Join Liz for Project Circle on Friday!
Welcome Liz back to the shop Friday afternoon and Saturday—I’ll be off on a small adventure with Mr. Yarn Folk, as he participates in the White River 50 race near Mt. Rainier. He’ll do the hard part, I’ll provide clean socks and fresh water, and lots and lots of snacks a few times throughout the day—and otherwise hang out and knit and read on a mountain. If I have a cell connection, I’ll post a few #placesyoucanknit photos!
The First Winter Blanket is a free pattern from Malabrigo that uses three skeins of Rios colorblocked in seed stitch and garter stitch to make a cozy little envelope blanket for a sweet babe. Combine any three colors—your imagination is the limit!
Having finished the Foxtrot Cardigan in Malabrigo Washted in Camaleon, a highly variegated colorway, I thought I’d offer a few thoughts on managing hand-dyed yarns in a larger project. All five skeins came from the same bag of yarn, though Malabrigo is moving toward marking tags “no dye lot” to encourage knitters and crocheters to think about blending—especially for the colorways that show lots of variation, even when the dye formula remains the same. If you can imagine swirling food color into a batch of cake frosting (rather than blending it thoroughly for a uniform, consistent color) you’ll get an idea of why no two skeins are going to be precisely the same, even if they were in the same dye pot.
Foxtrot was knit from the top down, increasing until there were enough stitches for the body and both sleeves, then separating the sleeve stitches from the body. After the body and sleeves are complete, the neckline trim is added, and the front bands are knit on in the final step.
My first ball of yarn was nearly enough to complete the knitting through the sleeve divide. BUT, I knew that I’d want to blend into the second skein (split between the sleeves) and the fourth (used for the body. At those points, I alternated skeins for several rows. The sleeves are knit in the round (and I typically work them before knitting the body), so I knit one round with skein one and one round with skein two for several rounds. As I worked the first sleeve, I weighed the yarn periodically, and as I got close to having used half, I began alternating rounds with the next full skein. I repeated the process for the other sleeve. Returning to the body, I alternated every two rows between the first and fourth skeins (since the body is knit back and forth, this kept the skein changes on one side of the work), and then alternated between the fourth and third skeins.
I had reserved the skein that was most different from the others for the neck trim and front bands. As you can see below, the red and pink tones are much more pronounced, but this worked well as an accent.
Working with variegated yarns (and at times, even semi-solid tonals) can require a bit of planning in order to create a cohesive finished item, but the actual techniques involved aren’t difficult. Just think ahead a bit, and be willing to alternate skeins at the transitions!
Knitting with fingering weight yarn and US4 needles is quite a contrast from the super bulky cotton tape yarn I was working with last week! I’m making Breezeway in BFL Sock from Trilogy Yarns, plus a couple of mini skeins for contrast. I picked up these skeins when Nancy was here for a trunk show a few weeks ago, and she’ll be back at the end of October.