Variegated yarn is so seductive.

I’ve seen a lot of beautiful variegated yarn and I remain convinced that “seduction by variegation” is responsible for 39.4 percent of all stash acqusition by otherwise responsible knitters. You know that scene in A Bug’s Life where the little bug is flying toward the zapper ant and he just can’t help himself? “It’s too beautiful! I can’t look away!” That one? Variegated yarn is like that.

I might need more sock needles if this keeps up.  Or more hands.The problem with variegated yarn is that it’s (not to belabor the obvious, but it has to be said) variegated. You get it home and thumb through umpty-jillion sock patterns and you end up saying over and over “That won’t work with this yarn. Nope, that won’t work either.” It’s enough to turn a girl into a serial swatcher, sampler of many stitch patterns, fan of none. Exhibit #1: My purse, whose contents include two sets of DPNs (size 1), one 40″ circular, size 2, six sock patterns and a back issue of Interweave Knits (also including a sock pattern). To make matters worse, I’m considering two additional patterns I haven’t even printed out yet. (I printed them; see the frenzy above.)

I could blame it on the fact that my Sockapaloooza pal is an experienced sock knitter; sending her a pair of plain-vanilla stockinette socks (even if they are in a yarn which makes knitters drool with envy) seems like I’m saying “I care, but not a whole lot.” It follows from this that ribbed socks say “I care enough to purl, but your socks will look sort of manly.” I blame it all on the Koigu.

So pretty, I can't look away.I am completely smitten with this yarn. Purchased quite awhile ago and destashed for this special occasion, it meets the Sockapaloooza-worthiness test of “so beautiful to me that I will regret giving it up.” And yet? It’s too variegated. I thought it was understated, but that’s only in comparison to the other Koigu I’ve got stashed away (see masthead, above). I cannot find a pattern that isn’t swallowed by the riot of color in the skein.

I also can’t find a pattern that meets my unspoken criteria of showing off my mad knitting skillz without taking forever to knit. I am not one of those “sock a week” knitters – unless it’s stockinette and I work on nothing else. And I feel compelled to uphold the high standards set last swap; I received cashmere lace socks last time around. In an attempt to shake off the sock-starting funk, I set aside the Koigu to begin a pair of Evelyn Clark’s lovely Go With the Flow Socks in Plymouth Sockotta; the results were nice, but I’m not 100 percent sold. Plus, I made lace socks last swap, and don’t want to do the same thing twice. (I know it wouldn’t really be the same, because I have a new sockpal this time around, but humor me). Only in comparison to Koigu would this be called ugly - it's nice It’s ironic to me that I had no problem using the yarn (hum a few bars of MacArthur Park here: “this Koigu may never be available again“), but I have great angst over how to use it. I think I need to get over my need to show off for my sock pal pick a lane (so to speak), and get down to knitting, or it will be May 1 before I know it.

5 thoughts on “Variegated yarn is so seductive.

  1. terby

    That’s exactly why I’m trying to stay away from the variegated yarns now. They’re so pretty, but I don’t want to have to limit myself to plain stitch patterns. What I really want is a sock yarn with very subtle variegation that can be used in the more interesting patterns…

    Gorgeous yarn. I look forward to your solution!

  2. Kim

    Your post made me laugh out loud because that’s my favorite line from A Bug’s Life :o)

    I’m one of those people with the variegated yarn weakness. You’re right, it can be hard to find just the right pattern for such pretty (and busy!) yarn.

  3. Kit

    I like the Pomatomus, if that would help sway your opinion in the slightest. I knit it up in some Regia and it looked pretty dang good.

  4. Christine

    I think that is the reason why my Koigu has never been knit. I love it so much, but it is so hard to find the right pattern.

    Crusoe from Knitty would be good, but falls sort of into the same category as the ribbed sock. How about some of the Koigu sock patterns? Or some of the Cherry Tree Hill patterns? (I have a scanner and can send you some to look at if you would like. Let me know.)

    Off topic, but your sidebar doesn’t have comments – I pet the Merino Oro yarn every single time I walk into my LYS. It is quite lovely to the touch. Cherry Tree Hill makes a GREAT laceweight merino too, and the price can’t be beat! I loved knitting with it.


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