Multi-colored Yarns: Simpler Is Better

Filed in Skill Building by on August 8, 2013 5 Comments

Stitch Patterns for Variegated Yarns

As folks begin thinking about stitch patterns for their FLY Skirt KAL projects I wanted to provide some thoughts on the subject. Because FLY stands for From Leftover Yarn, these projects will be using lots of different yarns in two similar color groups. Because of this, there is an opportunity to get a stripe effect, which most folks tend to shy away from, particularly around their hip area.

The trick to working successfully with yarns that tend to stripe is to use patterns that are knit/purl combinations. The best solution is to use simple stitch patterns for variegated yarns. The above photo shows several simple knit/purl patterns worked in a bright hand dyed yarn. When left to its own tendencies this yarn will create very obvious, serious stripes.But although there is some appearance of stripes in the swatch above, the stripes are not obvious.

The trick is to use very simple patterns. Each of the pattern represented can be easily memorized and easy to maintain when increasing or decreasing.  The largest of the four patterns is 4 stitches wide and the tallest is 6 rows high.

In plain knitting it becomes much easier to see what the stitch patterns are and the texture become more pronounced. In the “wild” yarn, the texture is somewhat lost, but the texture is what breaks up what would be very strong stripes.  The patterns are as follows starting at the top left and working around clock-wise (directions given for working in the round):

Seed Stitch (multiple of 2):
Rnd 1: *k1, p1; rep from *.
Rnd 2: *p1, k1; rep from *.

Triple Tall Seed (multiple of 2):
Rnd 1 – 3: *k1, p1; rep from *.
Rnd 4 – 6: *p1, k1; rep from *.

Staggered Seed (multiple of 2):
Rnd 1: *k1, p1; rep from *.
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: *p1, k1; rep from *.
Rnd 4: Knit. 

Double Moss (multiple of 4):
Rnd 1 – 2: *k2, p2; rep from *.
Rnd 3 – 4: *p2, k2; rep from *.

I have long been a fan of the “simpler is better” philosophy. Although I can appreciate the beauty of an intricate lace pattern or the meandering twists of a complicated cable, not every project needs to be complex.  Particularly when working on skirts, a nice basic, overall pattern often creates the perfect fabric. And this is especially true when the yarn has a lot going on!

So what are your favorite simple stitch patterns for variegated yarns? And which one(s) are you going to try for your skirt fabric?

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  1. Lynne Phelps says:

    What a great post! I am going to reevaluate self-striping yarn, I love the look and texture. Great photographs!

  2. Mary Leatherman says:

    Thank you for the post and photos. Now I know what to do with my “art yarn” that I love to look at.
    Sincerely,
    Mary from the Oregon wine country.

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