“What?” I hear you say. My daughter Meg is a dyer, and not just an ordinary one. She dyes chiefly self-striping patterns and color-graduated patterns that she calls Evolutions. Here is an example of an Evolution of hers that I knit a while ago – this is called Ember and is knit with Muse, the lovely silk/merino blend I’m working with now on the Waterlily shawl.
And here is that same colorway in it’s self-striping form (though this set also has thrums in the same colorway, so it’s not a pure example.)
This gives you an idea of how an Evolution works, compared with a self-striping version. It also points out how the same colorway – the same dyes – looks very different depending on the base yarn dyed.
OK, but what about this Mutating Variegate bit? That is Meg’s name for a self-striping or evolution yarn where the different stripes are themselves variegated. One of her mutating variegate colorways is called Valkyrie. Here is a pair of socks in Valkyrie dyed on Playful, a superwash merino that ends up with very vivid colors:
If you look closely at that picture, you will see yellowy-brown stripes, pink stripes and purple stripes, all of which are themselves variegated and which blend seamlessly into each other.
In a mutating variegate evolution, you get whole large sections of each of the shades in the colorway, gradually shading into other colors. Knitting with a mutating variegate evolution, particularly one like Waterlily where the colors are all somewhat similar in tone, is a fascinating experience. The colors are lovely and subtle in each section and so far, I can scarcely see the changes but I’m not knitting with the same colors as at the beginning. It’s hard to work on other projects right now. I’ve tried to get pictures that will show what I mean, but I can’t really capture these colors. Here are a couple of ideas.
If you look carefully at the photo above, you’ll see that the beginning of the shawl is in deeper greens and blues than the part I’m knitting now. (You can also start to get an idea of the pattern stitch I’m working with.)
This photo gives you an idea of the colors that are coming up. Watching the slow, elegant changes appear as you knit is just so much fun!
So there’s this feeling that you really must knit something worthy of the beautiful yarn. I don’t know that I’m doing so. I fear that I am using too big a needle. I think the drape is going to be great, but is the pattern just not what it should be as loose as it is? I’m not sure that it isn’t going to be great. Lace knitting is just so hard to tell about, because blocking makes such a difference. But this isn’t the same problem I usually have with lace, either. Gosh, it’s hard to know whether to continue when something is “almost right” (unless the problem is fit, in which case I know I want to stop if it isn’t quite right.) For now, I’m continuing.