Now we get to the part where people are curious! How does your gauge affect the colours you are knitting with? Terms like ‘pooling’ will no longer hold fear for you here!!
When I went to Vogue Knitting Live in New York, one of the classes I took focused on using dip dyed yarn to make a pattern. There was no switching of yarns or anything, just math. This technique makes the yarn pool in a pattern. The best example I have of this is the snuggle sack I made my nephew when he was born.
The yarn was variegated within itself and my gauge just happened to be the magic number to make this pattern appear. I didn’t do it on purpose and when someone asked me how they could replicate it, I wasn’t able to answer their question. Another one that happened more recently was this pair of Paul’s socks.
They look striped, but that is just the gauge I hit. When I started the second sock, it wasn’t pooling the same; it turns out I had cast on a different number of stitches. Those two socks looked very different and that is what clued me in to my mistake!
Sometimes this isn’t always a mistake though. If you’re knitting a sweater and the body is 200 stitches, your sleeves are only going to be 40 stitches (these are rough ball parks, not in reference to a specific pattern). This means the body will look radically different from the sleeves.
This swatch has a different amounts of stitches from the sock above, but it is the same yarn. If you’re counting on the yarn to pool the same, you’re going to have to do some fancy math. In this instance, what I would do is to attach two balls of yarn to the body of the sweater and alternate balls every two rows. This will allow the pattern to be truly random and if you do the same on the sleeves, the colours should be mixed up enough that you won’t be able to notice a difference.
There are much easier ways to get around this. If you’re using a variegated yarn, you can always pair it with a solid colour. The solid colour will break up any unfortunate pooling. I bought some yarn online once; I thought it was mostly blue with a little bit of variegated colour in it. When I ended up getting it, the yarn was completely variegated. I got a sweater’s worth of the yarn and if I made a regular stockinette stitch sweater, it would have looked like a rainbow threw up on me. Needless to say, I have thought long and hard about what I am going to do with this sweater. I am going to make it a pattern of variegated with a solid. Now I just need the time to get around to doing it!