Technical Tuesday: The Colour of Truth Part 2

Today we’re going to talk about long colour shifts! These ones are by far my favourites, but you really have to watch what you’re doing if you’re trying to get clever with them. I’ve seen photos of people do sweaters with a long colour shift. It totally blows my mind when I think about how they got the sleeves to match.

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This beautiful example above is a pattern designed by Nataliya Galifianakis and is available at her Ravelry store Neuroknits. This particular pattern gets a gradient effect by holding several strands of yarn together, so it isn’t the perfect example for a post about long colour shift yarn. It is a lovely pattern with a stunning finished object that really accentuates why it would be to difficult to knit a sweater with a long colour shift yarn.

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Take this sock for example. The yarn was dyed this way (by KnitCircus), all I had to do was knit in my K3P1 pattern; the yarn did all my work for me. That sock is 64 stitches around, if I were knitting the sleeves of a sweater it would generally look very similar. For the sake of argument lets say the sleeves are done and look like this 64 stitch sock. When I start on the body of 250 stitches, those stripes are going to progress a lot more rapidly and not match the sleeves. I’m going to go over this problem in more depth in the next couple of weeks and give possible solutions, but here are some ideal projects for colour shift yarn.

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Socks are probably one of the most common. They are small and both socks usually have the same measurements. Indie dyers are doing gradient sock yarns that fade from lighter to darker or another colour completely!

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Scarves! This is an entrelac scarf made with Noro yarn. Noro is a longer colour shift than regular variegated yarn, but it is not the gradient like the sock above. The small squares in the entrelac were just big enough to make it look like there was a different colour for each square.
Shawls are also an excellent candidate for long colour shifts and gradients. As the colour sweeps along the contours of the wrap it gives an elegant grace to any pattern.

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Colourwork! Doing a long colour shift yarn through a yoke sweater like this, or a philosopher’s sweater, gives a really interesting effect. The same thing can be achieved using several different balls in different colours, but who wants to buy an entire skein of yarn for the sake of 10 yards? A long colour shift gives a similar effect and you’re only increasing your stash by one.
What was the proudest colour shift project you ever completed? Frogged? Left in the UFO bin? Did any specifically not work out?