Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Self-Striping Wool

OK, I admit I don't much like this stuff, mostly because I find it beastly boring to knit straight stockinette. I need a pattern to keep me sane! But self-striping wool makes most stitch patterns turn invisible. It dominates 'em.

That said, there are some notable exceptions!

Patterns with a wavy effect, like "fan and feather", "old shale", "chevron", or "ripple" look quite funky in self-striping wool.

Entrelac socks are also good to do with self-striping wool, if you make the individual blocks match the striping rhythm, so each block is a different colour. Similar - and very creative - ideas are shown here, and here (both free patterns from Knitty, one of my favourite websites). For these types of designs, the best type of self-striping wool to use is the type where the stripes of colour are all the same length. Swatch to determine the size of the entrelac squares (or equivalent design module) is required to match the stripe length.

In some of these cases, it makes sense to teach yourself to knit backwards, so you're not constantly flipping your work around as you knit the small repeats. Knitting backwards is not hard. Knitty's got a tutorial, but you don't need the pictures. Really. You can teach yourself. After one pair of entrelac socks, you'll be a pro!

Then, finally, unusual sock architecture is really fun to do with self-striping wool because it can make the unusal knitting directions pop out. This includes sideways socks. Check out the patterns over at Knitty!

Now, when you make self-striping socks, if you want them to be the same, you need to make sure that each ball of wool feeds the same colour sequence to you, at the same time. This means you'll have to make up 2 balls that are identical. Self-striping yarn is seldom wound identically if you buy it from the store in 50gm balls. Rewind!

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