Adventures in Dyeing, Part Three: Wind Science!

At the end of my last post, I had figured out my striping pattern, calculated the amount of yarn I needed to dye per stripe, and translated that to the number of wraps I’d need to make per section. My sketch looked like this:

Now I’ll tell you how that translates to wrapping the pegs. Remember, my pegs are laid out like this:

I turned that into a sketch as well:

The large colored dots correspond to each pair of pegs that I placed. The numbers between them refer back to the numbers I put on my stripe pattern above. The grey dots are the unused holes in my peg board. I included them to remind you that I spaced the pegs out 4 inches apart. The orange peg is an extra I put on the board to anchor my starting yarn tail.

With all this laid out, I knew that for one repeat of my stripe pattern, I had to go around the board wrapping pegs 8 times for each stripe. This was relatively simple to remember, but the stripe sketch is a good reference to keep handy for wrapping more complicated patterns.

I started winding my yarn. My yarn was in a center-pull cake to make it easy to handle. I used a slip knot to attach the end to the orange anchor peg. Then I wound yarn for stripe #1. I brought the yarn over the top of the upper blue peg, and wound clockwise around the pair of pegs 8 times. I wound loose enough that the sub-skeins stayed close to the pegs, but not so tight that the yarn was taught and stretched out.

After the 8th time, I brought the yarn up to the center of the pegs and moved counter-clockwise to wind over the top of the inner green peg, continuing clockwise around the green pegs 8 times.

I continued in this manner, wrapping a set of pegs clockwise 8 times, then bringing the yarn to the center to move to the next set of pegs counter-clockwise, as I had numbered them.

When I got all the way around the set of pegs 1 time, I had wound one stripe repeat. For my swatch, I wanted two repeats, so after the yellow pegs, I moved counter-clockwise to the blue pegs and repeated what I did the first time.

When I got all the way around the set of pegs the 2nd time, I was done for my swatch. I cut the yarn, leaving a long tail, and fastened it around the orange peg. Here’s what it looks like wound:

I had 6 sub-skeins to each dye differently.

The next step was to remove the yarn from the peg board so that it could dye it. Ideally, you want to tie each sub-skein in several places to hold them together. And you want to keep them separate from the other ones so that you can dye them individually. You also want to make sure you keep track of which skein is which so that you dye them properly. If I had swapped the positions of any two sub-skeins, I would have ended up with two solid stripes right next to each other.

I tied mine off in two steps. First, I used small hair clips to secure each sub-skein so that I could remove the pegs.

Then I removed the pegs so that I could manipulate them more easily to tie them.

Because they were so small, I simply tied a small amount of cotton yarn around each subskein near the inside of the winds. I chose cotton because it would dye differently and be visually distinct from the wool when I had to cut off the ties later. I tied it very loosely as well, so that I could make sure to get dye all over the wool. When I work with larger sub-skeins and more complicated patterns, I’ll make sure to label the ties in some way so that I dye each one properly.

Also, this repeat was relatively simple — a progression of stripes that repeats. There are more complicated striping patterns that may have stripes of different sizes, or colors that re-appear several times in a pattern repeat. I’ll cover those in a future post.

Next up, I break out the Kool-Aid!