Friday, April 27, 2012

Using Slow-Striping Yarns

 I have plenty of leftovers from the Zzzap shawl I just finished, this is Zauberball from Schoppel. It's a self-striping sock yarn with slow colour variations, and doesn't repeat the same colours. This yarn is similar to Knitpicks Chroma, Regia Hand-Dye Effect, or, for non-nylon fingering weight yarns, Jojoland Melody or Kauni Effekt.

I really, really love this yarn. It's not cheap at all, but knits up wonderfully if you like wild socks. Your two socks will not be the same, that is guaranteed!! If you want your socks to be identical, this is not the type of yarn for you; at least, not for socks. The repeats of the colours are too unpredictable to get symmetry to happen.

Here's a pair of (non-matching) socks I just finished for my youngest son (14). He's rather adventurous when it comes to socks!

[springtime stripes! Colourway 1564 in Zauberball Crazy.]

The pattern is my own "toe-up, two-at-a-time" template, with minor modifications:
- simple 2x2 rib throughout
- decrease line on heel is P3Tog
- yarn is quite thin so I went to 1.75mm circ and used 84 sts all around

If you knit the zauberball right off the skein you will not get stripes like this. The stripes will be wider and the colours will flow more gradually (the toes of the socks are more indicative of how the yarn colours flow when left to itself).

To get the sharper colour delineation shown in these socks, you need to knit from two balls at once, alternating each stripe from a different ball. For the best effect, pick two balls with maximum contrast. As you can see from the pictures below, I had more success on one sock than on the other. But that's part of the charm, I think!

Alternatively, you can knit from both ends of a center-pull ball.

Or, you can use leftovers for the stripes, which is what I did at least some of the time for these.

[wild 'n crazy]

On Ravelry you can find some stunning examples of colourwork done with this type of yarn (for example: here, here,  here, here, or here). Personally, I think the best results are to be had with the "rainbow" colour schemes, where you have lots of different and strongly contrasting colours on the ball, so you don't end up with stripes that are too close together in colour (like kinda happened on my one sock, thanks to the fact that I was trying to use up leftovers...).

I still have 100g left over so I will be making at least one more pair of these socks!


  1. Hi, Reena! Just happened (most fortunately) upon your blog and I know I'm going to be spending some time here. I just did purchase a ball of Schoppel Zauberbal Crazy in 1537 (I think) and I'm reading some conflicting feedback about it. One person on Ravelry said there was a sign at the wool display that cautioned not to use the yarn "inside out" but to knit from the outside of the ball to avoid stretching, mostly. Other people complained about the stripes, but I love the random so should be no problem. I guess since I'll only have one ball for a pair of socks that I won't be able to get mine to look like yours this time out. I'm looking to love this yarn and I'm so glad to see it's a favorite of yours, as well! Thanks for your blogs!

  2. That is fascinating! I wonder how Zauberball is different from Kauni Effekts.