I really love the look of striping in knitting, and understand the craze of self-striping yarns. I have dyed some self striping yarns myself, but I find the process somewhat too time consuming for an indie dyer. The trouble with self-striping is that you have to dye a continuous strand for a good amount of yardage in a single colour, before changing colours. This is because otherwise you will get the dreaded pooling that can make it so that some yarns can’t be used for certain projects with happy results. The part that makes this kind of dyeing challenging is that when a yarn is in ball form, it can’t be dyed properly – and when in skein form, the loop itself is not formed in a way that you can dye one long section, and use many colours. As such, you sort of have to divide the skein into the number of colours you want and dye them seperately ensuring not to contaminate each colour with any drips or drops of other dye colours. So, it’s a bit of a dance. I do it in small batches but without some kind of technology (I have ideas and drawings) I won’t get very deeply into dyeing this kind of yarn.
I have had some fun with dyeing self-striping yarns, but in different ways – such as the sushi yarns that I made a couple years ago.
I also find that I don’t mind working with multiple yarns to create stripes, or if using only two colours, carrying each colour along the project so that I can create stripes. I know some knitters don’t like having to carry a strand, or sew in multiple tails at the end of the project – but these things don’t really phase me. I purchased a really nice kit from Lovelyarns in Baltimore, MD, dyed by Knitted Wit, and I loved working with it – all squooshy and worsted. I knit up this adorable sweater from the kit that came along with the yarn – it’s called Rainbow for Frances. My wee one is almost big enough to wear it and I can’t wait!
Back to what I was writing about using multiple yarns. I had always been looking for ways to use up my leftover sock yarns from the various projects I knit so I designed a simple Totem Pole Sock pattern that is available for FREE on Ravelry and will produce fun striped crazy socks and use up that extra stash.
I also really enjoy spinning self-striping yarns and have a line of yarn that I spin called ‘Transcend’, usually spun up in 5 complimentary coloured fibres. They are fun to spin and knit up really nicely. They are a simple bulky yarn.