Yarn color dominance tutorial and Soldotna update

I didn’t realize I was almost done with the yoke by the time I finished auditioning my color combinations. Now we’re just flying along!

Remember I said that I hadn’t done a proper gauge swatch? Yeah, that. The stated gauge for this project is 5.5 sts/inch. Now that there was plenty of knitting on the needles, I could see that my gauge was varying between 5.5 to 6 stitches/inch, depending on which color work motif I was working. I was bouncing between holding both yarns in my right hand, and holding a color in each hand, depending on the motif, so that also added to my inconsistency.

I’m going to take a moment here to digress about color work yarn management, and yarn color dominance. You can put a color on each side of you, left and right, and pick up and drop each color as needed. Don’t twist them around each other as you work. This is how I teach my beginning color work class. Another option for yarn management is to carry a color in each hand, so you’re knitting continental/picking with one and throwing/English with the other. The third option is to carry two colors in one hand. Here’s how I carry both in my right hand. (I still can’t manage both in my left.) This is an old video, so it doesn’t address color dominance.

Yarn color dominance! For most knitters, the yarn coming from the left is going to be dominant in your knitting. It’s going to show up more because it’s coming from underneath the other color, which makes the stitch a tiny bit taller because it has to travel further to the needle. See how my white stitches look bigger than the green ones on the vertical stripes on the left, and vice versa on the right? So choose which color you want to be dominant in each 2 color section, and be consistent!

Okay, back to the sweater. I hadn’t washed and blocked a swatch, so that’s another level of the unknown. I’m guessing that the 6 sts/inch section (1×1 vertical stripes) will relax a bit when I wash and block the sweater, so that’s fine. If the piece is a little too narrow, I can block it a bit wider. If it’s a little too wide, I can block it a little longer, which will steal a bit from the width. It’s superwash wool, so it can be very stretchy when it’s wet, and I can play with all that. (This is a big experiment on my part; I’ll let you know how it turns out! You’re my companion in this adventure.)

Anyway, I had planned to work the body in just the Iris (light purple) color, but when I started knitting it that way, it was boring. And the fabric was so much lighter in weight than the color work yoke. So I’ve decided to put in the white flecks for interest. But not the dark purple ones, because they barely show up, so it’s not worth that effort. This all means I’ll have more plain Iris stockinette rounds, which is great for multitasking/reading while I knit.

But! When I checked my gauge on the plain stockinette, I was getting 5 sts/inch, which would give me a 44 inch sweater, rather than the desired 40 inch sweater. My options were to either go down a needle size or two, or to refigure the number of stitches in the body. Since I knew my gauge and liked the fabric with my current needles, I opted for THE MATH. Which wasn’t hard.

When dividing for the sleeves, I needed to make sure I ended up with 200 stitches (instead of 220) for the body. I could do this by casting on fewer stitches at underarm (3 instead of 9), and putting a few more of the yoke stitches into the sleeves instead of the body. Done.

Oh, one more thing? The pattern has the beginning of round set at the center back, so there’s a jog there. That’s kind of pleasing, in that it’s very symmetrical. I like symmetry! But I didn’t really like the jog being so visible. So I moved the beginning of the round to be on the back, where the sleeve division occurs. (So from the beginning of round it’s right sleeve, front, left sleeve, back, instead of beginning and ending in the middle of the back.)

The only thing I wish I had done differently would be to put one more plain round between the white flecks. But I’m not going back again.

Test knitter Ann’s Hopscotch

Onward! I’ll keep knitting, but first I need to get ready to publish my Hopscotch Scarf pattern tomorrow. I’m planning a class at Twisted with this pattern to teach syncopated brioche, and that class listing goes live tomorrow. I know what I’m doing this afternoon…

9 responses to “Yarn color dominance tutorial and Soldotna update

  1. Leigh Anne Halpert

    I love the tutorial of the thrower. I’m a thrower and am going to try this method. How do you carry or catch the yarn if you are working with several stitches of the same color? I twist in the back but I believe the tutorial says not to twist.

    • Common rule is that you don’t have to twist/trap the yarns around each other unless you’re going for more than an inch, and I try to design my knits to never go more than that! But I think I’d just stop and twist while using the one hand method. It’s more elegant looking when you do that particular maneuver with two hands, for sure.


  2. Shopping Jam

    For the white fleck you could space them out by doing say 6 repeats with the 2 rows of solid (4 rows to repeat the white over the white-which I think is what you have done here,) but then do 6 repeats of with 4 solid rows between the white secitons, theen move on the 6 repeats with 6 rows between. I think of it as falling snow – lightly on the bottom and heavier as it head to the sky – your yoke

    • Oh, that’s a great idea! I should figure out how many rows total I’m aiming for, and then figure out the gradual change…MORE MATH, but worth it. Right now this is a six round repeat (fleck every third round).


  3. Shopping Jam

    I’m a math teacher – was going to write a longer more details post but figured you’d get the gist and could do the math for the number of rows or not – in fact even if your white ended before the ribbing it would look lovely – I have found it is kind of a fade effect slowly drifting to less and less of the white showing.

    • On the other hand, the variation in the flecks would call attention to them, and if they’re regular they might be more like background noise, which I like. And then I wouldn’t have to think too hard about where I want this sweater to end! I think I’ll only know that by trying it on as I go. It looks really cute cropped on some people. But I’m not sure I can pull off that look…


  4. Love your discussion of the adaptations you make as you are going through a sweater pattern – always neat to see what others do when they are a making something 🙂 Your Soldotna Crop is turning out lovely!

    • So much thinking; it’s hard to just follow a pattern! I may eventually take off the ribbing and make it longer; I’m not sure how long I’ll be happy with the cropped crop look. We shall see!