January 21, 2014

31 Taking "Fine Art" Literally - Planned Pooling with Rowan Fine Art Aran


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


As you may know, I am a lucky lucky girl, and receive sample skeins of new yarns coming from Rowan.  I was head-over-heels for their new fingering weight sock yarn, Fine Art.

My Fine Art Tee is blogged here.


Elfe Sweater, knit by Dayana Knits from How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting


My Fine Art Hood is blogged here.


Hood in Rowan Fine Art, knit by Dayana Knits


But then I got this in the mail, Fine Art's big brother: Fine Art Aran.


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


To be honest, I did not like it!  First, I really don't go for highly variegated yarns.  Second, the colors in the skein seemed to be such a mish mash, I didn't know how on earth they could ever knit up well.

That being said, they do look good together in this parrot!  :p


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


But I didn't want to look like a parrot.

In fact, most of the colors didn't match my sensibilities, but I know people do love highly-variegated yarns.

There are currently eight shades in this 50% wool, 25% alpaca, 20% mohair, 5% silk blend.  Note: fingering weight Fine Art has no alpaca, but 25% polyamide instead (ideal for socks).  Unfortunately, this change has turned what was a nice, soft yarn into a very scratchy yarn.  You will need to wear something under any garment you make!

Can you guess my colorway?

How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)



One of the reasons I'm not into variegated yarns is POOLING.  This is demonstrated well in some of the garments from the Fine Art Aran Mini-Collection... by the way, named after famous artists (See Theme):


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)
See Van Gogh on Ravelry

It works better in this free pattern, Jupiter:



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


The yarn can go so crazy in some places, and less in others because the skeins are "space-dyed" with high-contrast colors. 

You can tell a space-dye when you have really stark changes of colors, usually hand-dyed on the skein, as in Fine Art Aran.


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


This is done to great effect in sock yarns from Opal, where one yarn creates intentional striping colorwork.  How about that, another Van Gogh!  There is a whole series of Opal Van Gogh socks, colored after his paintings.


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


How on earth do they manage to do that, you ask?  Planned Pooling!!  Basically, if you know the width of the item you are going to knit (and a sock is generally a predictable width), you can dye yarn so that it pools together to make a pattern.

WOWZERS, WATERMELONS!!

How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)
Originally from knitpurlgirl.etsy.com

But how about working it backwards?  Can you take a space-dyed yarn and figure out the pattern it will make?  Hell, yeah.

Karla Steubing (a.k.a. Statnerd on Ravelry) is the queen of Planned Pooling on the internet.  Read her detailed article in Twist Collective, and check out some of her projects on Ravelry:


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)

How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)

How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


There is a calculator on the web for this, plannedpooling.com.


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


HOW TO DO IT

1. Open up your skein (or pull many lengths of your ball and loop it into a skein) to see the color order, starting anywhere.

I saw 12 colors, in a 6-color repeat:
Green - Orange - Green - Blue - Purple - Blue 

NOTE: Make sure to measure each wave of color, even if they repeat themselves, the hand-dyer may have made some of them different lengths!


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


2. Make a swatch (about 30 sts wide), and record how many stitches each color band takes.  It will be a bit different each time the color comes up, so take an average.  

This is where my note above came in handy... one "orange" was 7 stitches, but the other was 9!



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)



3. Start knitting again for a few rows (maybe 50 sts this time) and double- check your stitch counts.  If you are falling short most of the time, decrease the number of sts in that color band.  It's much easier to loosen stitches than to tighten them, believe me.

4. Go to plannedpooling.com.  Add colors until you have enough, then go through the color wheel to pick the perfect colors.  End by filling in the number of stitches for each color.




How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


5. Start a "virtual" knit.  Change the stitch count by one to see the magical changes!




How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)



6. IMPORTANT: I don't think a knitter wrote this program, honestly.  A knitter's chart starts at the bottom right and goes left.  Well... this chart reads like a book.  The fix this, turn it 180 degrees, clockwise.



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)

7. Cast-on your determined stitch count and knit!  You can use the print-out as a chart (much like a colorwork chart), or you can just memorize the number of stitches you need for each color.

NOTE: It is important that you keep to the number.  If you come out with less stitches, pull the stitches very tight until you come close.  If you come out with more stitches, loosen them up to get to the right number.  I thank this blog post for this crucial advice!

8. If you eventually find yourself off by a stitch, that's ok.  I left out a stitch 1/3 through and didn't notice until much later, but the eye can't see the difference.  Don't do this too often though, you will notice eventually!



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)

Now, one of the problems with a fun planned pooling project like this is that you're making squares/rectangles... and there are a limited number of projects that use this shape, right?

I thought about sewing it into a cowl, much like Life Lackadaisical's in-the-round "swatch cowls", which came out quite nice.  But seriously guys, this yarn is very scratchy.



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)

I thought about a messenger bag.  Cool, but a lot more work and having to find contrast yarn...



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)
Cocoknits Felted Messenger Bag pattern here

I thought about a pillow with a fabric backing, but it might shock you to know that my living room does not look like this.


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


And then I thought... if it's called Fine Art, let's make it literally into fine art!

I bought a $3 canvas at the "Dollar" store (is anyone else annoyed that nothing seems to be a dollar anymore?).


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)

I gathered my tools.



How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


I started nailing, making sure to weave the nail through the yarn strands so it caught.


