Saturday, February 2, 2019

Periodicity 3.2 Common Effects - Inconsistent Results

Another common effect, is that the fabric produced is inconsistent. It may produce inconsistencies in the same garment when you change skeins, between matching items (one sock patterns differently than the other), and when changing stitch counts in the same garment.

You might not mind the flashing so much, but then it stops, and looks completely different in another spot.  Or it's mixed nicely, then you start a new ball of yarn, then it flashes horribly.  Or it’s mixed nicely but you decrease or increase because you are creating covering for a three-dimensional shape, and BOOM, it starts striping. It's also very common for each sock in a pair to pool differently.

Example: Inconsistency caused by changes in gauge or stitch count
Pooling be caused (or broken) by changes made by the knitter - changing the gauge/needle size, or the stitch count (You see this in sweaters and hats - where the width of the fabric changes, the patterning does too).

Here's a planned pooling hat that I made - I was delighted with the pooling/flashing in the hat rise, but when I began the crown decreases, I was NOT amused.  I ended up frogging back to where I started the decreases, and did a completely different crown that allowed me to keep the stitch count consistent.  Eventually I'll release this pattern (once I figure out a different cuff).

© Cathy Byland Weeks
You will see similar effects in sweaters, in response to shaping to fit the contours of a torso.

Example: Inconsistencies caused by changing skeins of yarn.

Inconsistencies are also caused when you start a new skein - the colors are slightly different, and pool slightly differently. This is most common when using hand-dyed yarns. No two skeins are the same, even among skeins within the same colorway.  This can be sometimes be mitigated by starting the new skein at the same spot in the color-repeat sequence, but that's not a certain fix.  Note Natalia/Skeincharmer's sweater below - the blue arrows show where each new skein was started.

Used with permission. © Natalia Vasilieva/Skeincharmer

One skein of my Ravelry Red sweater was a little lighter than the others. You can the light streak going across it, a couple of inches below the top:
© Cathy Byland Weeks

Sometimes however, the inconsistency when changing skeins was caused by something beyond the knitter's control. In the case below, the knitter used a very consistent, machine-made yarn, but the final skein was wound in the opposite direction to the previous ones.   Note the direction of the stripes and spirals in the hem:

Used with permission. © Nicole/Grudgemom

Example: Inconsistencies between matching garments

It's even possible for matching garments (like two socks in a pair) will look different, even when they are made from the same skein of yarn.
Used with permission. © Rebecca/itgirl

I don't know what caused Rebecca's socks to turn out so differently from each other, but it can be caused by several different factors:  
  • Knitting from both ends of the cake: If a knitter knits socks 2AAT, and knits from both ends of a single cake, the socks are going to turn out really differently, because the colors are going in opposite directions. 
  • Starting each sock at different points of the skein color sequence.  
  • Knitting the two items with slight (or extreme!) differences in gauge. This can happen even when the knitter used the same needles and stitch counts.
  • Differences within the skein itself - the first half of the ball may have different color-lengths than the second ball. 
  • Check your stitch counts. Yarn Harlot wrote about her socks being different because she knit one sock as a medium, and the second one as a small.
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