Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Self-Patterning Yarn Thoughts

Susan is having a contest to collect ideas for stitch patterns to use with self-patterning yarn. The catch: She doesn't want to spend a lot of time knitting up a stitch pattern that is obliterated by the patterning of the yarn.

This same question comes up at various times on knitting lists and I always read the answers with interest. The responses are few and the new ideas even fewer.

I'm assuming that Susan defines self-patterning yarn as yarn with obvious stripes. A variegated yarn with short color repeats such as Opal Handpainted, Opal Crocodile, or Opal Mosaic is not self-patterning by this definition.

Neither do I consider variegated yarn with long color repeats that pool and spiral as self-patterning.

Here are three basic techniques I use to knit self-patterning yarn socks:

Opal Lollipop sock cuff knit with a wide k7p1 ribbingWide Ribbing
I like to incorporate some kind of ribbing in all my socks so they will cling to the leg and foot instead of bagging.

This Opal Lollipop cuff was knit with a k7,p1 ribbing. The ribbing is almost invisible and makes a big different in the fit.

Let the yarn do the work. These socks were admired and fought over with no fancy stitch pattern.

In order to center the ribbing down the instep, it's necessary to have an uneven number of instep stitches. For a 64 stitch sock, split the stitches 31 for the heel, 33 for the instep. If the heel design requires an even number of stitches, do a M1 in the middle of the first row of the heel.

Opal Magic sock cuff showing wide ribbing with clover leaf lace in the wide striped areaAbbreviated Stitch Pattern
Knitting wide ribbing gets boring, even when the color pattern is pretty.

To make things more interesting, sometimes I work a stitch pattern in the wider stripes of a self-patterning yarn.

Opal Magic has an almost solid 22 row stripe when knit on 64 stitches. I've used it to play with a stitch pattern more than once and have two more skeins of Magic in my stash where I intend to do the same thing.

This Opal Magic cuff has a cloverleaf lace pattern in the wide stripe. Very pretty and feminine when worn. A Picture of the completed pair is here, along with a description of how I divide self-patterning yarn into two balls so the pattern matches.

I'm planning to do the same type of abbreviated stitch pattern work on the new Opal Rodeo collection.

Opal Elements cuff knit using a horizontal, wavy lace patternHorizontal Lace Pattern
A horizontal lace pattern shows the stripes but waves them up and down in curves or peaks.

Old Shale/Feather and Fan in all its varieties, and Fiber Trend's Peak Experience fall in this category.

This Opal Element cuff was knit in a variation of Old Shale/Feather and Fan.

A Picture of the completed pair is here.

The contest entries mostly fall into these three categories. I have nothing new to add to the list, but I'm going to enter anyway.

The prize is a 100g skein of sock yarn. Just what every sock knitter wants most.


Susan said...

Thanks for the tips, Marguerite, and good luck in the contest!

Plain Jane said...

The horizontal lace ones are beautiful. I hope they win for you.

Anonymous said...

I like your wide ribbed sock. I have some regia kicking around that would work nicely with that pattern. When you use 64 stitches, what size needle do you use?

Thanks.......lovely socks!

Marguerite said...

I use Addi Turbo #1s, 2.5mm on 64 stitches with the Opal. That gives me about 8 stitches/inch 10 rows/inch in SS.

The resulting socks fit my female relatives with normal feet. I have narrow feet and usually use 56 stitches for myself.

Looks like you did battle with the Blogger comments?

Blogger has been having server difficulties lately, and we've been suffering with posting problems and comment problems. I apologize for the mess and I've deleted the three duplicate comments Blogger posted from you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marguerite! Your socks are an inspiration! I really like the Old Shale. Are you able to share that pattern? or is it available for purchase?

Anonymous said...

all three ideas are great and i am sitting here thinking that they are such simple solutions that why didn't i think of that?

Anonymous said...

uh, that anonymous comment would be from me. my fingers hit the send button before I could get things filled out.