. You can learn a lot from swatching. That said, I rarely swatch. I knit a lot of toe up, plain stockinette socks, and I never swatch for those. I know there are times when I should swatch, and I have done it, but I've also discovered, as Yarn Harlot herself has mentioned, that swatches lie.

With pooled knitting, you have to swatch. There is no way around it. Swatch and rip, swatch and rip, swatch and rip, eye the bourbon and switch to spinning.

Actually, that's the only reason I think it's good for masochists. Once you get past that, get your gauge and your needles, it's smooth sailing.

Well, I assume it is once you get all that. What I've discovered is that this skein, wound by Knit Picks mill, is shorter than the skeins I wind. I'm talking about a smaller circumference and not the yardage of the skein. I've been getting 37 -38 stitches as my magic number, but when I start knitting, my colors travel. I can correct that by examining every single row and then determining if I need to switch needle sizes yet again.

Honestly, that's way too much work for me. This one is getting frogged, and this yarn that I bought and dyed for myself is going back into the bin. I'll see what I've got in inventory and start again.

I hope that you have a happy 4th! I won't be working on pooled knits today, so I plan to enjoy mine!

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