Socks at Home: BCS Carded Gradients

OK, this is the last post for the day! This is also the last pair of socks knit from the yarn I brought with me on vacation. That means I have knit a total of nine pairs of socks since the beginning of May. I will pause and pat myself on the back for that, thanks very much.

I saved these socks for last because this yarn is definitely the coolest I have produced in a while. It was made from the other half of the carded batts of the Hill Radnor breed and color study. I made them into two different kinds of gradients. One was a carded gradient, intentionally carding bits of the two batts together in differing amounts. The other was a little more loose: I started with a solid bit of color, then combo drafted two thin strips from each batt. I did aim to get more red on the red end and more blue on the blue end, but the combo drafting process doesn’t lend itself to precision, even you’re better at it than I am. Both skeins were chain plied.

Still, I was surprised that the skeins didn’t look so terribly different to me. Sure, the held-together gradient (right, above) has a bit more barber-poling than the other, but would the gradient be the same? The answer, I was delighted to discover, was a big fat NOPE.

The carded gradient sock looks exactly like you’d expect. A gorgeous shifting through purplish-brown hues, gently reaching through the color wheel to touch the opposite side.

The held-together gradient, though, stripes like crazy. I was always fighting the fibers, trying to get them to draft together, but one always was trying to take over. That’s what most of this sock looks like: an argument!

As to the color science itself: Supposedly, if you mix two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel, you get brown. And these are true complementary tertiary colors, I think: an orange-red and a green-blue. But the middle isn’t brown. Or rather, it makes me question: what is brown, anyway? What is the color that I think of as brown? Maybe that area in the middle of the color wheel, where complements touch and mix, isn’t just mud. Maybe each meeting of complements has its own flavor, and is a land of much more subtlety and nuance than I can guess.

This flavor of brown is, I suppose, a mauve-ish purple. Since, I suppose, if these two colors aren’t exactly complements, they angle a bit toward the cooler side of the wheel.

Fiber-wise, this yarn was definitely easier on my hands than the cable-ply. Maybe I wasn’t knitting it down quite so hard, but I suspect that the nubbly texture of cabled yarn made it feel more spikey, while the roundness of the finer 3-ply is just more in my comfort zone. Hill Radnor isn’t the pleasantest stuff on the hands, but I’m hoping it pays off in hard-wearing socks.

And this is half of my breed and color study done! The carded half, of course. I never guessed I would attack the carded batts first, but that’s what happened. They contained both the expected and the unexpected, which is exactly what one hopes for. I look forward to wearing these socks this winter, and, let us hope, for many winters to come.

5 thoughts on “Socks at Home: BCS Carded Gradients

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