Further Adventures in Dyeing: Adaptation

Okay, back to the yarny goodness…

I received a number of suggestions for other items to use as warping pegs, including:

  • Hex bolts (which I had considered, but rejected because I didn’t want the threads to catch on the yarn, and because I thought that attaching and removing them would be challenging)
  • Knitting needles (which is brilliant! but sadly all I use are Addi Turbos and even still, who has a dozen needles of the same size?)
  • Japanese chop sticks (which are round).

In the end, I was at AC Moore looking for smaller dowels when I found a package of 6-inch long, 1/4 inch diameter dowels. The holes in my peg board were slightly smaller than 1/4 inch. But an easy solution was found in the school supplies section:

I jammed them in and wound up a few more test swatches:

They work really well, the only issue was that if I wound the yarn too tightly, the pegs started to pull in. Which meant that later stripes end up narrower than earlier stripes, which isn’t what I was going for. I’ll have to take more care with the “real” runs.

One of the problems I had with my first swatch was that the dye from the solid color sub-skeins bled into the speckled sections. Sure, it looked nice in the end, but I wanted more control. So when I wound this time, I placed the “inside” pegs further apart to leave more space between the sub-skeins. Then, when I was dyeing, I left a lot of white space. This let me see how much the dye would creep up the yarn while I was setting it with heat.

After the first trip through the microwave, there was still some white space, so I applied extra color closer to the intersections. I mostly covered it and my colors were in the same palette range, so I didn’t get any icky brown. But as you can see after I knit up my swatch, there’s still a few white spots. Most obviously at the transitions between the green and blue.

I also had an accident. This is what happens when your yarn isn’t damp enough and all the water boils off in the microwave and it burns (the dark blue is Cotton Classic, not the yarn I was dyeing):

Fortunately, this was only a small swatch skein and it was practice yarn, so I’m not crushed. And the un-dyed half was unharmed, so I cut off the blue and will use the rest as dye sample strands.

In my next post, I’ll show you what I was doing with the above winding patterns and talk about calculating other types of stripe patterns. In particular, I’ll describe what I was going for with the blue and green swatch and some of the lessons I learned from it.

However, what with all this talk of dyeing and my small political foray into cross-stitch, you might think I haven’t knit a “real” stitch in ages. Not true. I’ve been making steady progress on Mermaid. I’m almost finished with the body. I think I have one more hem gusset to go and then last stripe. And I got sick of tiny needles and was inspired by Lynne’s tank fascination and started a Ribby Shell in some aqua Cotton Classic. Both of those projects have given me something to keep me occupied while caring for my husband while he recoved from a motorcycle accident a couple of weeks ago (no, he wasn’t seriously injured, and yes, we no longer have a motorcycle).

And I have a few things on the horizon. I just bought gorgeous yarn from Scout and I’m trying to keep my size 1s clear for the next Rockin’ Sock Club package that should be arriving next week!