Make Magic: Self-Striping Yarn + a Feather and Fan Pattern
What makes self-striping yarns different from gradient yarns; from variegated yarns; from self-patterning yarns? What do you call that cool skein of sock yarn in your stash? Well, handdyer Tina Whitmore tackles these questions in her newest video, in which she particularly focuses on the unique attributes and qualities of self-striping yarns. Her swatches and samples really show off the possibilities of these yarns—simple stitches come alive as hues shift one into the next.
One of the ways Tina distinguishes between gradient and self-striping yarns is the length of the color run. A self-striping yarn will have runs of 5 to 10 yards, while gradient sections have longer runs and the hues transition one to the next with a watercolor effect. Variegated yarns generally have shorter and possibly erratic bursts of color.
Beyond automatic striping in stockinette stitch, self-striping yarns can be used to create really neat effects in other stitches. Tina shows examples of short-rows, working in the round, garter mitered squares, center-out motifs, and a feather and fan pattern that really pops with the added stripes. She uses a variation of feather and fan lace, along with her self-striping Flux yarn, in the cool cowl pattern that comes with the new video.
There is also a kit, which includes two balls of Flux yarn, available for a limited time. Feather and fan is a simple pattern, but the undulations it creates really shine with a self-striping yarn. Grab the kit today and you can try out Tina’s own handdyed self-striping yarn, produced in California in limited quantities.
This video is inspiring for knitters who like to experiment with color, but may not be interested in traditional colorwork such as Fair Isle or intarsia. Tina also goes over how yarn companies make self-striping yarns, and some tips for making your own. If you have a warping board handy (a tool used by weavers), you can wind long skeins and dye your own self-striping yarn—maybe using some of the techniques covered in Kitchen Dyeing.
Another neat tip for making your own self-striping yarn is to dye knitted blanks—premade strips of stockinette fabric that you dye and then unravel into yarn. Since many dyers use blanks for making striping yarns, the knitting and then ripping has some unique effects on the final yarn—Tina offers some insight to this and tips for handling the crimpy, unraveled yarn. She also has tips for managing stripe height between wide and narrow fabric—body versus sleeve, for instance—and fun ideas for hats, afghans, and garments using self-striping yarn.