One of the hot topics surrounding variegated or hand dyed yarns is that it will "pool." This bothers some people, but I think it gives an interesting character to the knitted piece. That said, you have to make careful choices about knitting patterns when knitting with yarns that move from one color to the next...too much patterning with too much color shifting can end up in a cacophony of knitting that can genuinely bother the eyes.
I'm loving this "London 2012" yarn I'm making a sock out of. I picked Anne Budd's "Go to Sock" pattern for this yarn even though I've made 2 pairs of them already (I tend to prefer not to repeat the same pattern, but this sock pattern is so easy to memorize and it just flies off the needles...plus it fits great and looks good with variegated yarns!).
One of the neat characteristics of this pattern is that you start knitting the calf part with larger needles. This gives that part more stretch, and while it's a good idea to use small needles on socks because the denser fabric wears better, you don't tend to wear out the calf of the sock, so a looser fabric here isn't a bad idea. This allows the sock to fit over any size of calf and gives it much versatility--especially if you don't know the exact measurements of the person you're giving the sock to.
I'm keeping this sock for myself, and while I don't have a huge calf, it is definitely bigger than my ankles so I decided to go ahead and knit the calf part with the larger needles. Then after 3.5 inches it was time to switch to the smaller needles...and look what happened.
I was really enjoying how the red was actually spiraling around the calf. I was thinking that while this is a great Olympics color scheme, it is also a great Christmas color scheme and the candy cane stripes just added to it...but now look at it. When I switched to the smaller needles, the lesser amount of yarn being used means that my stripes not only start going at a much steeper angle (I expected that) but that it's going in the opposite direction!
Fairly soon, and by that I mean within 10 rows, I'll start working on the heel flap and turn. This is going to create another interesting effect with the color scheme. I can't wait to see what happens! Stay tuned. I'll be sure to share!