Yarn flashing means you are deliberately making the color sections of your yarn line up row by row so the knit looks like it was knit with undyed yarn and then brushed with dye in a watercolor effect after you finish your knitting.
Yarn flashing will only work with variegated yarns that are purchased in hanks that are hand dyed rather than in balls or skeins that are commercially dyed. The hank needs to look like it has clear color sections spanning the strands of the hank as your eye travels around the hank.
This is a great project to try if you are learning to dye yarn as you can decide how many inches between each color you are applying to the hank you have wound so you get this effect when you are knitting.
A great way to shorten the project to find the flash value is to knit a swatch of your yarn before you do the yarn dyeing. You can then apply the yarn dye in the sequence you need as you are dyeing once you get the following information.
See how much yarn it takes to knit 1 row using 30 stitches, mark your yarn and continue knitting 19 more rows, mark that place on your yarn and unravel back to your first marking after you measure your gauge of the swatch.
This way you can knit until you find the stitch size that will produce the texture you want. Use 30 stitches for easy calculation.
If your yarn is something you already purchased that was dyed, you will need to take a different approach to finding your flash value.
Take your hank of yarn and put it on your swift or if you don’t have a swift you can be creative and perhaps put out 3 cans of soup and wind around them on a table. Measure the length of one full color repeat sequence. Then measure the length of the repeat of any other hanks of the same color wave that you purchased for your project. Use only those hanks that are quite close in the color sequence measurements to wind your yarn into center pull balls.
Knit several waste yarn rows to start, then start knitting with your dyed yarn and knit one row, put a safety pin through the yarn strand itself at the top of the last stitch on the first row, then knit nineteen more rows. Mark this end of the yarn with a safety pin through the yarn, remove from the knitting machine and unravel back to the first safety pin. Measure the length of yarn you used.
Knowing how much yarn per 30 stitches you are knitting, you can figure out the per-stitch yarn length you need. Grab your calculator and by figuring out how many stitches you would need to have to knit one repeat’s worth of yarn and two repeat’s worth of yarn you can do the math to see what the circumference of your sweater would be at your given gauge and stitch size for the “flash value” number of stitches.
To make the yarn flash, you have to knit in the round. Check both your front bed and back bed stitch sizes to be sure you know what tension to use. Some machines are different on each bed so you will need to check your own knitting machine to have that information before you begin. You want both the front and back of your tube to look the same.
Knit to the length you want your sweater to be. You will have to cut out for the armholes and stitch the sleeves into the cut out area. You can do that by hand or machine.
Your sleeves are not going to flash because they are shaped when you are knitting them so a good way to do sleeves is to use a contrasting yarn in one of the colors for the sleeves and use that same contrasting yarn on the sweater as detail so it looks like you meant to do your sweater like that.
It is a fun way to use yarns and the end results can be quite stunning. Try flashing and have a great time creating beautiful and interesting sweaters. Then get ready for lots of compliments.