The wonderment that is variegated yarn

I never thought I’d have anything positive to say about variegated yarn, but I find myself engrossed in the ever-changing color of the stitches. A pink, a few more pink, then some blue, lilac, purple, light lilac… Some colors match up on top of each other, and some don’t. Rinse and repeat.

I could hardly stop myself from finishing this sock in only a few days. I was surprised to find myself watching each and every stitch just for the color changes. With simple stockinette in the round, I can potentially knit blindfolded! Yet I couldn’t take my eyes off…

You’re just too good to be true,

Can’t take my eyes off of you.

You’d be like heaven to touch

I wanna hold you so much…

Pardon the way that I stare,

There’s nothing else to compare,

The sight of you leaves me weak;

There are no words left to speak…

I know I’d be much less nostalgic if the colors pooled in an awful way. If they pooled, in fact, I would knowingly shake my head and remind myself that I have a drawer full of solid-colored sock yarn.

But, alas, that wasn’t the case. For the record, I knit the short-row heel using the other end of the skein to preserve the color patterning. I don’t think it’d be that bad to knit it all in one piece, but why risk it? Such a simple solution to potentially unsightly pooling at the bend of the foot.

The only place where the colors pooled ever so slightly is in the toe area.

I don’t think it’s worth discussing, and I should consider myself lucky that the yarn didn’t do something more atrocious. (Also, do you see why I have such an interest in socks with arch shaping?)

The second sock is already on the needles, and I’m predicting a speedy sprint to the finish line.

Even more unthinkable, I bought more variegated sock yarn. I’m really testing the heavens, right? I got some Claudia Hand Painted Yarn in butter pecan (as recently seen on Fidget’s blog). It, too, spoke to me, telling me that it’d be perfect for grandma. I think it might be another stockinette with picot edge sock, though I’m not sure yet.


45 thoughts on “The wonderment that is variegated yarn

  1. hpny knits

    I adore variegated. there are so many greqt ones. have you tried trekking xxl? the yarn mesmerizes you to keep on knitting with the very subtle, yet gorgeous color changes.


  2. tammy

    your gramma is going to be so happy… those are very lovely socks!! i need to learn those short row heels, they look much nicer than the heel flap, i think. good job!! πŸ˜€

  3. Kimberly

    The colors on your sock are a great combination. I am trying to purchase more variegated yarns, but I find myself wanting to create my own patterns!


  4. loribird

    Wow, that came out so well! Glad you’ve discovered the wonders of variegation. I too find myself ever so amused with the changing of the pretty colors… the Mountain Colors Weaver’s Wool Quarters I’ve used had subtle color changes; I can’t imagine it would pool, but you’d have to gift the socks away (being, well, wool…)

  5. knitnana

    Another convert! πŸ™‚ I love those colors – the sock is perfect! (I’m partial to the stockinette with picot edge, too)


  6. sarah

    I have friends who sneer at variegated yarns, but I love them. Like you, I love the way the colours meet, luring me to knit another row in order to admire yet another combination. I love the way the yarn makes me reconsider my hatred of some colours; pink is (I can’t believe I’m saying this) bearable, almost (gah) attractive when combined with other colours. And, most of all, I love the way the colours make me think about dyeing my own, as I decide that particular shade of yellow is just a bit too strident, copper would be better. I brought KoolAid back from Canada, just have to find the time.

  7. Ann

    I tend to think of variegated as that old nursery rhyme about the girl with the curl: when it’s good, it’s very, very good, but when it’s bad, it’s horrid. And it can be frustrating to try to figure out how to make it good — what stitch count, what pattern, what needles. But it can be totally worth it!

    ps. I predict you will love the claudia yarn.

  8. Alison

    I agree with the person that mentioned Trekking – very subtle stripes, no pooling and you never know what’s next.

    I’m okay with pooling, but that sock yarn is gorgeous! I love how it stripes.

