At first this is surprising because we tend to think we are working horizontal bands of colours, forming stripes. However, what we are actually knitting is a series of spirals.
I had recently received some wonderful kettle-dyed yarns from Knit Picks, their Stroll Tonal yarn. The photo at the top shows three balls of this yarn and what is perhaps surprising is that they are all from the same dye-lot.
They are all beautiful colours in themselves and with a wonderful depth and interest resulting from kettle-dyeing the yarn. However if I made a pair of socks, one with one ball, the second with another and the third ball being used as a back-up if I ran out of yarn along the way, then each sock would be very different.
One would be a glorious dark burgundy colour, with hardly a lighter patch in it. The other would have bright sparks of colour almost verging on light pink. Basically the socks would not look like a matched pair.
This technique also has another advantage and that is to break up the pooling or "Zebra-striping" that often occurs when using hand-dyed yarns. This is where splodges of colour end up in the same location round after round. Using several balls of yarn in the same round interrupts this unwanted patterning and lets the beauty of the yarn shine through. And of course, this could be useful not just for socks but in any garment where you are seeing this effect.
I will post more details about this new pattern, the Mentmore Socks, next time but if you'd like to read more now then please click here.
Until next time – Happy Sock Knitting!