I will admit it: I love variegated yarns. There's something about seeing a skein of yarn blending together a symphony of disparate colours that just makes me reach for my wallet. I love to just look at it, sitting in the basket on my wall, like a work of art, or to take it down and stroke its softness, to wonder at the way the colours meld together and complement each other.
Of course, yarn isn't meant only for looking at; it's also meant for knitting (or crocheting or weaving or whatever your thing is.) The thing is: sometimes once you wind that skein into a ball and start knitting with it, you might begin to think that it's lost its charm. The yarn may start to stripe in some weird way, or to pool colours into big blobs, and you might look at it and wrinkle your nose at the way it's distracting from the stitch patterns. I mean, face it -- sometimes variegated yarns don't make the nicest end products.
With that in mind (and because of my self-imposed yarn diet) I've been plugging away, this year, at using up all of the variegated yarns I bought back when I was so enamored of them. I decided that perhaps semi-solids are more my thing, since they show off fancy patterns more, and don't look so (dare I say) gaudy when you wear the end product.
What I inadvertently discovered is that I really love variegated yarns. I realized that the joy of knitting a pair of socks is only partly that you get to wear them and show them off when they're done. There is also so much joy and pleasure in the quiet hours and hours (and hours) of meditatively knitting them, of seeing one colour parade after another along my needles, of making each little loop and watching how the change from magenta to coral makes this fantastic fade of rosy pink for just a moment in the middle. To see each of the colours I love slide past my finger and onto the needles never ceases to amaze me.
Some people wonder why sock knitters don't buy the $1 sport socks at department stores. Why would I want to deny myself hours and hours of pleasure, soaking in the saturated myriad of colours in a skein of sock yarn, not to mention the satisfaction and comfort of wearing custom-sized socks that I made myself, just to save a few bucks? Besides, what you might spend on going to see a film that will entertain you for a couple of hours, I will gladly spend on a skein of variegated sock yarn, that I get to enjoy for days or weeks as I knit it, and for months or years as I wear the gaudy stripey colour-blobby socks, afterward.
A wolf in the hand
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