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Subtle

I may have voiced before my general dislike for variegated, space-dyed, hand-painted, crazy yarns, particularly when they're used for anything other than plain stockinette. Remember the famous advice Coco Chanel gave once, about looking in the mirror before you leave and taking off one accessory? I suppose I feel the same way about knitting - lace and texture are good things, but it's a shame when they're hidden by a busy yarn that clamors for attention and takes away from the rightful focus. If you want color, do colorwork. There are patterns, of course, that successfully combine multicolored yarn and other elements (Lady Eleanor, say, or Annie Modesitt's Circular Cocoon jacket), but they do it very deliberately, capitalizing on the way the stitch uses yarn and with a careful eye for the impact of the worked-up colors. When I see people using variegated yarn without any real reason or thought behind it, obscuring an otherwise lovely piece of lace or a nice-looking cable, I alway cringe a little bit.

Which is why loving this came as such a suprise to me.

Because I like my colors either vividly solid or deliberately heathered, I tend to avoid anything marked as "handpainted" or "hand-dyed". It appears that I've been missing out all along - though this is ostensibly a solid color (and a beautiful one at that), it has tiny, barely noticable fluctuations in tone and depth here and there. I'm finding the effect to be quite subtle and very charming; together with the luster of the silk, it makes the thing seem to reflect light even when in shadow. It has unexpected depth, the examining of which is proving to be endlessly interesting - I hope it stays so for the 30% I have left to knit.

Mini-Argyle Stockings

I'm really happy with this final (crossing my fingers) iteration of the pattern - halfway through the decreases toward the ankle, they're still fun to knit. I'm thinking a solid pink heel and toe, and a sole with a narrow green stripe...and if at all possible, I want to squeeze a monogram into the gussets, and provide a letter chart with the pattern for custom socks. We'll see if the math works out - where'd I put my graph paper?

Your Knitting Style Sucks!

It all started innocently enough. Coleen, Laura, Sarah, Amie, Lauren, and I were sitting around two companionably jammed-together tables at Panera, knitting furiously and talking. Someone must have asked a question about something, and Rose jokingly responded with something to the effect of "No, that won't work - your knitting style sucks." I promptly doubled over laughing - knit nights in particular and the blog community as a whole tend to be so supportive, so encouraging, so cultivate-your-own-creativity, so there's-no-wrong-way-to-learn (which I love!), that the contrast was startingly, irresistably funny. Boy, can you imagine? "I knit English, because continental SUCKS!" "My shrug could kick your sweater's ass." "DPNs rool, Magic Loop droolz!"

It would be the start of the apocalypse!

Great ladies, great times - sorry if you couldn't make it last night, but we'll do another one the third Monday of next month, too. Looking forward to it already!

Comments

"DPNs rool, Magic Loop droolz!" I wasn't the one who said it ;).

The argyles are hot. The pink and green are hot. The socks are hot.

I knew I was missing something... that must have been after I left! Nevertheless, it was great to meet you and I look forward to next time! ;)

Great discussion of yarn and color. I love the shawl - it's really gorgeous. And the socks - I'm drooling. I'm glad your knit night was fun and you ladies all survived without anyone getting poked in the eye with a needle ;-)

Loving those argyles! Even though... your knitting style sucks!

Had a great time last night!

I agree about variegated yarns and stitch patterns--most of the time they shouldn't be mixed. Oh sure, the Jaywalker socks going around are ideal in changing yarn colors, and Clapotis looks good with colors . . . but mostly, yes, lace should be solid. Or, what's the point?

But, there is that fine line between subtle variations and outright different colors, where lace and multi-colored yarns can work. The red you're working with is lovely (although the variation is hard to see in the photos). And when I knitted my Peacock Feathers, I did that in variations of Turquoise--just enough for interest, but not so much that it takes away from the pattern. (Shame, too. I loved that Knitpicks Shimmer yarn, but almost all the other colorways are strongly-varied, rather than subtle, so I can't think what else I'd use them for!)

I hear ya about complimenting your yarn to your pattern. My current socks are the last time I say "ah whatever" and mishmash the two at whim (talk about growth!)

Although I do agree with Deb above, in that there are different kind of variegations. My next socks aren't going to be solid, but with subtle changes throughout (similar to your current lovely shawl). I think this will still work with a lacy sort of sock where the pattern itself is the star.

Re: "your knitting style sucks", I am reminded of a quote by the inimitable Harlot: At least we can all agree how very wrong crochet is.

I love the argyles. i love the pink and green. They're fabulous.

Crap. My next socks *ARE* going to be solid with subtle changes throughout. Crap.

Oh! I'm all atwitter, anticipating the clever green stripes! I'm surprised at how much I'm liking these cute little socks.

Aha! But while my knitting style does indeed suck, we cannot "all agree how very wrong crochet is"!

I busted out the hook last night! Today of course, I have changed my mind, and decided to do it the way the pattern calls for after all, but I was going to use my trusty hook to save me!

I agree on the variegated, however, if you aren't experienced enough to knit the argyles or make colour changes throughout, why not use variegated? It adds some variation to simple knits and is an easy way to "spice up" your simple knitting.

Not sure about the comment of CROCHET being ugly? Is that a generalized statement? Knitting can be ugly too...it really depends on what you're doing and not all crochet is ugly.

can't wait to see those finished argyle stockings.

