Color fascination

Well, it’s definitely pooling something:

…but I don’t know if I’d call it “terrible.” What is this? Pooling, striping, pooling and striping at the same time? Should I just shut up and count my lucky stars that it’s not doing something more obnoxious? Hehe :).

I do like watching the stitches change color. It’s rather mesmerizing!

In case you want to reproduce this effect on your own needles, I’m knitting the sock on US 0 needles, over 68 sts, at a gauge of 8.5 spi.

Here’s something that’s giving me more of a headache, however:

I’m not digging it. The scale of the pattern I chose for the lower portion of the leg is all wrong, I think. Compared to the delicate intricacy of the top band, the chunkiness of the lower half is way too much. Unbalanced, in more scientific terms.

Solutions? Gotta use something smaller in the lower portion. Contenders? A few.


(1) Simple stripes like Ilmar’s Socks, (2) pseudo-plaid from Avo’s Mittens, (3) little snowflakes from Anv’s Mittens, (4) little specks all over, like the Lithuanian Amber Socks (Folk Socks, p. 104) (I hope the Estonians forgive me for shoving another Baltic nation into their sock).

What do you think? I started out having a favorite, but now that I look at all four choices side by side, I’m not sure anymore. I urge the Fair Isle gurus to come out of hiding with advice for this one ;).


71 thoughts on “Color fascination

  1. Gina in NH

    Socks are coming out totally awesome (even though you don’t like the lower pattern). How about the little snowflakes. Those look really funky. I actually like the pooling of the Lorna’s Laces. Those are my colors, too.

  2. Elizabeth GM

    Gotta vote for the snowflakes, too. The scale seems right and they seem more thematically appropriate than the other options – though I can see why you were drawn to the others.

    And yeah, I’d say your instincts are right as always about the apparent pooling on the variegated sock. It’s pooling slightly, but as little as any non-self-striping, variegated yarn possibly could. Plus, at that small a gauge, I think the colors will blend together at a normal distance anyway.

  3. Jen

    Not a fair isle knitter here, just an artist – if you squint your eyes you can see the color density of these patterns fairly well, right? So it needs to match with the color density of the top bar that you did already. (This also explains why you’re feeling the bottom part is too heavy – different density of colors.)

    I like the first sock shown, since the top motif is basically what you have already and the combination works well. However it will darken your sock up quite a bit. Personally I think the plaid is too dense (will be too blue) and the snowflakes might look a bit cartoony, so I’d vote for dots.

    I don’t know if I helped at all, but hope it works out.

  4. Danielle

    I like the specks — I think that feels balanced. The snowflakes would be my second choice. I love your other sock too — that’s exactly what I hope my handpainted sock yarns will produce. I have an intense dislike of flashing and pooling, but I like that stripey-pool effect…

  5. CarrieScribe

    Not a fair isle expert — just a lurker with an opinion. πŸ˜‰ I think the snowflakes are a great choice and will look fabulous. My second choice would be the dots, but . . . I don’t think they’re “enough.” (And don’t know how to explain any better what I mean by that, either.)

    And I’m really liking the pooling!

  6. Luise

    A vote for #1. The stripes are a good balance for the motif; the smaller bits might make the sock topheavy, so to speak. Clearly, there’s no one “right” answer. Enjoy.

  7. Kate

    As much as I love the snowflakes, I think the dots may work better. And I love the colors of the Lorna’s Laces – the combination of striping and pooling is a nice break from pooling πŸ˜‰

  8. gleek

    i think that striping IS technically pooling, no? just pooling in large quantities. but i like this. that’s probably the best striping/pooling i’ve seen in socks in a long time. my jaywalkers were not so fortunate.

  9. Stacey

    I’d say the psudo plaid…I love it!

    The socks are great! Not really striping, not really pooling – maybe strooling? πŸ™‚

  10. karen w

    Gotta go with the snowflakes. The scale seems perfectly balanced from this vantage point. Second choice would be the top portion of #4, the stripes with specks. (I know that wasn’t “officially” a choice…)

    Good luck deciding–I’m confident whatever you select will be perfect!

