Welcome to adventures in colour-pooling! My interest was revived after I attended a talk in January by Robin Hunter at the Toronto Knitter's Guild on negotiating pooling with hand painted yarns. I've been curious about 'planned pooling' since I read the book Artful Color Mindful Knits, and I've been interest in controlling pooling has been in the back of my mind ever since. The premise is you can measure the colour repeat in a hand painted yarn and predict how it will pool, based on your tension and the number of stitches.
But this story really starts with the the run up to the holidays, when a client, Di, was busy making gifts for her grandchildren. She chose a skein of Cascade 220 Superwash Paints (colour 9914), I gave her a generic hat pattern (Ribbed Watchman's Hat), and she was off. And when she came back, she had a hat with the coolest striped pooling! The patterns had hit the 'magic number', and it looked amazing!
So we tried it in the store. The awesome thing about Cascade 220 Superwash Paints is that the yarn is meticulously and consistently dyed, so all the skeins and colourways will behave in a similar way. We cast on with 4mm/US6 needles and colour 9919, working in the round, and things got interesting .....
The colours kind of stacked, rather than striped. The needle must have been too small, but the result was even cooler than expected!
So we gave it another shot, this time on 4.5mm/US7 needles and colour 9997 (still working in the round, and we worked a couple extra inches to make the hat longer - the first one turned out a bit small). Stripes Ahoy! What a difference half a millimetre makes! I thought I would like the lower contrast colourway (9997), but I think I actually prefer our first knit-speriment.