Raglan, No Pooling

Here we go. I’ve taken apart a sweater I don’t wear, reconditioned the wool and now I’m going to get started on a new pullover. I hope to avoid colour pooling this time.

I’m working my Any Gauge Raglan Pullover pattern with a gauge of 5 sts = 1″. This wool has a lot of colour variation in every ball so … I’m going to knit it with 5 balls at the same time!!!

Yes, 5 balls, count ’em.

OK, OK, I didn’t start with 5. I started with one. I cast on all the stitches for the raglan neck opening with ball#1, placing markers as I went.

Then I got 3 more balls out and, working the raglan increases according to the pattern, I knit the Back with ball#1, knit the first shoulder with ball#2, knit the Front with ball#3, knit the second shoulder with ball#4. That takes me back to the beginning of the round. Each section of my raglan is knit with a different ball of wool and my first set of increases have been worked.

Here is where the Helix knitting (in this case, changing the yarn in the same place each time) comes into play. With one more ball, ball#5, I knit the Back to the marker, dropped that wool and slipped the marker. With the next ball, the wool that is sitting right there, I knit across the shoulder to the next marker. Dropped that wool and slipped the marker. Knit across the Front using the wool from the next ball that is sitting there. Slipped the marker and again with the wool that is sitting there, knit the second shoulder to the end of the round.

I know this sounds complicated but the wool you need to use is right there at each marker. You drop the wool you are knitting with, slip the marker and pick up the new wool and knit.

There is, of course, a TRICK. Do Not Twist the wool at each marker. When you approach a marker, take the wool strand you were just using and hold it to the right, slip the marker and pick up the new strand of wool from underneath. It’s not twisted.

Why bother with all this?

Two reasons. Because you don’t twist the wool when changing balls, there is no pull at the raglan lines where the markers are. It’s a smooth transition. Reason Two: THE BALLS DO NOT TANGLE.

How is this possible?

When you knit you are moving the yarn from the left needle to the right needle so the circle of knitting is moving clockwise. That twists the wool like this.

Every couple of rounds, grab your circle of knitting like a steering wheel and turn it counter-clockwise, like you’re making a left turn.

This really works!! I’m a little further along now. This is how the colour is coming out on my knit shoulder. An even distribution of uneven colour.

I’m pretty happy.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

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Helical knitting to the rescue

Sometimes, a technique that is used for one application can be used somewhere else to solve a different problem. It might be nothing the original technique was ever set up for. That is the case with Helical Knitting.

Helical Knitting is working coloured stripes in the round without a jog at the beginning of the round. In this sock, one stripe was a solid colour and one stripe was variegated.

If you haven’t heard of this or haven’t given it a try, this video is from the book Something New to Learn about Helical Knitting:

Basic 1×1 Helical Stripe video by Jen and Jim of Arnall-Culliford Knitwear.

Once you have mastered 1×1 stripes you can work 3 or more coloured stripes: Multi-round Helical Knitting. This hat has 4 colours.

All that’s great but where is the alternative application? Right here.

I am knitting with kettle dyed yarn. The general rule for knitting with yarn that’s not commercially dyed is to work with two balls of wool, alternating rounds. I am always afraid there might still be some pooling so I used 3 skeins and the Multi-Round Helical Knitting method.

I set it up for 3 stripes. I’m calling them stripes even though all the stripes are the same colour. It seems silly but it ties into the Helical technique video above. It means I have 3 balls coming from my project and yes, they do tangle but … I have very smooth colour with some colour variation but no pooling.

I will certainly be doing this again. This might be a terrific technique for you too.

Keep on, keeping on. Cheers, Deb

Gauge-Free and Any Gauge patterns by Deb

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