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Topic: How do self-striping yarns work?  (Read 3100 times)
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Cat Loving Knitter
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« on: August 05, 2007 05:23:14 PM »

Hi!
I used to think that it had something to do with gauge, but gauge can vary throughout a project. I bought a hank of Mountain Colors "Bearfoot" the other day, which I assume is a self-striping yarn, and it said "between so-and-so and so-and-so stitches to the inch." (I can't remember the numbers.) This would suggest that gauge isn't all that important. So now I'm confused; how do these yarns work?
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2007 05:56:19 PM »

Self-striping yarns are dyed at certain regular lengths colors or color patterns that will depend on the intention of the manufacturer (i.e. self-striping sock yarns will have shorter color changes than more generic ones like Noro).
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2007 06:58:43 PM »

I did a self-striping yarn and got worried when the color changes weren't happening at the ends of the rows.  But it actually doesn't matter if the change occurs in the middle of a row because it's not that noticeable, at least with the fun fur i did the scarf with.  Does that make sense?
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dancingbarefoot
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2007 12:58:12 AM »

gauge can vary throughout a project

Unless the pattern tells you to vary the gauge - like switching to a different size needle - it's not a good idea to vary the gauge. Consistent gauge is what ensures that your garment will fit and/or be the right dimensions when it's finished.

Mountain Colors isn't really what I would call a self-striping yarn. It does have a nice variegated color scheme going on, but it's not a well-defined stripe pattern like you'd get from Regia or Opal, for example. Don't get me wrong, Mountain Colors is gorgeous yarn (I love it!) but don't be expecting a self-striping fake Fair Isle or something.
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2007 01:30:35 AM »

I'm knitting some Jaywalkers out of Bearfoot right at the moment, they definitely do stripe, but in a subtle way.  They fade nicely from one shade to another, so whatever gauge you get should look just fine.  Your "stripes" will just be thicker or thinner, that's all.
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2007 06:11:19 AM »

Self-striping and variegated yarns are going to self-stripe and variegate no matter what gauge you get, but that doesn't mean that gauge doesn't matter. Gauge does matter. What it means when it says that it can be between two different numbers is that you can use different needle sizes, get between those two gauges, and still have a nice fabric. For example, if it said that the suggested gauge was between 4 and 5 stitches to the inch, you could get 4 stitches to the inch, 5 stitches to the inch and anything in between, such as 4.5 stitches to the inch.

I hope that helps!  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2007 08:36:30 AM »

Thank you all! Smiley And when I said "gauge can vary throughout a project," I just meant that some days people knit looser, and some days people knit tighter. I know that gauge is important.
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dancingbarefoot
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2007 01:24:23 PM »

I'm knitting some Jaywalkers out of Bearfoot right at the moment, they definitely do stripe, but in a subtle way.

I think I was thinking of MC's weaver's wool. Oops! But Bearfoot does have a subtle, variegated type pattern (which will sometimes stripe if the knit item is narrow enough; if it's a large knit object, the variegated color will stretch over a large area and will probably never line up in stripes), but not well-defined stripes. That's what I meant. In other words, she should expect something like this:

(link to sweater at MC's website)

and not like this:


One is the striping you sometimes get with variegated yarn, and the other is a carefully designed color repeat meant to give you a specific pattern at a certain gauge.
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2007 03:44:39 PM »

When I wanted to dye some self striping yarn for my Jaywalkers, I started by knitting a few rows in the necessary guage.  Then I frogged it and measured the yarn I had used and divided by the rows I had knitted.  That way I knew how much yarn was needed for one row.  Then I made it into a huge loop and divided it into sections for that yardage and dyed each section a different color.  Thankfully, it worked out perfectly.  I imagine this is generally how manufacturers do self-striping yarn.  They probably just use the average guage for a pair of socks, and make the stripes like that.  And like someone else had mentioned, even if it changes in the middle of a row, you're not going to notice on a pair of socks.  Maybe that was not the information you were wanting, but I just thought I'd explain how I did mine.  Hopefully it helped.


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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2007 03:48:59 PM »

these yarns are MINDBOGGLING aren't they?!

my friend and i want to do a test...knit something really big (blanket or something) and see just how well it stripes itself lol.
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