Monday, August 06, 2007

A lesson in values


I haven't done much in the last week, but I did finish my Blue Herring socks. They fit well, and I'd recommend the pattern (Red Herring, Fall 2006 Knitty). And I've certainly learned something about putting colours together! The concept of colour value is something I'd never thought about before I started reading about quilting. Here's the definition from About.com:

Color value refers to how dark or light a color is. Pieces of quilting fabrics cut from colors of the same value blend when sewn side by side. Fabrics of contrasting color values have clearly defined edges when sewn together.

It's easy enough to pick up two balls of yarn, hold them together, and think the colours look good together (which is how I chose the yarn for these socks). But then it's very weird to knit them up and watch them just kind of blend into each other (which is, as you can see, exactly what happened).


Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. I'm happy to have learned this lesson, and I like my socks, too. This would be a good first-Fair Isle project, I think, since the pattern is so consistent and the yarn is never carried farther than two stitches. I know you want to have a look behind the scenes:


I knit these, as I always do, on a circular needle (magic loop). I used a 2.50mm needle for the leg (since it has very little stretch) and my usual 2.25mm for the ribbing and foot. The yarn is SandnesGarn Sisu: two 50g balls of blue (#7133) and one ball of camel (#2543).

Up next: Charade. I've already cast on and knit about four inches on the first sock, using a very dark brown (Scheepjes Invicta Extra). I have some blue Sisu left over from these blue herrings, and I'm going to use it for contrasting heels and toes -- because it actually will contrast with the dark brown. (See? I'm learning.)

I worked on my quilt yesterday, and I'm almost ready to attach the binding. Re: my last post, I just wanted to say I'm not against machine quilting per se, and I do want to learn to do that too. But my current quilt is only 40 inches by 40 inches, and I wanted to learn to handquilt first. It's like learning to do long division by hand before starting to use a calculator, or something like that.

It's only 18 degrees outside right now, but last Friday it was so hot that Bill and I gave up trying to work by noon; we set up the fan in the living room and watched nine episodes of The Sopranos in a row. We're getting pretty close to the end...

18 comments:

Veronique said...

Love the inside look at the Red Herring socks :)
Those cute Charades are just tearing through blog-land! I always thought they'd look good in a dark color.

suzen said...

the socks look wonderful, despite the lack of value contrast. you'll probably get a ton of use out of them because they are more neutral as opposed to making something that was in very high contrast.

i'm not sure how you go about choosing your colours, but whenever i'm in the yarn shop and i'm trying to figure out if two colours go together i usually take the ends of both balls of yarn and twist them together to see how the colours react to one another. it's a trick that i was shown back when i was learning how to weave. also, if you haven't already picked up a colour wheel, you definitely should! for me, it's amongst the most used tools in my knitting bag. :)

carolyn said...

yeah i am infamous for always choosing fabrics that are "middle" range as opposed to "light" and "dark". i really have to force myself to get enough contrast. but once i do, it's like magic.

Jessica said...

This is a lesson I've had to learn myself more than a few times. But I've now thoroughly internalized it and always warn my customers. :) It's a real problem in quilting too.

gleek said...

did you do an after-thought heel? i love the way the stitches look there!

Sandra said...

i saw your Charade progress over on Ravelry. love love love your choice of yarn.

i like your red herring socks just the same. totally getcha about the color contrast, tho. i learned my lession when i cast on for some light grey/bubblegum pink fair isle mittens some time back.

Elizabeth said...

I like those Red Herring socks - the colors look cool together, even if they're not as differentiated as you might have wanted.

And NINE episodes of the Sopranos?? Wow - I think the most we've watched in a row is 5. Now I feel a little better. :)

Robin said...

I like how the colours softly blend with one another as well. Very nice. I hope you are staying cool.

Octopus Knits said...

Beautiful job! Even though the herringbone portion blends together some they're still lovely, but you're right, it's good to be thinking of things like color value when you're planning... so you have an idea of what to expect.

Chris said...

I like 'em! Sometimes high contrast, sometimes contrast - nice to shake it up.

Dísa said...

I love your socks. I think you've just inspired me to try this pattern.
I myself learned about the importance of color values only a few days ago when I finished my stripey Hyrnan Randalín shawl. It's made with two colors, dusky pale-pink and a light grey, and while these two colors look good together close-up, from far away the shawl looks like it's a muddy-brown color. Oh well, you live, you learn:)

Michelle said...

Wow, you're just tearing through the socks this summer!

The Herring socks are a little blendy, but they're so pretty.

Stacey said...

that is really interesting! I never would have thought they would have blended like that!

Andrea said...

I think they're beautiful socks!

I know what you mean though. I had picked up some light gray and mid green yarn to knit Eunny's Endpaper Mitts. The yarn looked like they contrasted enough but upon knitting it up, I couldn't tell the difference and had to frog.

marycatharine said...

Those socks are gorgeous!!! High contrast or not they are perfect. I can see how you might want the pattern to stand out a bit more but the subtle variations are wonderful.

Ellen said...

The insides of your herring socks are as beautiful as the outsides. Your comments about using contrasting colors reminded me of something I would like to see in Knitty or Interweave--an article on combining yarns for projects. It would help with stash maintenance to have some suggestions for borders, trims, etc.

shannon said...

I like the subtle difference in colors.

AliP said...

There is nothing wrong with subtlety. It has its place and those socks are very beautiful. Very classy and smooth.