Further Adventures in Dyeing: Through Thick and Thin

Until now, I’ve worked with simple stripe patterns where the stripes are all the same size and the colors repeat in a cycle. I hinted at what you might do with stripes of varying sizes.

So what about a more involved stripe pattern?

Here we have a main color with thick stripe (4 rows each) broken up by tiny 1-row stripes of some complementary colors.

The most obvious way to wind this would be to wind 8 sets of pegs. However the colors repeat, so with a little care, it can be wound using only 3 sets of pegs, one for each color.

Here’s my warping peg layout:

I put a little more space between the pegs than I did before. And I put the main color, color A, in the middle. Then I used my stripe sketch to wind the pegs. First I wound 8 wraps for A, then I wound 2 wraps for B. Then, instead of continuing around counter-clockwise to wrap around peg set C, I went back and wrapped around A for 2 wraps. After one last set of 2 wraps around B, I was ready for the 2nd half of the stripe pattern, using only A and C.

The hardest part was keeping track of where I was in the wrapping. Here’s the wrapped pegs.

I ended up with 3 sub-skeins which I dyed different colors. I had to keep track of which one was A, B, and C now because they had different purposes.

When I was done, I knit up this swatch:

You’ll notice that the single-row stripes seem to bunch up. That’s because I was knitting my swatch flat. In a sock, a color would wind around and the stripes would look more uniform. To show this, I used the second half of my swatch yarn to knit a small tube:

If the blues didn’t blend into each other and if I had dyed the white spaces between them better, the striping would be more obvious. Because it’s not, here’s a drawing that shows what’s going on.

This is what a length of dark and light blue yarn would look like if it’s knit flat. The rows go back and forth as shown. And the gauge is a little off, so instead of a nice stripe, the light blue bunches up at one side.

Now compare what it would look like to knit that same yarn in the round.

The stripes are much more obvious in the second diagram. No bunching of the light blue occurs. And there may be a little extra thicknesses at some point, but that will even out with normal gauge variations. You’d much rather have the ends of the stripe overlap a little than not meet at all.

Okay, I have one more dyeing post in me. I’ll talk about how to translate your tiny swatch ideas into something that covers a whole sock.

In the meantime, I have my new Rockin’ Sock Club socks to work on. If you want a sneak peek, click here.