Friday, June 5, 2009

The deep end of the pool


I've been a bad, bad blogger. But I've been knitting up a storm!

I wanted to do a pooling project with my wollmeise yarn (regenbogen/rainbow colourway), and cast it on a few weeks ago. I spent a lovely hour with Barbara Walker's knitting pattern dictionaries, and narrowed it down to a handful of stitch patterns which would work with the stitch count I thought I'd need for this project.


Would you like a closeup shot?


And then it was just knitting and knitting from there, until I'd finished the entire skein of yarn.

It was about 4' when I cast off, and then stretched out to about 6' once it was blocked and pinned.

And here's the glamour shot, with Vancouver's Stanley Park and North Shore mountains as a backdrop.

Would you like the project details and pattern?

Yarn: Wollmeise superwash, Regenbogen (rainbow) colourway, 575 yards

Pattern: Rainbow Arches Pooling Stole (Ravelry project page)

With a US 7 needle, cast on 87 stitches with the "e" or backwards loop cast-on. This cast-on is hard to manipulate for the first knitted row, but is best for maintaining the colour repeat.

Setup rows:
Garter stitch for 4 rows. If you knit like me, make sure you knit these rows loosely because your tension will change when you hit the pattern rows. (I had to start this over 3 times to get the right stitch count once I got to the pattern rows. so don’t worry if you have to do the same.)

Here's the chart for you, and the written pattern follows below. (NOTE: This chart was updated on June 13 because I caught an error in the pattern, and added the purple note.)

Pattern rows: Multiple of 14 stitches – the repeat is between the asterisks below.
Rows 1, 3, 5, 7, 9: K2 * Purl * K2
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10: K2 * yo, k3, ssk, yo, sl 1-k2tog-psso, yo, k2tog, k3, yo, [k1 on all repeats but the final repeat in the row]* K2
Row 11: Knit all
Row 12: K2 *Purl* K2

End with a row 11, and then do garter stitch for 3 rows to parallel your setup rows.

Use the Elizabeth Zimmermann sewn bind-off (loosely!) to keep the colour pooling lined up. If you pull the stitches out too tightly, your colours will start to fall behind the pooling of your stole.

Colour pooling notes
The critical thing here is to figure out how your yarn will pool, and here's a quick way to visualize that possibility.

Here’s the yarn for 3 rows of my stole. If you unwind a couple of loops of your skein, you can zigzag it back and forth on the floor to get an idea of how much yarn one row will use, and how it will pool as you work through the skeins.

Put a safety pin into the "fold," where the yarn will end at one row, and begin the next row, and knit up that row of yarn to figure out how many stitches you'll need with your tension and chosen needles. With my knitting yarn tension and on a US 7, I get around 87-90 stitches for each "line" of Wollmeise. I have to knit very loosely when it's just a knit row, just a little loosely when it's a lace row, and very tightly for my purl rows. (Apparently my purl stitches eat up more yarn than my knit stitches.)

Different handpainted yarns will have different skein lengths, so make sure to wind your yarn out first and do a couple of rows in it to see if you can get it to line up with your stitch count.

And choose a simple lace pattern for your first pooling project. It's hard enough to play with tensioning your yarn as you knit it up — you don't need to be fussing with a tricky lace pattern as well.

Though what I love about this pooling technique is that I'll be able to do lace with highly variegated handpainted yarn — and have the lace work show!

30 comments:

Sue said...

It is stunning.

PurlingPirate said...

This is freaking incredible!!! I love it!!!

Bea said...

I love your shawl/scarf. Its gorgeous. I'm going to try your pooling technique. The last several times I've tried to get pooling, even random pooling (because I actually like it), I've ended up with perfect and pretty stripes with yarn that was not advertised as self striping nor looked it the skein like it should be. It doesn't even matter how many I cast on or what needle size. The stripes come out differently but are still perfectly preserved. Its really rather annoying. I have a skein of yarn that I definitely think I'll try with your method!

Ceels said...

That is a beautiful scarf. I have no suitable pooling yarn at the moment, but I will keep this post in mind for the future. Thanks for the instructions.

Robin said...

Wow! What a gorgeous shawl - I was just contemplating what to do with my new handpainted yarn- now I know- thanks for the inspiration and the pattern and information.

roghblog said...

Thank you, Gladys, for this. I'd been avoiding the idea of varigated lace yarns, but now I'm going to seek some out! I appreciate you laying it all out so clearly. :)

Chris said...

Wow. That is amazingly gorgeous!

loopykd said...

Wow, that's amazing. Thanks for sharing. This is what I love about the internet. Thank you thank you thank you.

Knitcrazy said...

So So Pretty...
Before I saw the name of it
... I was thinking...
" Rainbow in The Sky"

Louisa said...

That is amazing, Gladys! It must have taken incredible concentration to keep the yarn use so even on every row. Personally, I'd dye-paint plain yarn after the fact! But that's because my knitting tension is not so great.

erica bea said...

very nice! thanks for documenting & sharing.

Carrie K said...

Clever idea! And gorgeous execution

thetexturedknitter said...

Thanks for the pooling tutorial! Bookmarking for reference.

FYI, the reason you needed greater tension on purl rows is that purls, the way most of us form them, take more yarn than knits do. In combination knitting, the yarn passes under the tip of the right needle instead of over and around, and purls take up the same amount of yarn as knits. (See www.anniemodesitt.com for more info.)

My INTJ brain loves the idea of this, but my execution is lacking. Transitions from knit to purl, as in ribbing, always make very slanty knit stitches in desperate need of a good blocking. A pooling project sounds like a good time for me to try again, though... tension would be one less thing to worry about.

Aim said...

I'm late to the party, but I LOVE IT! What a great idea, thanks for your pattern and notes. I'm very inspired :)

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! Your projects are incredibly beautiful! I can't wait to give this a try!

Sarah D said...

Wow! I followed your link from Ravelry. This is really cool. I will have to try this some time.

Thank you.

tapmouse said...

Must say it's pretty stinkin'cool! Clever you!

Saffron said...

Thanks so much! I will have to try this!! :)

technikat said...

Thanks for the details. I have some Lorna's Laces yarn I had despaired of ever using. I loved it in the skein but every time I try to knit with it, ugh!
Forcing the pooling will preserve what I loved about the yarn in the first place.

Betty McKnit said...

Wow! What creativity - amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that! The pooling projects are really lovely, I can't wait to try it myself.

Sharon Rose said...

Fantastic! I have just the skein for this... thanks for entering my giveaway!
Needlegrrl aka Sharon

Sharon Rose said...

Looked around the rest of your site - you are a sheer freaking genius. Love the ways you look at color!

MamaLizKnits said...

WOW! Just. WOW! Thank you for sharing this!

Malia said...

You are amazing! You totally saved my scarf from the horrors of bad color striping. I found that if I use a size 13 for the knits and a size 11 for the purls, the tension is almost perfect without having to force myself to knit more tightly or loosely than I would. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Jen said...

Just found your blog through ravelry... what an awesome idea! thanks. :)

Carla said...

i love it!!! this is so fantastic, i love color but am terrified of fair isle, i will definitely try this!!!

a girl from Carolina said...

!!

How wonderfully gorgeous! And very helpful tips.

Glitter said...

This is great, I've been wanting to do lace with variated yarn, and have been to frustrated by the pooling.

anastasiawhite said...

Oh, thank you, thank you! I think I havejust fallen back in love with crazy handpainted yarns!

Cecilia N said...

That's amazingly beautiful and I admire your eager to make it success.

I was showed to this post because I am thinking about the pooling mystery myself, though I am more to want to get the colours in every other row.

CessiN on rav.