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    Wild color

    Using Hand-Dyed Yarns: Epic or Fail?

    If you are like me,  you have many, many hand-dyed yarns in your stash! I am just so drawn to bright, vibrant colors and it is hard to walk away from a beautiful skein.  The question is what kind of garment should be made with these yarns to really show them off.  I have learned a couple of lessons the hard way and I wanted to share these with you so you will be pleased with your knitting, crocheting or weaving results.

    There are 2 categories of hand-dyes: semi-solid and wild color. The skeins below are what I would call wild color. They have multiple colors sitting next to each other in the skein. They can be manipulated to pool if you like seeing spots of color, or they can appear like random color.

      
    When you use a wild color skein, use simple stitches and simple shapes to really show off the colors you so love. Let the color itself do the work.  A pattern like Hitchhiker would be wonderful to use.  When you use a pattern with more complex shapes or patterns you might get an epic fail, like this shawl I made with a 2 color skein. You can barely see the lovely leaf shapes.
     
    I also love wild color for socks and cowls, because I like to get pooling, stripes, argyles and spirals.
    I also like to use the inside and outside of the yarn cake so that each sock has a little different pattern.
    Because the wild color skeins have different color placement, for larger projects you may have a pattern change when you switch skeins.  You can minimize the jarring effect by knitting from two balls as you end one ball and begin the next. To go even further, you can compare your skeins to determine if the repeats are more similar from one end or the other of your skeins.
    The skeins above are semi-solid. They have variable saturation but are all one hue or color. For semi-solid skeins you can use all kinds of fancy stitches and patterns. They are great for cabling and for lacy shawls.  They really show off your knitting expertise.

    My one big caution is this, even if the skeins were dyed in the same dyepot, at the same time, they still may not match perfectly. Small batch kettle dyeing is just like that. So for bigger projects, like a sweater, you should absolutely knit from 2 balls when you are switching skeins. I would also suggest that you pick your skeins carefully to make sure the ones you get match well.  If you don’t do this, you will most probably get a definite line where you changed skeins and after all the work you just put into making this sweater you want to be totally happy with it.  Believe me I speak from experience! Another epic fail that I fixed by frogging and redoing is this sweater below. I reknit  the entire sweater using two balls. I was so frustrated that I didn’t even take a picture of the failed rendition.  Now that sweater gets raves by everyone who sees it.