Handpainted knitting yarns are gorgeous, and can be a lot of fun to work with. But there always seems to be a bit of danger working with them, particularly when it comes to the fear of color pooling, those strange zigzags, runs and sort of stripes that sometimes happen when working with multicolored yarn.
Carol J. Sulcoski aims to take some of the fear and guesswork out of making socks with these beautiful yarns with her book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn.
Predicting the Unpredictable
Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn begins with a discussion of various methods for hand dyeing yarns, the fibers that are used (most commonly wool) and the broad categories of colors you might find in handpainted yarns. Sulcoski classifies them as mostly solid, muted multis and wild multis, and explains that the more solid and muted colors are best for complex and textured patterns, while the wild colors (and those that have a big range of dark and light values within the skein) are better for simpler projects.
That doesn't mean you have to use Stockinette Stitch on every sock worked in bright colors, just that you need to tone down the details a bit when the yarn is attracting a lot of attention to itself.
She spends a good deal of time explaining what color pooling is, why it might be happening in your work and various things you might do to deal with it (some of which I hadn't thought of before, like simply trying again from a different point in the color repeat).
The book offers 21 patterns and each one indicates which general categories of yarn it works best with, taking some of the guesswork out of pairing up a great looking sock yarn with an effective pattern. The book assumes you know the basics of sock knitting but does include a glossary that illustrates the special cast ons, increases and other skills needed to complete these projects.
The patterns are mostly sized for women and are ideal for people with a few more basic sock patterns under their belts, because these patterns all use some kind of interesting textured stitch or cable pattern, unusual construction techniques or require other skills to keep you on your toes.
Some of my favorites in this lovely collection include Rib Fantastic, a sock using the stitch pattern of the same name that combines zigzag eyelets and Stockinette Stitch; the Goldengrove socks, featuring a trellis lace pattern; the Spot Check Sock, which uses a multi-colored yarn and a more solid yarn in alternating stitches; and the Herringbone Rib Socks, combining a stitch pattern with the look of weaving with columns of purls.
There are a couple of socks knit partially on their sides, which also serves to throw off the color pooling, and lots of other great ideas for interesting and beautiful socks.
If you're a sock fan, and/or a handdyed yarn fan, you're sure to find lots to love and many projects to try in this book.
Publication date: January 2009.