  11. Catherine

    I say the plaid or the snowflakes. The plaid is more… multi-seasonal though, like you could wear them in the fall. The progress looks great though!

  12. Ashley

    That is the least pool-y LL I’ve ever seen. Way to go!

    Also, definitely snowflakes. Or stripes. Or snowflakes and stripes?

  13. JulieT

    “Traditional Fair Isle Knitting” by Sheila McGregor has peerie patterns out the woz if you’re looking for something small. Your only problem would be making up your mind and choosing from the zillions there.

    If you’re going for an all-Estonian sock, um… hmm… well, nothing to say that an Estonian woman didn’t make up the same peerie as some Scottish lady, now, is there? (And really, with the simple ones, I’m sure they were made up, again and again, in all nations.)

  14. Rebekkah

    I don’t remember off the top of my head what yarn you’re using for that top sock, but I’m guessing Lorna’s Laces. I’ve had striping like that with LL, where it’s basically 2 colors pooling together, alternating with the other 2 colors pooling together. I like the effect, because it’s stripey with just a bit of chaos thrown in.

    Looking through my photos, I have an example here: (I swear I used to have a more normal photo of those socks. I have no idea where it is, though.) I think those were knit on size 1 needles (8 – 8.5 spi?), and probably 64 stitches per round.

    My vote for the fair isle pattern is the star pattern from the mittens. Of those 4, I think it’s the one that will look nicest with what you already have. But I’m definitely not a guru.

  15. v.j. kohout

    Not pooling enough? Just wait until you get to another area where there will be different number of stitches, then show us your sock. Hope for the best. The colors are beautiful.

    I don’t have a favorite among your selection of fair isle motives. I like them all but as a match to what you already have – one seem too stripy, one too dense, one too whimsical and one too opaque.

  16. Jayme

    I’ll ad my vote to the snowflake pile. More intune with what you did with the first sock for that fratarnal twin thing you said you are going for. The dots are too minimal IMHO.

  17. Martha

    I made Avo’s Mittens (as gloves) and I loved that pseudo-plaid pattern. BUT I don’t think it works with your upper motif. I think the snowflakes work better, or the little specks. I think I like the little specks the best.

  18. Molly

    I’d say the socks are striping, beautifully. I don’t think you could ask for a nicer pattern from variegated yarn, really – it’s lovely, and the colors work very well.

  19. RisΓ«

    I don’t consider that pooling. I think of pooling as being big blobs of color like you are destined to get at the front of the ankle. You may want to consider an after thought heel to eliminate the pooling.

  20. Lauren

    For Lorna’s, that “pooling” is miraculous. If it keeps up, I’d consider doing an afterthought heel so as not to jink what it’s doing by changing stitch counts.

    I like the #1 socks.

  21. Kelly

    Personally I think the snowflakes would be cool for the lower half of your sock. While you’re at it, check out my blog!

  22. Gale

    It would be useful if you posted the companion sock alongside of the one you are working on for the sake of comparison.

    Happy days, Gale

  23. LaurieM

    I don’t think any of them are quite right. You need to keep looking. There are a wealth of tiny patterns to choose from. Currently I’m reading Knitting in the Nordic Tradition and one I liked looks like this:










    Which I think would give a good balance of both colors.

  24. angelarae

    I vote for the little flecks or the snowflakes…everything else seems (what we call in the south) too ‘busy’ to go with the top half of the sock. Just my opinion.


  25. Joanna

    I really like the snowflakes, I think the details are small enough to provide a good balance with the top, while also just being more interesting than the stripes or little flecks. (The plaid feels a little too heavy to me.)

  26. Janine

    Not a guru by any means but i think i would go with the plaid one. The colour balance seems about right if you know what I mean

  27. Laura

    The stripes don’t seem right at all. I like #3 – snowflakes! If I didn’t have so many knits OTN right now I’d go find that pattern and make the snowflake mittens. Red and white is so great!

