Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pooling ~ A Knit Term Using Variegated Yarn

We’ve been discussing on the Sock Knitters Yahoo list, the possibility of your variegated knit yarn pooling patterns in your work and not striping as you'd like or expected it to do. This was a completely new term to me and I had no idea what they were talking about untill I read on. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! That’s what happened to my “Ugly Socks” shown in a previous post.

Knit Pooled Variegated Yarn Socks

They’re not ugly, they pooled! Or the yarn did. Was I relieved to know this is a common occurrence? No! Was I going to frog the socks and start over? Heck NO! I now love my socks. I can do that, I made them! Does knowing what the problem is make it ok? OK? YES! It happens.

Does that make my socks ugly or beautiful? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? I’ve gotten a few comments, which you can go back and read, from other knitters that think they’re not ugly. That was so nice to hear. I was the one that said they were ugly and no one else thought so. Makes me feel better.

Ok, enough about my ugly, not-so-ugly, or whatever socks. Have you ever heard of pooling before? I must be living on another planet because it sure was new to me and I’ve been knitting for years. I bet it’s because of the unlimited information on the Internet these days that we didn't have before. Whatever it is, I’m glad I learned about it now.

Do we even know what pooling really is? I bet there’s a lot of knitters that don’t know besides me. You can Google the word and see for yourself……..or…….check out my previous post to see my “pooled” socks. What should have bothered me more than my socks turning out two different sizes is the fact that they didn't stripe. I wanted striped socks. One thing I really hate is when it goes back and forth from stripes to pooling and then back again. Ever happen to you?

Pooling doesn’t happen only with expensive hand dyed yarns. It can and did happen to me using manufactured acrylic blend yarn I didn’t pay a bundle for! I've made afghans and sweaters with variegated yarns in the past. I look at it this way, knitting is an exciting art and it’s a wonderful surprise when things happen. Isn’t it? This, of course, can happen to anything your knitting with any variegated yarns. Sometimes they come out as a disappointment. Maybe they start out with a lovely pooling affect you really like but then as you do the decreasing or maybe do a sleeve, things change and they can change quite a bit. And don't you just hate it when the body of a sweater pools nicely and then the sleeves look all together different?

I can hear the questions now. How can this be avoided? Let me tell you there’s a few ways mentioned in the Sock Knitters Yahoo list but there’s no guarantees. Some say to change the gauge slightly or change the knit stitch but your knitting project can start out great and it can always change in a stitch or row and start pooling. You could always tell everyone you meant to knit it up that way. You could. After all it's your artistic license and you're the designer. I don’t like taking a chance that my project will stripe, so I think I’ll stay away from variegated yarns for awhile. Doesn’t this sound like gambling?

Have you ever heard of flashing? No, not that kind. I mean in knitting. That’s just another look or pattern that pooling causes. To flash or not to flash. Is that really the question? Oh my, just learned there’s also a yarn out there that is supposed to create dots! Is that really true? Anyone.

So have we covered the perils of pooling enough? If you like it you like it; if you hate it, you hate it. If I expect to get striped socks and I don’t, I’m very disappointed and don’t like it but I’ll be darned if I’ll frog it.

Oh oh, just learned of another one! Called puddling! Is that the dots? Ok, now I know variegated yarns will not be used by me untill I learn more about using them. Who would have thought it was so complicated!? The sad thing is that we don’t usually figure all this out till we’ve knitted quite a bit.

Happy knitting!!

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Annie said...

I don't knit socks, but I love the surprises that come when knitting with multi-colored yarns. The same kinds of surprises I get when cross-stitching with multi-colored floss.

I like to go with the flow.

Knit and Crochet Pattern Chat said...

Annie, Yes it can be a nice surprise but sometimes a disappointment, too. Something a person just has to get over, I guess. I actually picked up some variegated last night to add to my project and because it was just a few rows, it turned out he way I wanted. Maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist but when I picture something in my mind and it doesn't turn out that way I try to move on to another yarn. Guess I roll with the flow in that respect. Thanks for the comments.