Kaleidoscope socks

Good evening all! I finished up a pair of socks a few days ago and I'm just getting a chance to post about them. I decided to call them my Kaleidoscope socks because of all the crazy colors. The sock yarn is Imagination from Knit Picks in the

"Pirate King" colorway. I got this yarn a few years ago and finally got around to using it. I've got to say these socks were a bit of a challenge. Not due to the pattern (Yarmando's "Evil Genius") which was a breeze, but because of the quick color changes. From the toe right up to the point of the increases, things worked very well and the color pattern had a lovely random look to it. But once I started the increases for the gussett, things got weird. The colors started to pool in a way that was quite noticably different and unattractive.

So I ripped back to the beginning of the increases and added in a second strand of yarn, alternating it with the first one. This definitely helped, but not enough. The pooling was still too noticeable. So I ripped back again, and added in another strand of yarn, working strand 1, then 2, then 3, then 1, then 2, etc... This seemed to solve the issue and any pooling is so minimal that in order to see it you'd really have to be looking for it.

Something new that I tried on this pair of socks was a different bind off. On my last pair, I used the "Miraculous Elastic Bind Off" from slipslipknit.com. I really liked how stretchy it was, but was hoping for something less visible. Another I have tried in the past is Jeny Staiman's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off and I had similar results...very stretchy, but too visible. I also felt that the top of the sock flared out oddly. Well, Jeny has come up with another bind off that is just what I was looking for. She calls it the Interlock Bind Off.

It is on knitty.com as a tutorial article and there is a YouTube video which I found to be quite helpful. Though the video is for 1x1 ribbing, once you get the pattern of it, you'll find that it could be adapted to any kind of ribbing, or even no ribbing. It is a sewn bind off and I'll mention that it does require a bit of attention. Those who don't like kitchener stitch may not like this one. The steps are similar to kitchener, though everything is done on one needle. And though it took longer to do than other bind offs, I loved the end result and feel it is well worth it. You can see below how even after being stretched out, it returns to its relaxed shape quite nicely.

You can also see that I decided not to do any pattern or ribbing up the leg. I felt that with this yarn it's all about the colorway and the effect is really lost with anything other than plain stockinette. So I did 2x2 ribbing for the last 8 rows to make sure the top edge wouldn't roll over.

Well, I hope everyone had a great weekend and here's to a great Monday, too!

Take care, Ken.


Crafty Andy's picture

You did a great job and I love the yarn!

JRob's picture

Nice job Ken. It snowed here in STL today and I wore the sox I completed a week or so ago. Rob

Very nice socks, and I like the colors in your yarn, much taller than most of my socks. I have just finished a couple pairs of socks recently, guess I had better get my camera out.

KenInMaine's picture

Thanks! And yes, I was happy that there was enough yarn to go a little higher than usual on the leg!
I look forward to seeing your socks when you post about them!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Great job, Ken! I give you kudos for handling 3 strands of yarn to avoid pooling...I normally go with "Meh, it's what happens." I also agree that plain knit works best with such a colorful yarn rather than lose patterning details. Thanks, too, for mentioning the bind off; I'll have to explore it.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

kiwiknitter's picture

I'm with Joe here. The colourway is beautiful. I Know what you mean about the colour-pooling. You deserve lots of credit for tackling it with 3strands! I am interested in the bind off, not because I am looking for elasticity but rather I want the neatest cast off edges possible on sleeve and neck bands. This pair of socks are great!

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

KenInMaine's picture

Thanks! I know that Jeny mentions in her video take she used the bind off for a hat she had made from the top down. I'd be interested to hear how it works for you if you try it elsewhere.

KenInMaine's picture

Thanks, Joe. I have let some pooling go in the past, but I couldn't do it this time! Let us know what you think if you try the interlock bind off.

Tallguy's picture

That is something that has bothered me for a long time -- the pooling in some yarns. I have done some experiments, and it is interesting to see how the very same yarn reacts with different patterns.

Now, if you don't like the pooling, sometimes all you need to do is add 1 or 2 stitches (depending on the pattern) or reduce by 1 or 2 stitches, and you will find that the pooling just doesn't happen quite the same way. You may get some other interesting (or not-so-interesting) patterning happening.

You may notice this with some sweaters that are knit in the round, and you get a particular patterning showing up with the colours in the body. At the underarms, where you switch to back and forth knitting, the patterning is totally different! Even if you were to knit in the round using steeks, again the patterning would be different. This becomes most evident when doing a raglan sweater.

Commercial sweaters don't run into this problem because they knit yardage -- and then cut out the pieces for the sweater and serge them together. Therefore, the colour patterning will always be the same throughout a garment. But hand knitters run into some unique situations.

You have found one way to overcome that pooling, and I'm sure there must be some other methods as well.

CLABBERS's picture

Here's a video tutorial by Jenny Staiman which I think is very easy to follow.