DPNs do rule. I think that they are fast becoming obsolete, tho. I'm scared. I've already come across a few sock patterns that were made for magic loopers and they expected ME to convert the pattern for DPNs. WTF? I'm sorry but that is NOT how things work. I don't know when and where DPNs got such a horrible rep. You, me, Grumperina, and the Yarn Harlot should start a coalition.

i am very much against lace/ cables, etc. with variegated yarn, and yet i knit the rib and cable socks in koigu and it looked great, odd. Still, there has to be at least one exception. Subtle variations are acceptable, however. Wow, am i opinionated? Nope, i just know what i like, right?

I am a dpn lover too - and worry about their demise. I can't wait to get my mitts on the pattern for those socks - so cute!
We once had a lady come up to our knitting group and inform us that she was a "real" knitter - and she wasn't being funny. :(

That kind of very subtle variation is my absolute favorite kind of yarn.

The mini-argyle stockings look great (although I have to admit I wouldn't use either of your colors for something for myself).

Love the socks, Eunny! Can't wait to make a pair for myself.

LOVE the socks-I can't wait for the pattern! Your lace shawl is really beautiful too. Can't wait to see the finished product on both the socks and the shawl!

I agree completely, totally and wholeheartedly about the color/texture thing. I love the very subtle kind of shading that's evident in your silk shawl, though. Sometimes a nearly-solid yarn can be even more effective than a consistently dyed one!

The argyles get better every time I see them. I just love them...

Personally I think we need to have a knit-off. Continental vs. British? Magic Loop vs. DPNs? Oooh. A knitting smackdown. I'll have to work on this. But it was fun last night. And that yarn is yummy enough to eat. Now finish the damn argyles!

Now that would be a good Knitting Olympics event. The Continentals' would cringe at too much purling. The Brits would object to two-color pattern knitting! "She's good on the straightaways with stockinette in the round, but I must say, Dick, her knitting style begins to suck in the cable sections. OOOOH! She split a stitch! That's going to cost her."

i would love a copy of your mini argyle socks pattern. hahaha. it's sooo cute.

Those socks look awesome!

Love the argyle socks!Also the colour combination is beautiful. About variegated yarns, not for me. I have got one in reds as a gift that was much more beautiful as a hank than as a knitting yarn. I think I have seen more beautiful variegated yarns than finished knitted projects. There are the exceptions, but they are few!

I really enjoy your interesting discussions about knitting. I have to say that I usually have the same experience with variegated yarns as your last commententor. They tend to look a lot more beautiful in the skein than after they are knitted up. I usually like traditional knitted garments such as texture work in one color, Fair Isle garments, lace in one color, etc.

As for dpn's, I think they are wonderful and just can't get up the energy to spend any time trying magic loop or knitting on two circs. It seems like a lot of effort to avoid something that gives me pleasure such as knitting on dpn's.

As for crochet, before anyone judges it too harshly, take a look at an antique table cloth sometime like the one my Great Grandmother who was a master crocheter made. It is a very intricate piece done with tiny stitches and it reminds me a lot of the beautiful knitted lacework I often see. However, it is mind-boggling to me to think of her crocheting it using miniscule hooks.

I can't wait to join you guys the next time. After I get through these Olympics, I'm on socks, socks, socks. Hopefully I'll have some that Amie can add to her ticker!!

Magic loop rulez others drool! Lol Eunny yhose arglye socks are awesome. Will you be selling the patt?

"DPNs rool, Magic Loop droolz!" gee, why does that sound familiar? some blogger told me that once...who could it have been?

I always find that the true beauty of a handdyed yarn comes out in a solid colorway, the dyer's techinque and eye for color always shine especially comapared to a boring, machine dyed yarn.

i love those socks man. i just did my first intarsia/fair isle (i did a horrible combo of the two because i'm lazy) and it doesn't look nearly as good as those socks do!

Those socks are sooo cute!

I love all yarn, variegated or solid. But I agree that yarn needs to be paired with the right pattern.

Can I join the coalition, too, even though I am an unknown, non-bloggin, commenter? I love DPN's and dislike variegated lace. Woo-hoo, kindred spirits!! I gave in and tried socks on two circs a couple of weeks ago. Sorry, two-circ lovers. I fled back to my DPN's after a few hours of hatin' the process. Although I agree that a little bit of color variation can be beautiful in lace, I'm with Deb on KnitPicks Shimmer. Please, folks, give me solid laceweight, and lots of it!! And a few mores solid fingering, too. Don't worry, dyers, I'll keep using variegated for stockinette.

I come back to check on the discussion on variegated yarn and it looks like I ruffled some feathers with my crochet comment. LOL... I guess I forgot to put a ;) to make sure people knew I was totally kidding. And besides, the Harlot said it, not me! *points fingers frantically*

I enjoy your blog -- have never commented before here -- but got a laugh out of the "your knitting style" comment.
And an even bigger laugh out of the fact that some knitting friends and I knit at Panera in Indiana too!
It is a small world!

I think that handyed soilds make the BEST lace. The slight variations in tone really ad depth to the lace while still being subtle enough not to be noted as 'varigated'. It gives the patterns lowlights and highlights.

I've started kettle dying lace yarns myself since I like the look so much.

uh-huh...the handdyed/handpainted does not always do justice to certain projects and vice versa but each has earned their places. for handdyed lace that knits up variegated: depending on how the variegation works out for the pattern chosen, it can actually be quite charming.
handdyed in very short repeats actually lend itself quite well to laces - see 'lavish laces'.

some subtle changes makes the piece look 'less flat' and that's common with handdyed silk. it also adds to the pleasure of knitting as the 'depth' comes alive as the piece grow.not to mention the sheen which adds to the diff.

see clapotis using handdyed lace http://alianneknits.blogspot.com

glad you found a new knitting perspective! enjoy your handdyed silk!;)

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