Saturday, April 11, 2009

To Pool or Not To Pool: That Is the Question

Now that my shawl book is done and out in the world my knitting thoughts have turned to other things. I'm still knitting like a lunatic but I've developed some new areas of interest. As summer approaches I like to line up projects that are either small, like gloves and other dainty treats, or made of cool fabrics like cotton and silk. A few months ago I discovered an online shop called Yarntopia Treasures and I've become a little obsessed with their yarns. I bought three hanks of their wool/silk which are destined to become gloves but it is their cottons that have me fascinated right now. I bought several hanks of their Cotton Flannel in a colorway called High Tide with the intention of knitting a lacy summer sweater. Other than the bags I made out of Blue Heron's Silk-Rayon Twist, I haven't worked a lot with handpainted yarn. As I worked on my new sweater I noticed something as I knit the back: the colors started to "pool". Pooling is wht knitters call it when too much color starts to build up in one area of a knitted garment. But I LOVED the way this looked.

What I realized was that as long as there were a specific number of stitches on the needles, the yarn would pool in a pattern. As soon as I increased or decreased, the pooling stopped and the normal striping began.

I finished the sweater and then decided I wanted to see what would happen if I forced my knitting to pool on purpose. I had a hank of Cotton Flannel in a colorway called Rose Garden and I started playing with that. In the picture below you can see the ball of yarn, three small squres I knit using the "Domino" technique and then a swatch that I knit deliberately allowing the yarn to pool. I love the way it looks.

So then I wondered what would happen if I used a variety of colorways but continued with the effort to make the yarn pool. I had four hanks of Cotton Chenille from Yarntopia Tresure in (from left to right for the balls in the photo below) Darlene, Arctic Rose, Petals, and Moonbeam. It took quite a few swatches before I hit on the right number of stitches, working on #5 needles, to create the pooling effect. But, once I got it right (37 stitches), the pooling began and, with very little effort, remined consistent.

So, you can see in the picture below what is happening. You can see where I change balls but the pooling continues to paint a rather impressionistic design on the strip. The strip is 10" wide exactly and I knit until it is 72" long. Now, I am experimenting with knitting a second strip in the same width and knitting it on to this strip as I work.

I have no idea where I am going with this but it is fascinting. I'm going to keep going and see what happens. If nothing else, it should make a pretty cotton throw or wrap for summer. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:


    Check out Margaret's April Tip for color scheming. It might interest you!


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