You know how you look at a skein of yarn and sometimes the greeny bits are all over here together and the bluey bits are all over here together and the the yellowy bits are all over there and it looks all gorgeous and tidy? And then you start knitting and the colors can sometimes all stack up on each other and do something…unexpected?⠀
Yeah, so that (mostly) happens when the length of yarn you need for one row of knitting lines up just so with the lengths of the loops the yarn was in when it was dyed (so if every row of your knitting takes one loop of yarn, all those red spots will line up on top of each other). And it can be glorious…or it can be horrid. So it’s worth knowing how to deal with it if it happens and it’s bugging you.⠀
One of the easiest ways to deal with it is to use a stitch pattern that needs different amounts of yarn on different rows. Think about a stitch pattern with a bunch of increases on one row and a bunch of decreases on the next row. Those rows will take different lengths of yarn to knit, so they’ll break things up. The same is true for patterns that have slipped stitches (slipping a stitch takes less yarn than working it) or patterns with stitches where you wrap the yarn around the needle a whole bunch of times (that takes more yarn than just wrapping it once).⠀
This is a swatch of the stitch pattern for Dippers, and it breaks up pooling beautifully. Those little twirly bits use just enough extra yarn to sweet talk the most colorful yarns into behaving!⠀
This is a swatch of the stitch pattern from Nugatory (another of the currently discontinued patterns that I hope to bring back out soon). On this one, you make long loops on one row (that uses extra yarn) and then slip those long loops on subsequent rows (that uses less yarn), so it works perfectly with yarn that likes to pool.
Other patterns that work great with yarns that likes to pool are:
- Any of the patterns in Firmament (the dip stitches are great at this)
- Patterns like Entrapment, Misprision, Collusion or Permutation wher you have a contrast color on top of a background color (use the one that pools as the contrast color, it works beautifully)
- Patterns like Marooned or Whippersnapper or Rampant where you slip or double wrap some stitches (the double wrapped or slipped stitches work wonders)
So the next time you’ve got a yarn that’s misbehaving, look for a stitch pattern that uses more yarn on some rows than on others, and it may well sort everything out!