05 November 2010

When Less is More

The Whole Nine Yarns has a sock guild. This is a sock club that meets once a month for social time and for education. Each month is a different, exclusive sock pattern and hand-dyed sock yarn to go with that pattern. It is a very cool idea and has proven to be a good way for sock knitters to try different techniques. Some socks are knit toe up, some top down, some lace, some texture, some cables. For January, JennaB the Yarn Pimp designed a sock with beautiful cabled Saxon Braid cuffs knit sideways. I'll get to that in a couple paragraphs. First, I want to draw your attention to the yarn.Yup, that's it. It really doesn't look like all that much, does it? It is mostly still the same undyed white. There is a little bit of pale grey at each end, and some pale rusty orange in the middle. When it first showed up in the shop, I noticed it for how quiet it is compared to some of the complicated sock guild yarns.

This is a yarn you have to knit up to understand. JennaB wanted it simple because she wanted the cables to show. A complex yarn would have hid the patterning rather than showing off the knitting skill. But the little bits of subtle color make this yarn look like white marble when worked in stockinette! So when you see a "simple" yarn in your local shop -- or if you dye your own yarn -- remember that sometimes less really is more. And when paired with the proper design and project, less can be fabulous!And speaking of fabulous --
I'm hoping to debut this new technique at the shop sometime in January. I've shown it around to a few savvy knitters, and none of them could recall seeing it in print. My guess is that it probably is in print somewhere, but that it is very obscure. This is a solution I worked out for myself. Already knowing double knitting will be a prerequisite. On this blog I usually tell what I did, but I'm going to keep this one to myself for a little while longer. I will give you a hint -- no purling was involved. The objects are sock cuffs, as I wanted to be able to turn the cuffs up or down. I'll be teaching toe up socks later this month, so I plan to work two socks at the same time until I'm nearly out of yarn. Then I'll graft the last row to the i-cord edging on the cuffs. This technique would be wonderful for band trims on a coat, hood, or blanket.

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