Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Getting Stripes with Space-Dyed Yarns

Posted by mtmom on May 23, 2008

Spring is continuing to spring here on the mountain.  budding aspens

But check the webcam (sidebar link) over the next few days — we’re expecting some new snow up on the Peaks over Thursday night.  Once the clouds clear, the view should be spectacular!


I thought I’d like to try explaining more about how I work with space-dyed yarns to get the stripes on my “28-Hour Caps”. 

When I start a cap, the colors line up seemingly haphazardly.  top of green-multi cap

But, after some increasing, like colors begin to line up and stack atop their cousins from previous rows.  Here, 8+ green stitches were worked into whites, but then I started working new white stitches into old white stitches.  green stitches before whites line up

After another group of increases,  fewer green stitches are over whites before the new whites start.  green stitches over whites

Pretty soon, the whites will be lining up vertically.  If I want semi-vertical stripes, that place of even-ness is my target.  More usually, though, I’m after diagonals.  I could stop at this circumference and get diagonals that go down and to the right.  But at this point in my increasing, I have only 60 stitches, and that’s a pretty small cap.  If I increase more, I’ll pass the vertical alignment point and my diagonals will start running the other way.  white sts over green

Now (above), the new whites start 2 stitches *before* the old whites.  My zigs are now zagging. 

More increases, and the whites will start even sooner.  whites over greens 

3 stitches sooner on the next 2 rounds, and then 5 the round after that.  5 whites over greens

That’s a slope I can enjoy, and 72 worsted stitches is a nice size for a child’s hat.  So, I stop at this size and work even from here on down.  I get a chevron near the top. . .  green chevrons

. . . and diagonal stripes down the sides.  sides of cap show stripes

One interesting thing I’ve learned lately, from measuring the length of several yarns’ color-change cycles (see previous post with photos of 3 samples), is that, at my gauge in these yarns, a 60″ color cycle (like this Caron) meets itself at about 60 stitches, while a 70″-73″ color cycle (like the TLC) meets at around 72 stitches.  Pretty cool, eh?!  So, unless I want a stripe-direction-reversal like at the top of this green cap, a cap for a grade-school child should be worked with a yarn that doesn’t repeat colors sooner than 70″.  For an adult cap, I could use a 70″ color-cycle yarn and go through the zig-zag, or I could hunt for a longer-cycle yarn.  All this, because the striping depends on the interaction between the yarn’s color cycle and the amount of yarn used to work each round (circumference and gauge).

Did you ever notice that there’s alot of math involved in knitting?  Well, in the planning part at least.

Oops, looks like someone has fallen asleep while thinking too hard!  sleeing Thinker-cat

2 Responses to “Getting Stripes with Space-Dyed Yarns”

  1. Bea said

    hmmm…I was wondering how you did this! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Retentively.

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