Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making Socks With Hand-Dyed Yarn

Hand-dyed variegated yarns can sometimes be difficult to use in the context of a knitting project - what looks beautiful in a skein can sometimes become a regretsy of a sweater, if not used properly.   Same goes for multicolored, hand-dyed sock yarn - though crazy-colored socks are easier to "get away with," it is a challenge (at least for me!) to find a pattern that is interesting to knit that doesn't overpower the colors in the skein, and vice versa. 

A few years ago, I designed a sock pattern that was exclusive to the Chewy Spaghetti Sock-of-The-Month Club.  The design challenge?  Come up with something that will minimize undesirable pooling (i.e. large chunks of color collecting in one section of the sock).  There are two things that will almost always accomplish this when knitting with hand-dyed yarns:

1.  Alternating skeins every few rows (not super-practical to do with socks, especially when most sock yarns come in one giant skein - but I've had great success using this technique in the context of sweater-making, especially when I had two different dye lots in the mix!)

2.  Using increases and decreases to create chevrons and ripples.

Needless to say, I opted for #2 in this case!  I am officially re-releasing this pattern, now that a safe two-plus years have passed since it came out as a club exclusive. 

Just the facts, ma'am:

Plumage Socks, $6

Yarn:  320 yards of fingering-weight yarn (model uses Chewy Spaghetti II 100% Merino yarn)
Needles:  US #1 DPNs
Gauge:  28 stitches and 48 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette Stitch

Details:  Top-down sock is sized to fit women's size 8-9; pattern includes written instructions and a chart, if you fancy.

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