Sunday, March 17, 2013

Colours of a rainbow

It's no secret that I love colour and rainbows. And orange.
I've been thinking more about colours I live with, work with, and wear - thanks to Annie Bee's colour riot series.
There are a lot of colours I knit, spin, buy, wear (and paint my walls with - my former office at home was bright orange).
It should be no surprise to friends when I say I like to buy rainbow yarn.  It might not always be a full proper rainbow, but I like it colourful.
The problem is, sometimes that amazing skein or ball of yarn doesn't always knit into something equally lovely. And it's not the pattern/knitting that's to blame.
It can be a fine line between rainbow and clown puke.
Here are a few examples from my knitting history.

This ribbed blanket of leftover fingering weight yarns illustrates a broad range of colours in my stash.

It's easy to create a rainbow of colours with multiple balls of yarn such as I did with the custom-order rainbow witch hat and when I made up dragon finger puppets for my daughter's birthday.  (The center dragon was her gift.)
More often I like to buy yarn with the rainbow built in.

This striping Noro is a winning multicoloured yarn.  It's still a WIP stole (Takenoko pattern) - fine yarn on fine needles and simple (repetitious) pattern.  Self-striping rainbows are easy to work with.

Sometimes I like to mix things up, as with this stripped scarf of Noro and a solid black using my popular indecisive stripes pattern (it's a free download).

Early in my knitting lifetime someone asked me to knit a rainbow scarf. I didn't have a rainbow selection of yarns and a simple striped scarf seemed far too boring.  You could buy one of those at Walmart/Dollar Store for cheap (I know I'd picked up one at Claire's in a bargain bin for a buck).  I found this rainbow yarn at Romney Wools in Toronto on my first real yarn-shopping expedition. 

Knit up in a simple rib it made a squishy, soft scarf full of rainbow.

The extra skein sat in my stash forever until I used it for a squishacowl.

Variegated rainbows are not always so easy to work with. 
The rainbow lace yarn below was one of those "got to have rainbow!" purchases.

It required a lot of work to find the right pattern that would 1) not be lost in the rainbow and 2) would not turn my rainbow into clown puke.

I wear this little rainbow Antonia shawl a lot in the warmer months or when I need extra colour in my day.  The mesh-like lace separates the colours in lovely little berries while the lace areas with more solid space are sharp enough to hold their own.  There's no denying it's a bright, colourful, rainbow shawl and not to everyone's taste, but I feel confident that it is not clown puke.

This sock on the other hand... clown puke. I gave the pair to my mom as "festive birthday" socks.  From my Rav description:
I was severely disappointed with the colourway! I saw a lovely pair of striped socks on display with these yarns and it looked like this colourway - but there are not any stripes in this yarn! It’s short sections of each colour blending together… aka clown puke.

Nevertheless, I’ve knit my mom a “plain vanilla” (or is that Rainbow Sherbet?) pair of socks and I’m going to present them as Festival socks - that is, for Winnipeg Folk Fest. These brightly coloured monstrosities (fit is nice, I’m talking colourway) should nicely accessorize her Festival tie-dye wear and keep her feet cozy during the nightly concerts.

I used some "Festive" leftovers to knit a Groovy Girl dress and shirt.  With the yarn held double the colours at least blend together a little better.  You would think I would have learned my lesson after this yarn, but the rainbow lace above was bought after...

These rainbow socks (in Kroy Clover colourway) are a lovely example of rainbow socks. They were one of my early knitting projects and still a favourite.    Another example of how nice it is to have self-striping yarns.

And then we're back to more not-so-easy colourful sock yarn. This yarn looked deceptively like self-striping sock yarn in the skein.  The problem is, you had to have a circumference of about 90 stitches for it to stripe - otherwise it's colour-blending clown puke, which I discovered on my first attempt to knit socks with it.

looks okay on the ribbed cuff
and then it's pukey
but wait, it looks lovely turning the heel
It looked fine at the cuff.  I chose a pattern to try and break up the colours, but that didn't help.  And it was as I was turning the heel that I discovered this yarn's potential to have a beautiful striped effect.  I started testing how many stitches it required - about 90 - but for the life of me could not imagine a project that would use that many stitches in a circle (not knit flat).  Not the right number for a cowl, not right for socks... and I only had one skein.

After leaving the yarn to wallow for a while, I did knit it into a pair of gorgeous Skew socks.  Yes, Skew is the perfect pattern for crazy variegated yarns.

Leftovers were used in simple squares:

My last example of rainbow-ish socks are these pastel beauties.  Yarn was gifted to me and certainly not my colourway so I gifted the socks to my sister who has a birthday near Easter.  I think the large sections of stockinette help show off the variegated yarn.

Rainbows are not just for feet and necks.
Kaylee Koigu bear is pretty colourful.  (And used my first purchase of koigu before I regularly started buying quality yarns. Seemed a mighty expensive bear.)

I barely remember my big girl so little. Especially in comparison to her sisters who were born with a headful of hair.

This striping colourful yarn made a cute soaker, until I realized that a soy blend was a poor choice. I know I frogged it but I don't recall what the yarn became after.
Oh, yes I do, a pixie hat:

Cute, colourful baby bottoms.  Too bad the short rows break up the pooling here.
Here's some colourful yarn I had kids dye for me that also became a soaker (for cloth diapers):

Rainbows also look fabulous on heads.  Here's what I did with the leftovers from Kaylee Koigu bear; a Kaylee Hat:

And this rainbow hat brightened up winter for me

Who wouldn't adore a baby in a rainbow pixie hat?
 And when you're feeling spunky... a rainbow pigtail hat.

This is my current favourite hat - a slouchy snail hat that is mine, not my daughter's.
This one is hers in Ribbon yarn she picked out and I designed a hat for:

That about wraps up my collection of bright, multi-coloured rainbow / almost rainbow knits (and crochet).  Oh, one last item - dolls always deserve colourful clothing.  Here double crochet keeps colours blocked together.

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