Disclaimer: some of the posts are outdated. During the week I do things, I take pictures as I do them, but writing about them may have to wait a while. This was certainly the case with this little project.

I have been wanting to try self-striping dyeing for a long time, thinking about it and scheming. heh. I have lots of white wool that begs to be tested, and this time I decided to play with three wide stripes of blue and green for a pair of indoors socks. They will have to be indoors, as the yarn is baby wool, and won’t survive regular use.

I started by dividing the yarn into three large sections. Using my newly-acquired swift I brought from home. It belonged to one of my late aunts, and I am so happy to find that it survived the rushed clearing of her possessions. I remember her joy and pride, showing it to me when she first bought it, and will always think of her this way when I see it.

I made one section, moved it to the center of the swift and made the rest. Moving it to the cente was essential, as when I put the first section outside the swift on the floor, I got this:


And here is where the title of this post comes in: why does the expression ‘reinventing the wheel’ have such bad connotations? I am sure that this trick is well-known to those who have used swifts before. Of course, I didn’t know about it at first. But when I did discover the solution to this little problem, I felt so happy! What’s wrong with reinventing the wheel, if it gives one such a thrill? In fact, I liked it so much, I hope I reinvent many more wheels! Hurrah for cheap thrills!

… anyway… After all sections were sorted and tied up with little rugs, in it went to warm water for about 20 minutes. Another little experiment I did (as these would be my learning dye socks) was using some pieces of fabric that I knew would bleed heavily. I wanted to make little specks of colour along the sock, like little dots here and there (another case of wheel-reinventing? Perhaps.)

Then, I put each section of the yarn in jars, filled with colour. No picture of this stage, unfortunately. I had to wear gloves as my fingers turned blue very quickly without them (what was I thinking?), and there just was no right moment to take them off and take pictures.

I used RIT dye, two different colours plain and one mixed. The whole process was finished very quickly, no stirring, no boiling, and I let the yarn in for no longer than 5 minutes. I know from past experience that this yarn takes up the colours really fast.

After scalding my fingers squeezing the excess water off the yarn, I rinsed it ’til it called for mercy (o.k., ’til the water run clear), and then let it drip and dry on my favourite instrument for this job: a broomstick. Over the tub (doors closed so kitties won’t end up with blue tongues to match my fingers).

I am very pleased with the end result.

Ying and Yang sock yarn