Saturday, February 2, 2019

Periodicity 3.1: Common Effects - Pooling and Flashing

Pooling and Flashing
Probably the best-known effect of working with variegated yarns is pooling, and its crazier sibling, flashing.  It is the opposite of a well-mixed fabric.

Simply stated, pooling is where the individual colors wind up near each other in the fabric, creating “pools” or patches of the same color.   Pooling is the result of your stitch count and gauge being just right (or wrong depending on your opinion on the subject).

Pools can be big or small.  Here's a rather loud headscarf with small pools:

@ Cathy Byland Weeks

Pooling isn't always loud. It can be quite sedate, with bigger pools of color. Here's a hat I made for a friend. Note that the yarn was dark green, with the big light green sections. You can see the lighter green streaks.
© Cathy Byland Weeks
Argyles are a special kind of offset pooling, when knitting flat (knitting back-and-forth causes the colors to zig-zag up the piece, bouncing off the sides):
© Cathy Byland Weeks
Offset pooling in the round makes spirals.  I think it may be impossible to make argyles while knitting in the round, though I'm not sure of that.  I've come up with schemes similar to intarsia in the round that might work, or knitting hats sideways and then grafting them.  But that'll take some more work and experimentation.

Flashing is a type of pooling where the pools make lighting bolts or zig-zags.  This effect is most common in items made in hand-dyed yarns, which typically have inconsistent color-lengths.

© Cathy Byland Weeks

© Cathy Byland Weeks
The flashing in the socks and headscarf (above) wasn't planned, but I pooled the following hat deliberately (though the flashing wasn't deliberate, just a happy result). It's a tam that is knit at 2x my magic number:

© Cathy Byland Weeks

There are other kinds of pooling as well, which will be covered later.

One term you’ll see associated with pooling (or more specifically, planned pooling projects), is “magic number.” The magic number is the number of stitches at a specific gauge, that are taken up by one color repeat, or one loop of the hank.   Knowing the magic number allows you to use the pooling to deliberately create stacked pools or argyles.  But, more on that later.

For those that want to read ahead with magic number info (it is super-cool, and really intriguing), here are some pages I liked:

Back to TOC. Back to Effects Intro. Forward to Inconsistent Results.

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