First let’s start this post with a mini muggle vocabulary lesson. In knitting, “pooling” has absolutely nothing to do with water. Pooling is what happens when you’re knitting with a yarn that has many different colors in it and the same colors start stacking on top of one another making a “pool” of a single color. Usually it’s a complete surprise when this happens. It’s basically a freak of math. Depending on how the rest of the colors are interacting and what the knitter’s intention for the project were this could end up looking either really cool or really crappy.
I have been experimenting with taming this freak of math and pooling my projects intentionally. I learned how to do this by taking a class called “Planned Pooling” taught by Gladys We (wenat on Ravelry – check out her projects page for tons of beautiful examples of planned pooling). Basically it involves laying out your skein of multi-colored yarn, figuring out the length of the color repeats, and then adjusting your knitting gauge until those color repeats stack on top of one another!
I had the perfect yarn to start with – bright colors, easily distinguishable, with decent sized color lengths, and nerdy to boot.
First I made a cowl with a simple seed stitch.
Then I tried playing with the pooling a bit by making a ribbed hat and accentuating the yellow parts with cables. Pardon the crappy selfie, I haven’t had a chance to do any glamour shots yet.
The class actually focused more on trying to keep vertical pooling, but I’ve been loving the swirls!
For my next trick, I wanted to see if I could make a smaller circumference project – how about fingerless mitts? That would come with the extra difficulty of having to repeat the process twice in order to get a set.
I decided on a simple 1×1 rib, but added a bit of interest by knitting through the back loop for all the knits – that just makes the ridges look more dramatic. For the thumb opening I thought I could just make a buttonhole and call it good. Unfortunately the buttonhole turned out looking a bit messy. On the side where it was started there’s a weirdly loose strand stretched across the thumb opening.
The other side looks fine though.
I’ve never really had an occasion to make a buttonhole before, so I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with my technique, or if I was just following some crappy instructions for a buttonhole. In any case, I’m going to have to figure out how to clean that up. Maybe a crocheted edge around the thumb opening? I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it. Other than that, the first mitt looks pretty good.
I’m not 100% sold on pairing that stitch pattern with this yarn. I was happier with the painterly quality of the seed stitch and the exaggeration of the cabling on the hat. The ribbing does make it VERY stretchy though, to the point where this could truly be considered a one-size-fits all project. That mitt fit my boyfriend’s man hands, my mother’s miniature hands, and everything in between!
Starting a second mitt to match it was a bit challenging. It took four tries before I could get the cast on to pool even remotely like the first one did. Even several inches into the knitting, one of the yellow swirls is looking way more chaotic than the other and I can’t seem to correct it. Oh well, I guess they’ll just have to be fraternal twins.
I have learned one thing from this experiment though – I don’t like trying to match pairs when I’m pooling. I’m better off sticking with single item projects from now on. My blood pressure will thank me for it.