Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Combining colours isn't really my thing. I can certainly appreciate good combinations other people put together, but ask me to put things together, and I kind of flail around picking things semi-randomly.

For this year's Tour, several of the socks call for more than one colour of yarn, and the next stage is one of them. There's all sort of wild speculation about what technique the pattern will actually call for - people with more experience in this area are basing their ideas on the indicated pattern gauge, with terms like shadow knitting, illusion knitting (same thing as shadow knitting, I know), mosaic, or even straight up stranded being tossed around. I've never done illusion before, and it's on my list of techniques I'd like to have a whack at some day, so that would be fun, but I don't do much mosaic or stranded either, so I'd be happy with those too.

In any event, I'm not speculating, because I don't have any experience to guide me, but I do need to prepare for pattern drop on Thursday. That means gathering up two yarns that I think work well together, and because I am me, I want them to match in fibre content. Optimally, they'd even be from the same dyer/brand, and my original plan was to just pop two skeins of sponsor yarn together. But, looking at the quantities, it seems as though there'd be lots leftover - the supply list calls for 190 - 250 yards of each colour. That's basically 50 g per colour. Understanding that made me hesitate in breaking into two skeins of precious sponsor yarn - after all, I only need to use one to get the sponsor bonus point.

Then I remembered the skein that I used for last year's stage one socks, then undid because I didn't care for the fit. That yarn is a 75%/25% merino/nylon blend. I have a few random balls of Knit Picks Stroll in my not-so-mini-anymore stash, and some are even in weird quantities since I got them in kits, so there's too much for a pair of socks, but probably not enough for two. Pairing these up seemed a good opportunity, since the Stroll is also 75%/25% merino/nylon.

One of the odd quantities I have is in a colourway called Basalt Heather - it's a deep grey, and I used some of it in my first Tour. Thanks to that one kit I bought, I had 3 50 g balls left, plus the remnants from what I used for that one pair. It seemed to me that this was a great way to use some of it up, and still have enough left for another pair of socks. So I grabbed the odd ball, and wound it up in preparation. If it turns out that the 50 g isn't really enough, I can dig out the little remnant balls, and still not have to break into the remaining two balls.

I put my pre-wound cakes together, and all was happy and fine for a couple of days. And then I remembered something I saw ages ago, something about colour theory, something I've been seeing in the Tour chatter threads since it snuck its way back into my consciousness.

There they are, on a black background, with a ball of black Stroll too. The grey and the variegated pinky red are quite distinct from each other. But, if you convert the photo to greyscale to assess contrast:

Suddenly they're not so different. They have similar values. And that's got me worried, because the supply lists recommend high contrast yarns, and while my eyes tell me that these are really different colours, I'm worried that whatever the stitch pattern is, it'll get muddied up by the similar values of the two colours.

That's why the black ball is there. I'm going to wind it up, and it'll be my fallback plan, and when the pattern drops and I can see it, then I'll make the final call. I'm just so unsure. Does value only matter if your colours are in the same family/part of the colour wheel? Or is it always going to factor in to contrast?

If you've got some colour theory know-how, advice is well appreciated. This monochromatic girl is so very confused.

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