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)



It took A LOT of nails.  I gave up at some point, cuz really, it was okay, I wasn't going to sell it.


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)

How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


OR WAS I?!  :)


See my Fine Art, Literally on Ravelry


How to do Planned Pooling in your knitting, blogged by Dayana Knits (here using Rowan Fine Art Aran yarn)


31 comments:

  1. Just amazing! You are just so clever and talented!!

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  2. You are a knitting genius. This is awesome. It would be perfect for my imaginary yarn room:). Maybe machine sewing it onto a fabric first would call for less nails?

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely! This is really a question of pure laziness. I thought, how could I get away with this with less work and stuff that is mostly in my house already? Now, see, I don't really like the colors in this yarn. But if I DID, I certainly would use a backing, that is a grand idea.

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  3. I can't think of a better use for this yarn... because I also don't particularly like strongly variegated yarns. Planned pooling is so, so clever (math in action!), but the end result always seems to give me a headache.

    Quick comment / typo notice: surely the yarn content can't be "50% wool, 25% alpaca, 25% mohair, 5% silk" - these add up to 105%.

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    Replies
    1. Aha, thank you for that! It is only 20% mohair, off to fix it. But see, now you've proven to me that you are a math person too, headache or no! ;)

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  4. Thanks for this extremely interesting, detailed and informative post! I learned a lot. And you have created a wonderful wall hanging there!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, detail is everything. ;) Now, while this is fun, I can't say I would "move" this with me were I to change cities. Did I say how much I really dislike the colors? ;) However, it certainly is a conversation piece for the meantime.

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  5. It's a very interesting blog post. I knew that there had to be math behind fighting the pooling but never spent the time to figure it out. I've made the watermelon socks and liked the way they turned. It was fun to see the watermelon appearing. I've taken 2 dye classes and have the yarn and dyes here to make some yarn.... just no time at the moment. Thanks for an excellent post.

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  6. Really, Dayana...you are one amazing knitter...and one amazing communicator!

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  7. I enjoyed this post both for the humour and technical details about planned pooling. I agree with you about strong colours in variegated yarns; even when I like the colours they can be difficult to use in a pleasing way. I like them in slip stitch patterns, alternated with a single colour yarn; theses patterns can calm the colours down so that they become more wearable!

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    Replies
    1. I agree about the slip stich patterns... variegated yarns can be gorgeous when used in this way! My personal favorite is linen stitch. I believe it's used in this recent men's Rowan pattern, and I love how the yarns blend: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/guido-3

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  8. Oh, and I should have said, I love the finished piece - fantastic wall art, just not to wear!

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  9. I genuinely think knitted pictures will one day be as valuable as old tapestry samplers and other art. They would be hot sellers at a craft fair as well.

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    Replies
    1. I think it's worth a try! :) It could be a business, there are so many beautiful yarns out there. I just found another in my stash, I'm excited to try out a larger piece with planned pooling. This stuff is Bernat, so it should be really dependably dyed. I hope. :p

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  10. Wow - I am always in awe at what you come up with. I have to say I'm like a kid in a candy store when it comes to variegated yarn and then the skeins just sit in my stash and I don't know what to do with them. Thanks for pointing out the math and the pooling website. And I think the "art" is just fab.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Now it's just up to me to actually fine a skein with colors that match my couch. ha!

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  11. Thank you for such an interesting and educational posting!

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  12. I think that your pricing is entirely reasonable, in the world of Art :)

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    Replies
    1. Honestly, I should have added another zero! ;)

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  13. Thank you for sharing this knowledge. I would have never thought of doing planned pooling.

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  14. That's a brilliant idea! I've never tried planned pooling before, but after this I may have to give it a go.

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  15. you are amazing. I"ve never seen something so well thought out. Your products are amazing but so far above me I can't even try at tone

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    Replies
    1. I think, in the end, this is one of those projects that boggles the mind... but when you get down to the nitty gritty, it's not so difficult. If you ever feel like taking the plunge... I have your back. :) Thank you for reading!

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  16. Thanks for the links and the excellent tutorial on planned pooling (and may I say that I love the striping in the 83-stitch version of this yarn. Tempting!) I wonder, though, how Rowan could make a scratchy yarn with so much alpaca in the blend? Properly sorted and spun alpaca is like butter, in my experience.
    -- stashdragon

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    Replies
    1. The scratchiness of the yarn completely surprised me, let me tell you! Especially for the price. I've heard that if the alpaca used has a lot of "guard hairs", they prickle right down into your skin, like a hairy cactus. Yikes. You can see long thick hairs on the yarn, so that must be them. THE 83 STITCH TOTALLY TEMPTED ME... if I had another skein it would have been the diptych, lol! But I had to try the plaid first. If another skein falls my way...

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  17. What a great post! Your posts are so interesting and well put together, I only hope that one day I can develop the knitting skills you possess!

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  18. Great post, Dayana! I'm so pleased that my work inspired you.

    Karla (aka Statnerd)

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    Replies
    1. And I hope it's like a chain reaction from here... thanks so much for reading! :D

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  19. Thank you for this post! I've been puzzling over how to duplicate a project that pooled unexpectedly in an argyle-like way. This was very helpful.

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  20. Mathematics and creative approach will help to create graphics masterpieces from the chaos of colors! Thanks for the post

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Thanks for your comment! :)

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