Monday, 31 January 2022

Have you ever wondered how your yarn will look when knitted up?

Sometimes it's really hard to judge how your yarn will look when it's knitted up into a small circumference like a sock or a mitten.

When yarn is sold in a 100g skein or ball, the way the yarn is wound can make it look very different to how it will look when knitted up and it's hard to see whether it will be deep stripes, narrow stripes, speckle or highly variegated with lots of different areas of colour that are more likely to create puddles or pools of colour.

You would never know that this gorgeous skein of multi-coloured yarn would knit up into these amazing stripes.

sock on a sock blocker and a skein of colourful yarn

Usually, if the yarn is striped, it will say on the ball band, which is helpful (it would say self-striping yarn), and some manufacturers also include an image of the stripes which is even more helpful. 

But, if like me, you have lots of yarns in your stash that you just bought because you love the various colours, then I hope this post will help you to see how the yarns in your stash might look when knitted up.

5 socks in different hand dyed yarn options

photo credit Jason Jenkins (David and Charles Publications)
from The Sock Knitting Bible by Lynne Rowe

You will need:

Yarn from a ball or skein;

A yarn winder and yarn swift (optional).


Option 1: If you are winding from a ball or skein by hand, then wind your yarn as you normally would but change the direction of winding after every 8-10 wraps. 

So wind the yarn around the ball approximately 8-10 times and then stop and turn the ball a little bit towards the left so that the next 8-10 wraps are sitting in a slightly different position than the previous wraps.

This will help to see if you yarn will stripe or whether it's speckled or highly variegated. 

This is yarn form Liz (@theyarnbadger) and it's wound into a gobstopper using the above method, which shows off the gorgeous pastel stripes of the yarn.

self striping yarn wound by hand showing stripes

knitted socks with self striping yarn

Option 2:
If you have a yarn winder and a yarn swift, you can wind your yarn into a yarn cake. At this point it is still difficult to see how the yarn will look when knitted up.

Next, unravel 5-8 meters of yarn from the yarn cake and start to wrap in around the cake from top to bottom around the cake (so this is in the opposite direction to the original winding).

Take care to lay each strand of yarn neatly next to the previous strand so that there are no gaps. 

As you wind, you will start to see the patterns being created, which will indicate whether the yarn is striped, speckled or highly variegated.

Self striping yarn cake showing how yarn looks when knitted up
Whilst it's not an exact science (because you are not using quite as much yarn as you would in a round of a knitted sock or mitten), it does give you a really good indication of what will happen when you start to knit.

Plus, it's really great fun and you might get some really nice surprises.

hand knitted sock cuff with speckled yarn
Also, the winding of the yarn shows off the different colours within the yarn so you can start to see which contrast colours will work really well for your cuffs, heels and toes.

There's nothing worse that starting a sock with a contrast heel or cuff, only to find that when you switch to your main yarn, that the colours don't work that well together. 

So this winding method will help you to see which colours will work really well with your main yarn.

pair of hand knitted socks on sock blockers
I hope you have great fun with your yarn winding. It's a fun way to switch off and focus on a fun exercise that is also helpful and satisfying. I got a bit carried away with my winding, but I found some really gorgeous yarns that I can't wait to start

cakes of hand dyed yarn with ends wound inn opposite direction to show stripes

Happy yarn winding, Lynne xx

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Stepping boldly into 2022 with a bright and cheerful knit

I've welcomed in the New Year by casting on a fabulous new sock. I waited patiently for the Winter Haven KAL (knit along) by Christine @winwickmum so that I could knit her striking new pattern.

Doesn't it look amazing!!!

Although, I must confess that there was quite a bit of dithering about my colours.

My intention was to use Christine's Wild Flower colourway from her first collection with West Yorkshire Spinners, which is a combination of purple, pink, blue and green. I intended to pair it with a dark purple from Opal, which looks just stunning here on my shade card.

But when I came to knit it up I wasn't sure if the purple created a bold enough contrast and I wanted to do justice to the pattern, which it so well deserves. 

So I decided to take my own words of advice:

"If you're not completely feeling the love, 

frog it and start again"

So I tried two other options:

  • Christine's Spring colourway in shades of green from her latest collection, combined with Cream.
  • Her Summer colourway in shades of red, orange and fuchsia, combined with Black.

And the latter won my heart.

I knew as soon as I started the mosaic section that the pink/orange/red/black combination would make me happy each day as I sit and knit for 10 minutes or so. 

The pattern itself is so relaxing and mindful and also slightly addictive - I really don't want to put these gorgeous socks down, but life beckons, and work must be done, and when my 10 minutes are up I slowly return to the chores and deadlines of the day, feeling somewhat refreshed and energised by my little knitting break.

The colours remind me of a warm summer sunset sky and I look forward to the longer days when I can sit outside and knit in the sunshine.

This stunning photo perfectly reflects the warmth and mood of my new socks with its fiery red and orange sky - by Mike Aunzo (@michaelsonewhere) on (free to use under the Unsplash license). 

I have popped the link to Christine's blog below if you'd like to join in too. I'd definitely recommend it as there are lots of benefits of joining a knit-along or crochet-along:

Five positive benefits of joining a knit or crochet along (also called KAL or CAL)

  1. There is a great sense of community and you can create connections with other knitters/crocheters.
  2. It encourages you to start and finish your project so that you can share you Finished Objects.
  3. It's great to see the colours of yarn that others use, which is a great source of inspiration.
  4. You feel a huge sense of pride as you share your Works in Progress and Finished Objects.
  5. You can ask others for help and advice.

I'd love to hear if you've joined a knit or crochet along and whether you've started a new project yet for  2022.

I hope you enjoy every stitch in the year ahead.

Lynne xx

Links to @winwickmum Winter Haven Kal:

Week 1 blog post

Free Pattern and Tutorial for Christine's Easy Mosaic Socks