Saturday, 16 January 2010

doing laps

So, variegated yarns - like them or not? In the hank I often think that they look wonderful and (along perhaps with many a knitter) have been lured into a purchase as a result. Once wound up into a skein some of that mystique tends to disappear as the colours get all tangled up, and you discover some colours that, ah, you didn't quite realise were in there. Is it something about the magic of the dye job that in the hank you only see the colours that you like, and can selectively ignore the ones that make them pop out (which you may not necessarily appreciate as much)? And once it's knit up into a fabric ... well then things can start to not look so good.

The only other time I have really knit with a variegated yarn was the Elizabeth Zimmerman tomten jacket in 2008 from Noro Kureyon, which was a great success. That was knit in garter stitch and I recall deciding at the time that garter stitch was indeed the best choice for such yarns. And here I am now knitting Clapotis which is a whole lot of stocking stitch. I am undecided as to whether it looks like a dog's breakfast, and if it does, whether I can live with that. The dropped stitch effect certainly serves to break up the swathes of colour and it is fun to watch the various hues layering upon each other, row by row. Except when they don't.

Don't layer that is - yes, I'm talking about pooling.

It strikes me that in a reasonably evenly space-dyed yarn that it is inevitable that there will be some combination of stitch count and length of colour repeat that will result in pooling. I have seen quite dramatic photos of seriously pooling socks (no, no idea now where) that were reknit with just an extra stitch or two that resulted in quite a different pattern effect. Anyway, my Clapotis is indeed pooling although interestingly this didn't happen until quite a bit into the current 119 stitch-wide stretch. And I'm about to change skeins. And in the Clapotis pattern I really don't think that it matters as the bias pull means that the columns all sit askew anyway.

So, I am currently knitting laps on my Clapotis, just back and forth with not a lot of variation on each row. I'm doing the sixth repeat in section three and expect to have enough yarn to complete maybe twenty. I am also doing laps around the house - change table to couch to kitchen to laundry and back to the change table. There's a quick detour to the bathroom a few times a day and we are getting out a bit too.

Doing laps is relentless though - I had forgotten how relentless it is to look after a new baby. You get through a day only to wake up again (after a few short bursts of sleep) to another in which you do pretty much exactly the same thing. And newborns are demanding and fragile and as much as I want my baby boy to be just that I also find myself longing for when he's a bit older. Really, I think that I'm just longing for a break from the laps but I know that things don't work that way. So in the meantime I am just learning to love the laps, surrendering myself to them and perfecting the art of knitting while breastfeeding (better than knitting while swimming).


Maiden Jane said...

Surrender to them. Every time I whine about it my friends point out the pooling and I don't really notice it in THEIR knitting.

Moorecat said...

I never got the hang of knitting while breastfeeding. Correction: my kids never got the hang of it. They were always trying to look over their shoulder to see what fascinating movement was going on behind their heads - often while still latched on to me.


shandy said...

That is really very pretty. I never understand how some yarns give evenly spaced mottles of different colours - or how you would know beforehand that they would do this.

Di said...

The dropped stitches will break it up quite a bit once you're done! Good luck with the laps. You're reminding me I'm trying to get back into swimming..
You've also reminded me how my sense of time changed with a newborn! Before you know it, all the day/nights will have morphed into a few months, and you may find yourself wishing he wasn't growing up so fast...
Take care

Moorecat said...

Hi Amelia -

Seen this?

Still the Evil Enabler - world-wide :)