How to Create Striped Skeins of Yarn

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For smaller projects, such as socks or scarves, you can paint a yarn dyed in a succession of striping colors by using long segments of solid colors in very long repeats. The knitted garment appears to be knit from multiple yarns of different colors, but the color work is all done using a paint brush and some color planning. It takes at least two knitted rows in a sock to form a stripe—with each row using roughly 30 inch-es (76.2cm) of yarn. This demonstration dyes a mammoth skein of a wool and nylon blend yarn to create one pair of socks striped in four colors.

Before you complete the steps here, ensure that you have presoaked your yarn, and mixed your dyes and allowed them to cool.

1

Remove the two ties holding the folded skein together and arrange the skein on the table so the first band of color sets on the plastic wrap.

Since you will only work on one portion of the skein at time, tuck the rest of the skein out of the way. (You can let it hang off the table; allowing it to rest on the floor is fine. You can place it in a plastic tub on the floor to keep it clean.) This will keep the undyed portion of the skein from becoming stained with dye.

2

Working from left to right, apply the dye with the foam brush.

Use short strokes and be sure to coat all strands of yarn.

3

Place new ties around the freshly painted section at both ends.

Once you have painted a full segment of color, use a sharp pair of small scissors to carefully snip the choke ties. Make sure you cut only the ties and not your yarn!

4

Wipe any excess dye from the plastic wrap. Then fold the plastic around the painted section of the skein.

Use short brush strokes rather than running the brush down the length of the skein. Use one hand to hold the yarn firmly on the table while the other hand brushes on the dye. Be sure to clean your gloves before handling the undyed portions of the skein.

5

Shift the wrapped painted section to the right.

Spread another swath of plastic on the table and lay the next unpainted section of the skein on the table.

6

Paint the second band with the next color.

Choose a color scheme with blending in mind. Make sure that two adjacent colors will form an appealing color when they blend.

7

Make a new choke tie around the painted area at the left side. Carefully snip the old choke tie at the color transition point at the left.

Keep a spray bottel on your work table. Lightly spray the fiber to encourage colors to blend.

8

Wrap the second section in plastic.

Slightly overlap where the two sections of plastic wrap meet.

9

Continue painting the skein. As you complete each section, rotate the skein around from left to right.

Work in sections, painting your way around the skein. Follow the same color sequence (in this case, the skein was painted Navy, Colonial Blue, Boysenberry, Lavender).


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