On Gauge and Handpainted Yarns and the Self-Imposed Sock Club

Handpainted or variegated yarns are tricksy devils. They look so so so pretty in the skein. Start knitting with them, though, and who knows what may come out. Pooling, flashing, striping, it’s a toss up.

When I started working with my Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the Nemesis pattern for August’s self-imposed sock club, I was knitting the sock on size 1s and it started out striping.


Super cool, right? I had sort of hoped for the lightning-style flashing one sometimes sees with handpainted. “He Who Must Not Be Named” (colorway for the yarn), Nemesis, lightning… it would have been perfect. But I was in love with the striping, too.

The foot started doing something different. Even though I had the same stitch count, alternating between the garter rib and the stockinette sole yielded a different result in the way the yarn was knitting up. Rather than breaking up the colors over the stripes, the colors started to stack on top of one another, with enough of an off-set so that they spiraled down the foot.


That first sock fits, but it’s really snug and if I was a truly committed knitter, I’d probably rip it out and re-knit it on a larger needle, but I’m kind of burnt out (more on that in a bit). For the second sock, I thought I was casting on to a US 1.5 circular needle. Discovered yesterday that it’s actually a size 2, so this one’s probably going to turn out a bit big. The interesting thing is that it’s resulting it yet another pattern—still striping, just in thicker stripes, which makes the black sections stand out even more.


I know I’ve talked about how I’m not loving the self-imposed sock club. I feel like I have to be knitting socks all the time, and while I enjoy knitting socks, I really hate feeling like I have to do something. Like I should feel “bad” if I’m not knitting on my socks. And I know that feeling is entirely my own. So it’s entirely my own decision as to what happens from here on out. I hate to give up on a goal when I’m so close to finishing, so my plan for September is to knit the French Press Slippers. They’re a) footwear, b) three skeins of worsted weight held together and then felted, and c) something I’ve been wanting for bumming around my wood floors. Ideally these will be pretty quick, and then I can spend September concentrating on a few other gift projects I’ve got in the works or on the back burner.

I hope your weekend was more restful than mine! Anyone want a cat? She’s taken to “chiming” almost on the hour, like a small fuzzy grandfather clock. I’m sure this is useful in some circles.


9 thoughts on “On Gauge and Handpainted Yarns and the Self-Imposed Sock Club

  1. I’m sure there are many applications for a feline grandfather clock, though I’m not sure what I would do with one. My own furred chronometer has taken to waking me up around 3AM bearing gifts of small rodent carcasses….

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