  9. Deb

    So now you’ve come over to the Dark Side (or should I say-the Variegated Side???? Got my needles on Friday-love them!!!Thanks!

  10. anne

    I guess I just don’t get what it is to not like about color pooling…. In a sweater plastered on my body, no I dont’ want it. But on socks? I love seeing pooling and flashing and what it’s going to do next and how the colors interact with one another and how purposly adding or taking out just one stitch can affect it all.

    I have a pair of Lorna’s Laces socks where one sock pooled in what almost looks like lightning flashes down the foot, the other spiraled around and around. The same yet not the same. Love them!!

    That is what is so great about knitting, we all pick out own yarns, our own projects and can make what we love.

  11. Mary K. in Rockport

    How DO you make fitted arches? High arched feet predominate in my family, and those boughten socks with ribbed arches are so comfy – girdles for feet!

  12. Liz K.

    I almost bought some Butter Pecan this weekend, but ended up with Plumilicious instead. And while I’d never use the word regret when it comes to purchasing beautiful yarn, I think the more subtle neutrals in the Butter Pecan might have been a better choice. I don’t always want my socks to scream.

  13. Danielle

    I thought that everyone (else) loved variegated/self-patterned yarns? I have two skeins of s-p Regia (bought on sale) but I dunno… I like knitting textured patterns.

    I think my real problem is that when I see a gorgeous colorway I somehow want the colors to magically almost combine into a beautiful cloud of shifting colors. And instead they just turn into STRIPES. Unmixed, unblended STRIPES.

  14. Marion

    It looks like 68 is the magic number. I knit a pair of socks with a different Shepherd Sock varigated over 68 stitches and it did the exact same striped/pooled thing.

  15. Janice in GA

    Ah, that reminds me of the socks I’m knitting on! The skein is from a dye experiment I did during Dye-O-Rama. My colors are darker, and I tied plastic on for resists while it was dyeing. Your short-row heel is a better solution for keeping the colors neat, though.

  16. Cyndi

    Great idea to knit the heel from the other end of the skein! The first thought I had when I saw your socks was “how did she avoid pooling in the short row section?” Now I, too, can avoid the evil heel pooling on my next variegated sock!

  17. Charity

    Well done! You did a great, speedy job, and the socks are lovely. Glad to hear you’re willing to open up your yarn boundaries a bit more.

  18. Martha

    Now Kathy, I love variegated yarn as much as the next person, and I wouldn’t want to discourage you, but I’m thinking maybe you need to get out more. In the best possible way πŸ˜‰

    Good idea with the short-row heel–I think it makes a difference!

  19. brooke

    The sock looks great! Sometimes I get mesmerized knitting variegated yarn & there are so many different color combos. The butter pecan looks like a great choice for your grandma.

  20. Nicola

    That sock looks just like the pair I made from’s esprit print in the phlox colourway (I put a picot edge on mine too). The yarn is cotton with a little bit of elastic, like Cascade Fixation, and I knit it on 4mm needles – I love this stuff, I’ve made 6 pairs of socks with it now – and with the bigger needles I only have to cast on 48 stitches to get a perfect fitting sock!

  21. Monica

    I love variegated yarns for the very mesmerizing quality you experienced. So much more interesting to me than one color.

    Don’t ask me to make a matching outfit out of my handknit socks/sweaters/hats/mittens/scarves, though; they’re all different variegateds…

  22. Sharon

    I love love LOVE them! I’m so glad you’re feeling the love for variegated, because they don’t half make a cute, quick knit. πŸ˜€

  23. Maritza

    How crap! There’s no pooling! Wow, how is that possible? I stopped knitting with Lorna’s Laces because it was terrible for pooling. This makes me want to give it another go. By the way, the sock looks fabulous and the colorway is beautiful.

  24. Michelle

    I love it when it stripes like that, those wee itty bitty stripes! It is amazing, change the size a little but (a kid sock or a huge man’s sock) and the color changes altogether.

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