Yarn bossing

Do you happily knit from the ball, taking the yarn as it comes? Or are you more of a yarn bosser? Do you look at the colours in a ball of gradient yarn, and decide where you want to start, or move things along a bit if you're getting bored of a particular colour? Or are you one of those people who cuts out the dissonant shade in a ball of Noro?

These are the Hyacinthus armwarmers I shared yesterday. They are knitted using a single ball of Zauberball, which is divided into two. I knitted the first armwarmer straight from the ball, with the colours landing as they felt like it. As I knitted, I urged the purple to arrive, and happily it appeared towards the top of the hand. When I came to cast on my second armwarmer it was a different story... While I knew that a matching pair was going to be too tricky to engineer, I wanted the second mitt to look like it was at least related to the first one. So the first thing I did was to wind one of the balls on, so that it started with the ribbing in the same colour as the first one. Then I dived in and started to work on my helical stripes. It became clear very quickly that if I just let things play out naturally, I was going to end up with an armwarmer that was mostly dirge-y dark green. So I started some serious yarn bossing...

 You can see the ends hanging where I have broken and moved the yarn along.

You can see the ends hanging where I have broken and moved the yarn along.

I broke one of the yarns, and wound it along until I was still in the same colour, but nearer the end of it. I then knitted a few more rounds through the area where the yarn was changing colour, before repeating the trick and breaking the yarn, winding it on and rejoining it. I still have a stretch where both yarns were the same colour, but it is MUCH shorter than it would otherwise have been. I think it helped that I wound the yarn on in two sections, rather than just one big one, as I was keen to avoid having an obvious colour jump. Rather I just wanted it to blend faster from one shade to the next.

Fast forward up the hand, and I started to realise that I wasn't going to reach the purple before the end of the armwarmer. Eek! I definitely wanted some purple in both mitts, so after splitting for the thumb I wound on the pale green, in search of the purple. Unfortunately I did this late in the evening, in front of the TV, and the light wasn't great. As you can see by the ends dangling from my knitting towards the top - the colours don't match particularly well. I think it will be OK though. The thumb provides a visual break anyway, so the skip along to the purple should be fine. So there's my second armwarmer, with its colours well and truly bossed into line.

This is all in total contrast to my Wood Warbler cowl which I shared yesterday... I just cast that on and knitted it exactly as the balls landed. Schoppel Gradient has really long colour repeats (longer than a single ball of yarn), so if there's a colour you particularly want to include in your cowl, it's probably worth re-winding the ball so that you start at that shade.

In the meantime, as a book-finishing palette cleanser, I've cast on a pair of plain socks in a pretty Zauberball. I could happily knit plain socks in Zauberballs for a long, long time! For a plain project like this, with no worries around stripes or contrast, I will likely just knit happily from the ball as it lands...

 The Autumn is Timeless colourway is going to make a lovely pair of socks.

The Autumn is Timeless colourway is going to make a lovely pair of socks.

...at least for the first sock. All bets are off for sock number two. I might just cast on and go with a pair of happily fraternal socks, of if the mood takes me, perhaps I'll aim for something that matches a little more closely...

How about you? Do you go with the flow? Or are you more of a yarn bosser?