Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Swirling and Twirling and Fading Out

Allow me to talk about my Agate Socks before they are finished, paraded, and then dismissed from this blog forever. Last time I mentioned them, it was to say that I had to completely rip them back. I did so with much bravery and forbearance. And we are both much better for having done so.

I changed the way I do my short row toes, and I get a much rounder toe, which I like a lot:
The pointier toes fit well enough because knitting is stretchy and forgiving for the most part. But off the foot, they look rather anti-anatomical.

The other thing to note on the picture above is the delightful swirly pattern I was getting on the sock. The first version just had random thin stripes and was rather boring. When I started over, I increased the number of stitches and apparently hit just the right number for a candy cane effect. Until it wasn't:
This is the next section of the sock, right above the swirls, with the same number of stitches. Boring thin stripes again. This confused me for a while because if a certain number of stitches produces a pattern with a set dye pattern, then it should continue. Until it struck me that the dye pattern was changing.

You may recall that this yarn came wrapped on a spool, two strands together, and it was dyed that way so the two strands would be identical. Well wrapping out from a central core makes each pass around longer. And if you dyed a quarter of the circle red and a quarter orange, etc, each part of the "quarter" was shorter in the center and longer on the outside. And this all meant that even if you found a perfect pattern for some part of the skein, it wouldn't work later in the skein. And then I stopped worrying about it. (But it was nice to know why.)

Continuing up the sock, when I started to do the gusset increases, the pattern changed again:
and this is where it most resembles the agate pattern promised by the picture on the label.

Through the heel it was all stripey again, and above the heel, I got some aggressive flashing:
From there the sock went into some stripes again, and then a little more flashing before muddying up in the ribbing:
At the top layer of flashing and into the ribbing, you can really see that the dye had exhausted itself before getting into that part of the skein. The rest of the colours are so great, it really is a shame that they fade into this drabbiness. ... I just spent some time looking for the previous post where I talked about this so I could link to it, and it looks like I haven't talked about this yet. Well, let me get started! ...

My original plan--a set up to knit directly from the spool,
knitting the socks two at time. I could use both strands
at once and not have to re-skein the yarn.
When I frogged these socks because they didn't fit, I had to give up on my plan to knit from the spool, knitting up both strands at the same time. I had way too much raveled yarn to be able to deal with that.

So I wound them into two balls, like you were supposed to do. This meant I got to the inside of the spool for the first time, and I discovered that the dye did not get that far--the center of the ball was barely dyed at all. It's a yucky grey non-colour. Very disappointing.

You can see here the different between the "outside" and the "inside" of the ball:
 I know it looks like there's a big bright light on the right, but that's just the yarn fading out.

Here's a shot of the two skeins, wrapped in opposite directions so that one has the dye on the outside, and one on the inside:
What a difference, eh?

Although I made a point to comment about the yarn on its Ravelry page (I've heard nothing back from its makers), I've put on my perspectacles and am aware of and content with the fact that this is not really a big deal. With the colour fading out as it makes it way to the cuff, there's a really, really small chance that anyone will ever notice.

Of course, if I only did things so that people would notice, I wouldn't be making socks, now would I?

You can tell from the last sock picture, that I am very close to being done. When I got my Mock Monkey socks done, these ones graduated to the car and became my main "travel knitting." They've had a lot of attention on the way to church, at small group, etc, and are just about finished. They fit perfectly now, by the way, so I am really looking forward to wearing them.

And then Troy's Anniversary socks can move into their place. I feel bad that I haven't worked on them since our trip. (!!) Part of the problem was that he had to try them on, and to do that I had to take the stitches off the needles and put them onto a piece of yarn. But we've taken care of that, they fit great and now I am set to continue knitting them (once I get this pair done).


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