Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dyeing Self-Striping Yarn with a Warping Board

I had my DH make Scout's Ghetto Warping Board for me as a Mother's Day gift.

I couldn't wait to try my hand at self-striping yarn! However, I found that there were very few tutorials online for using a warping board and really none that showed how to use it the way Scout does. So I emailed/pestered Scout a bit and then came up with this:

(For this skein, I only wanted three colors, so I put only 6 pegs into the top 3 sets of holes. You use the outer holes to wrap and the inner holes to dry, as the yarn shrinks somewhat when wet.)

Something to keep in mind is that this method of warping/wrapping will produce a repeating pattern that jogs back. That is, if you use green, red, yellow for your colors, it will not do green, red, yellow, green, red, yellow stripes, but will do green, red, yellow, red, green, red, yellow...)

Start with a slip knot on the upper left peg.

Each wrap from left to right constitutes one knit row, so you need to wrap multiple times on the same set of pegs in order to have longer stripes. I chose a 3-2-2 wrap pattern (3x around the top pegs, 2x each pass through the middle pegs, 2 times around the bottom) so that I would have more brown than orange, and the most green, though it would be smaller stripes--just repeated more often.

When wrapping/warping, the most important thing to be careful of, is to avoid making full loops around any peg (too difficult to remove it from the peg, tie it off, then return it to the peg). If at all possible, you want to create big, loose loops, but in order to get the yarn at the top to wrap in the correct direction, you need to make a big figure 8 shape on the top and bottom pegs. Here's a rough sketch of wrapping on the way down: and then (in red) the wrapping on the way up:

When it is all wrapped, it looks a bit like this:

The next thing you want to do is tie off the loops at each end with polyester yarn like this:

And then it's time to dye! First I soaked the yarn in water with vinegar (the next batch I did, I washed it with dish detergent first and the color took better!):

I covered my stovetop with three big sheets of saran wrap and laid out the yarn, after I'd wrung as much water out as I could:

I mixed up the dye (using Wilton's food paste--next time I'd make it even more concentrated):

I dribbled the dye onto the sections of yarn, using lots of paper towel to sop up the stuff that ran off. Then I wrapped the saran wrap around the sections :

and put the saran-wrapped sections back into a pyrex bowl and put it in the microwave for 6 minutes:

I took it out of the microwave and let it cool to room temperature (about 4-5 hours) and then I rinsed it:

and put it back onto the warping board to dry (unfortunately, I'd wrapped it so tightly that I couldn't get it to fit over all three sets of pegs! oops...):
And when it was dry I niddy-noddied it (It's the lower skein):

Some comments:
The only issues were when I was trying to put the yarn into a useable skein. It turned into a tangled, pilling, awful mess! I had to un-niddy-noddy it and put it into a ball first, then niddy-noddy, then that didn't work well, so I had to re-ball and re-NN it. ugh! So...
Next time I'll try to cross the yarns a lot less when wrapping
Next time, even if I'm only using 3 colors, I'll use all 6 sets of pegs, so there's less yarn on each
Next time I will be careful not to wrap so tightly (the pegs were folding in)
Next time I'll wash the yarn with dish detergent
Next time I'll mix the dye more concentrated


Rawmilkstar said...

Niddy-noddy? Guess who's going to be googling words from bfmomma's blog today? Beautiful yarn, great pictures of the technique. Now I know where to go if I ever want to try this. I'm dying to (no pun intended) but will have to wait for more money to flow my way. ;-)

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angora Fiber said...

Where else do you suggest tying? I had 6 colors and one big mess after dying. Maybe I should the on both sides of the loops?

bfmomma said...

If you see the brown yarn, those are all the places I tied it--essentially at every turn.