The Road to Handpainted Happiness
Before You Start 7
About Multicolored Yarns 7
Class by Color 12
Two More Color Tips 14
Color Me Confident 16
Pooling Be Gone! 21
Longbourn Socks Kristi Schueler 28
Zigzag Lace Anklets Pam Grushkin 32
Punctuated Rib Socks Ann Budd 36
Staccato Socks Véronik Avery 40
Copper Penny Socks Nancy Bush 44
Color Collision Socks Chrissy Gardiner 48
Split-Toe Sweethearts Priscilla Gibson-Roberts 52
Whirlpool Socks Laura Nelkin 58
Herringbone Rib Socks Kristi Schueler 62
Schooner Socks Charlene Schurch 66
Corrugated Stripe Socks Courtney Kelley 70
Flame Thrower Socks Lorna Miser 74
Chevvy Socks Jody Pirrello 78
Spot Check Socks Beth Parrott 84
Potpourri Socks Deb Barnhill 88
Spread Spectrum Socks Kristi Schueler 94
Braided Gems Socks Elizabeth Ravenwood 96
Escher Socks Lorna Miser 100
Goldengrove Socks Mindy Soucek 104
Rib Fantastic Socks Barb Brown 108
Switcheroo Socks Carol J. Sulcoski 112
The Road to Handpainted Happiness
Yet as much as we love handpainted yarns, they may frustrate us, too How many times have you started knitting a sock with a skein of handpainted yarn that you love, only to rip it out in disappointment because it just doesn’t look the way you hoped it would? Maybe the colors looked great in the hank but not so good knitted up Maybe the colors formed displeasing patterns, zigzagging or swirling or making irregular blotches Maybe the stitch pattern you were working so hard to perfect was drowned out by multiple colors fighting for attention.
This book is for every knitter who has eagerly started a pair of socks in handpainted yarn, then wanted to rip them out in dissatisfaction Start by learning more about handpainted yarns, including how to predict their behavior and how to avoid undesirable color effects like pooling Once you thoroughly understand the way handpainted yarns work, dive in and knit one of the twenty-one sock patterns with a surer sense of how to select the right pattern for the specific yarn you’re using Before you know it, you’ll have a wardrobe of beautiful, unique socks that are as fun and satisfying to knit as they are to wear.
Before You Start
This book assumes that you already know how to knit a basic sock. Although the vast majority of the patterns are written for double-pointed needles, you can, of course, use other techniques (like two circular needles or one long circular needle) if you wish. If you haven’t yet knitted a sock, take a class at your local yarn shop, get a knitting friend to teach you how, or consult a reference like Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd to learn the basics.
These resources can also help you adapt patterns written for double-pointed needles for use with other types of needles. The focus here is on the yarn: understanding handpaints and why they behave the way they do when knit into socks.
Most sock yarns are fingering weight, knitting at around 7 to 8 stitches per inch (Super Fine #1, in the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Weight System; see below), so most of the patterns in this book are written for yarn at this gauge.
Finally, it bears repeating that hand-dyed yarns are by their very nature unique. Different dyelots of the same colorway can look remarkably different; even different skeins within the same dyelot can look more like fraternal than identical twins. Even if you purchase one of the yarns used for the samples in this book in the same colorway shown, realize that your skein may not look exactly the same as the photograph. Embrace the individuality of the yarn, rather than worrying too much about having it “match.”
About Multicolored Yarns
Space-dyed, hand-dyed, handpainted, nearly solid—you’ve probably heard all these terms and more when browsing for yarn. What do these terms mean? And do any of those distinctions matter when all you want to do is knit a goodlooking pair of socks?
You bet. Learning a bit of background about multicolored sock yarns can pay big dividends when it comes time to select them for your sock projects. So let’s start with some basics.
Hand-Dyed vs Machine-Dyed Yarns
It’s a completely obvious point, but one worth making: some yarns are dyed by hand, while others are dyed by machine. Hey, you’re saying, this is a book about handdyed yarns, right? So why are we even talking about machine-dyed yarns?
Well, it sometimes isn’t easy to tell the difference between yarns that are hand-dyed and yarns dyed by machine. Yarn companies can produce machine-dyed yarns that closely resemble handpaints. Using a mechanized process called space-dyeing, different colors of dye are applied along the strands of yarn at regular or semi-regular intervals. The space-dyeing process produces a multicolored yarn that can resemble the variegated hues of your favorite handpaints. Why choose space-dyed, as opposed to hand-dyed, yarns? Cost is one reason: because the dye is applied by machines rather than artisans, space-dyed yarns are often (though not always) cheaper than hand-dyed yarns. If you’re on a budget, you may be able to achieve a similar look to handpainted yarn at a lower price by opting for a space-dyed yarn.
Another reason is consistency. Because space-dyed yarns are produced by a machine rather than a human, they may tend to be more consistent or uniform in their colors and color patterns. (This isn’t always true; as many knitters can tell you to their sorrow, even solid-colored yarns can vary a great deal between dyelots, and multicolored yarns, which use more colors, present greater opportunity for color variation.) As a general rule, handdyed yarns tend to show much greater variation in the colors they use and in the way dye is applied to the yarn, creating greater differences among colorways and dyelots. If that kind of unpredictability stresses you out rather than exhilarates you, you may enjoy working with space-dyed yarns that aren’t quite so idiosyncratic.
Of course, the same thing that makes handpaints so unpredictable is, for many people, the thrill of working with them: no two skeins are exactly alike, and even two socks knit in the same pattern from the same dyelot of the same yarn may turn out looking dramatically different. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be one or the other: you can fall in love with space-dyed and hand-dyed yarns, and the patterns and techniques in this book will help you have fun with both.