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making and using a board for self striping sock yarn

by ysoldateague March 10, 2006

Here is how I made the board to measure out the yarn to make self-striping sock yarn. This isn’t a tutorial on dyeing the yarn, Eunny has an excellent tutorial on dyeing self-striping yarn and there are numerous tutorials on yarn dyeing. You can dye the yarn any way you like, I’ve been using food colouring and vinegar in the microwave.
But here is how I made the board. If you only want to make one skein ever then you should probably just go with Eunny’s method. I didn’t have the space or inclination to wrap the yarn around two chairs. The main advantage of doing it like this (other than taking less space) is that you can dye as much yarn in as many different stripe sequences as you like. WARNING – this is highly addictive, perhaps making the process as easy as possible was not a good idea, you have been warned.

What you need:

To find out how much yarn is in one round of the sock pattern you want to knit
– I would just go with a basic stocking st pattern, it should produce nice results in other patterns as well even if the stripes aren’t absolutely perfect. Eunny shows you how to do this, the only thing I did differently was I wrapped the yarn around two nails hammered into a board 50cm apart and divided the total length by the number of rounds. I figure if your going to be stretching the yarn when you wrap it on the board you should probably also stretch it when you measure.

A board or frame that you can either screw hooks or hammer nails into – I used an old silkscreen that I had lying around. I don’t suppose it matters what you use really. It needs to be at least a bit wider than half of the length of yarn in one round.

Some hooks or nails and a hammer

What to do:



Wrap the yarn like this:


I find it easiest to start with a slip knot and hook it over the first hook. Every time you cross the board equals one stripe of sock. Design a stripe sequence and wrap the yarn so that it crosses the board that many times. When you’ve crossed the board the right number of times wrap the yarn around the last hook and follow the yarn back up the board until you get to the first hook. Wrap the yarn around the hook and work your way back down again.

In the example below I wanted 2 red stripes, 3 pink, 6 cream (the natural colour of the yarn), and 3 more pink. That’s a 14 stripe sequence so I had to cross the board 14 times.


You can kind of see that I’ve used grey scrap yarn (make things easy for yourself by using cotton or acrylic in a different colour to the wool) to tie off the sections. The maroon ties are just to hold everything together neatlly while I dye it.

Remove the yarn from the board, starting at one end, like this:


Here are some pics from my dyeing:

Make sure you prepare your workspace, and get all your supplies together before you begin:


Do you like my hidsous vinyl tablecloth? I got the worst one they had, it was the only one so horrible it’s kind of cool, in an I could open a retro greasy spoon kind of way. But it protects the worktop so that’s the main thing. I’m a messy clumsy person, I wear gloves (and still dye my fingers most of the time), cover the surface and wear an apron. Better safe than multi-coloured.

This is the yarn about to go in the microwave:




and drying:


You can see that the pink has some red patches in it. I quite like this effect but if you want to avoid such bleeding and contamination avoid dyeing two sections joining each other at once.

Here is the rest of the yarn I dyed at the same time, some more for socks (that I’m going to overdye to get the colours I want), and some cashmerino I had leftover from a skull scarf:



I haven’t tried knitting the pink, red and cream yarn up yet but when I do I’ll post a pic.


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