In the previous post, we showed you how to predict the behavior of your variegated yarn. Now let's look at how you can knit it for the best effect.
If your yarn falls into the first of the three categories we looked at in part one, you don't really need to plan much. These sorts of colorways generally knit up into a beautiful fabric with a unique balance & blend of color, which the eye will perceive as a single color until you get closer.
The exception is when you have skein with a dynamic and complex rainbow of shades-contrasts of different colors or of lights and dark in the skein. In such a case you might want to shy away from complex stitch patterns which are likely to be obscured by the contrast. Make something simple and let the colors speak for themselves. For instance:
(Corset Pullover, design by Robin Melanson, knit here in Codex, 'Sewer Gators')
When using one of our action-packed colorways like the prototype of Madagascan Sunset Moth shown below, the aim is to balance it with pure, simple designs. In general, if you're going to use a variegated colorway by itself, the rule of thumb is, the more contrasting or obviously pooling the color, the simpler the pattern. This sweater is a perfect example -Wild Action Verdant Gryphon Colorway + Pullover Sweater Pattern with ribbed edges = Versatile Garment with Completely Unique & Striking Colored Fabric.
What if you want to combine your variegated colorway with something else? Here we recommend sticking with a solid or semi-solid, which contrasts nicely to all the shades in your variegated skein or else picks up one distinct shade. For instance this lovely shawl Pamuya, as knit by JAAMDKnits:
The highly variegated sections have been effectively striped with semi-solids to reduce the amount of visual action. Also, see the wavy open stitch bits? That's just one of many great stitch patterns to work with pooling yarns, showing off the colors without excessive busyness. Stripes with semi-solids are a great way to handle busy colorways, with or without more complex stitch patterning.
Another wonderful way to pair a variegated with a (semi-)solid is in stranded colorwork, where it can be used to great effect, often with creating a sort of stained glass look. Here's an example using Eidos, the Palais hat by Rebecca Blair:
What if you have a colorway that you're totally in love with, but you think it's going to pool and you just hate that? Is there anything you can do about it? Of course!
There are all sorts of stitch patterns that break up the color repeats so that pooling doesn't show as much. In general, any pattern that has slipped stitches is a good candidate for pooling interruption. For example:
Linen stitch (k1, sl1 in a checker pattern)
Twined knitting (knit alternating stitches from opposite ends of the ball.) You can also do this using two different variegated colorways.
PS Mitts by Melinda Hunt, shown in Eidos
Other slip-stitch patterns
There's an unlimited number of more complex and fascinating slip stitch patterns, such as this one used in Slip-Stitch Cable Socks by Charlene Schurch, knit here by Sistrickt.
There you have just the tip of the iceberg of options for things to do with variegated yarns. Leave a comment & share your ideas, and we'll send you a special gift of our newest pattern-a perfect design for variegated yarn.
flying Vs and furry toes,