Win a Copy of “Self-Striping Yarn Studio”
Several years ago I was so honored when Carol Sulcoski asked me if I wanted to contribute to the next book in her “Yarn Studio” series, Lace Yarn Studio. The book was a wonderful exploration of all the things you never knew you could do with lace weight yarn. So, I was soooo excited when she asked me to contribute again for her newest in the series, Self-Striping Yarn Studio, that I had to share it with all of you!
Self Striping Yarn Studio Giveaway
I thought it would be fun to hear from the author herself. Read and get excited, then scroll to the bottom of the page for the raffle entry!
Q: Can you clear up for our readers the difference between the larger category of color changing yarns, versus variegated, self stripers, mottled . . . break it down for us.
Newbie knitters have a tendency to lump all multicolored yarns together into a single group. But it’s important to realize that yarns with different kinds of color effects behave differently on the needles, and will look very different in your finished product. You also will have slightly different potential trouble spots when working with different types of yarns.
I have a passion for what most people call handpainted yarns—yarns where the color is applied to the skein by hand rather than machine. Every dyer has her own method of applying yarn to color, but regardless of how the dye is applied (brushed on, poured on, dipped into, kettle dyed) you tend to end up with a strand of yarn that has relatively small segments of color that change quickly. These kinds of multicolored handpainted yarns will not create true stripes or specfic patterns—although you may end up with areas of yarn that have pooling, places where colors mass and form unusual ares of splotching, zigzagging and so on.
Multicolored yarns that are machine-dyed to have small segments of color, sometimes called “space-dyed” or simply “variegated,” will also not create true stripes or designated patterns. They’ll behave similarly to the handpainted yarns described above, although the color segments may be more regular rather than random.
A true self-striping yarn has longer segments of color, long enough for the color to last for one or more rows or rounds. Instead of small areas of color, you get true stripes. Usually striping yarns are labeled that way because they can be more labor-intensive to create.
Ingenious textile engineers have also figured out ways to dye yarn so that, if knit up at the proper gauge and width/circumference, the yarn will create very specific patterns: checkerboards, fair isle-like patterns, jacquard and so on. These yarns are also usually labeled as “self-patterning” since they, too, are more labor intensive to create.
EDITORS NOTE: If you want to see some of Carol’s stunning hand dyed yarn, check out her Black Bunny Fibers store
Q: What’s your favorite use of color changing yarn?
One thing that I love to use self-striping yarns for is “faux isle,” using one solid color along with one striper in order to get stranded patterns that don’t require constantly changing balls of yarn. It’s economical, because you only have to buy one solid yarn and one striper, instead of one solid and four or more contrast colors. It’s easy, because you don’t have to weave in a lot of ends when you’re done. If you’re tentative about selecting colors that go together, it’s also nice to have that done for you. I love your Faux Isle Tam and Wristers from the book – they show how lovely the effect is when you use one solid (the blue) with a stripers that changes from pink to yellow to purple and so on.
I also really love just knitting stockinette stitch with self-stripers. The way the colors change hypnotizes me and it’s a very relaxing, comforting project, just sitting back and letting the yarn do the work.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you can give a knitter when using color changing yarn?
Make sure you take a good look at the kind of yarn used in the pattern, and think about how your yarn choice compares to that, and what effect your choice will have on the finished project. If the project uses a striper that is knit up on a tonal palette—light gray, medium gray, charcoal, black—that will create one type of look, while a bright palette—red, orange, purple, hot pink, chartreuse—will create an entirely different look. Some stripers create thick stripes, while others create thin stripes; this, too, can affect the finished look of the garment. If you’re looking at a pattern that doesn’t use a self-striper, think hard about whether adding those changes in color will affect the overall look. A highly-textured stitch pattern may get drowned out by the color changes of a striper, especially a very wildly-colored striper; a simpler pattern, however, may look fabulous in those wild colors because then the color changes can be the star of the show.
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