The double-edge factor about handdyed or handpainted yarns, especially variegated ones, is that while they can be OOAK (One Of A Kind Items) with unrepeatable colourways, they can also result in pooling, puddling or flashing. These are knitting terms which refers to how the colour sits in a pattern or project.

Pooling occurs when there is a large area of one colour next to a few other colours in the knitted object.

Puddling occurs when there are small spots or patches of colours in the knitted object.

Flashing refers to the zigzag lightning-like pattern of colours in the knitted object.

Some knitters don’t mind them while some hate them completely. I, for one, am neutral (variegated yarns have its own charm and all) but still, I try to keep in mind these things when I’m dyeing. At the moment, my colour lines are split into three techniques:

  • Space-dyed – a method where a few colour blocks are repeated throughout the skein. Usually, harmonious or complementary colours are used which will result in a variegated yarn with colour depth. Pooling will definitely occur in this instance and one way of making it less noticeable is to use a different stitch pattern or change your knitting gauge (needle size).
  • Random – a random and sometimes overdyed method where the skein is dyed a number of times with colours overlapping each other in random areas. This results in a very unpredictably coloured skein with light areas intermixed with dark ones. Pooling may or may not occur, and if it does, it is random.
  • Semi-solid – a method resulting in a nearly semi-solid skein with hues or light to dark gradients. Like the overdyed method, pooling may or may not occur, and if it does, it is random.

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