  28. Stella

    I’m not a huge fan of any of those four. I actually really like the pattern that you’re working right now, but I agree that it’s a bit chunky. Couldn’t you just scale it down a bit? As in, make each repeat 1-2 sts narrower and 1-2 rows shorter, or whatever it takes to accomodate the total circumference of the sock and fit in another full repeat… I know you have the math skills for this.

  29. maryse

    of the 4 choices you’ve given us, i prefer the snowflakes, but like several commenters, i’m not in love.

    back to the drawing board with you πŸ˜‰

  30. Marlyce

    I like the snowflakes, and would suggest a band of the snowflakes, and then going to a smaller scale as you get closer to the ankle–like the dots. There are dots in the narrow bands at the top pattern, and I think it would balance to have dots lower than the snowflakes, and continue the dots to the foot.

    The pooling is attractive as it is, but what bothers me in the pooling problem is when the width of the garment or item changes and the pooling changes also–it can look very psychedelic during a non-psychedelic age.

  31. insaknitty

    I like the snowflakes too! how come when I first glanced at that picture of your stripey pooley sock, I thought it was a tube top? haha. and I kind of like that coffee bean motif on your stockings, actually. πŸ™‚

  32. Pam Huang

    I’m with Gale-I think you should keep looking. I personally think the snowflakes are cute but don’t really go with the top motif. I also like the dots (or lice as they way in Norway) but I think they are too plain. I’d look for a diagonall cross hatching pattern with a simple little motif inside.

  33. Stephanie

    My first choice would be the plaid, I think it would mirror the diamond shape in the cuff nicely. Second choice is snowflakes…essentially smaller diamonds. No way on the stripes…too simple!

  34. Michelle

    I agree about the scale of the lower pattern, which is too bad because the lower pattern you’ve begun looks like coffee beans to me and coffee is always a good thing in my book πŸ˜‰

  35. Vaire

    Thank you for the apology, but there is nothing to forgive, the specks are present in Estonian knitting too. My choice is the specks: they will not compete with the band pattern, but provide nice backdrop.

    This one could be nice as well.









    x – yellow and o – blue.

  36. laura

    If you want to get crazy complicated, design a pattern that doesn’t repeat and is composed of all little bits that you showed in thin rows.

  37. Virginia

    I don’t think that any of the four examples would do the job with that top. I would give this a try: break up the solid yellow, perhaps by adding some blue dots. The design itself is nice, it just needs more added to it.

  38. Karla (threadbndr)

    (posting before I read the other comments so as to give my most honest opinion)

    I’m not totally sold on any of the options. I like the way the diagonals in the new pattern relate to the upper pattern. And I’m not seeing that same relationship with any of your test options.

    Would it be possible to rework the ‘flower’ pattern to be more delicate – maybe just the outline of blue with a blue ‘dot’ in the center of the petals to break up the gold there and a tiny four dot ‘mini diamond’ in center of the bigger gold area to help with the floats on that row?

  39. Brenda

    At first I thought the snowflakes would go best, but the more I look, I like the pseudo plaid. I think the diagonal stripe effect will look great with the top pattern.

  40. NORA

    Ok, I’m de-lurking here… your blog has reached Sydney, Australia – and I love it! I also love your cute picot-edged socks. Obnoxious? No way! You wanna see obnoxious just head on over to my blog and check out the Lorna’s Laces ‘Vera’ – obnoxious ain’t the word!!!

    PS: not a Fair Isle guru by any stretch of the imagination but I’d go with the little snowflakes.

  41. AJ

    You are BRAVE! I have never knit socks, (though I’m about to), and the colorways are so intricate. I really like the red/white snowflakes. Happy knitting!

  42. Stephanie

    I’m hardly a Fair Isle guru, but I really prefer the snowflakes. I think the scale will look more balanced and there’s some thematic balance too since the motif at the top could read as a snowflake if you already have that in your mind.

  43. Michelle

    Those purple/pink/blues look awesome together.. how can I get some….;o)))

    You do such amazing work! Where do you find all the time for all that work so fast!

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