Self Striping Sock Yarn

A few weeks ago, I received a message from a woman asking if I would make her a few custom skeins of merino self striping sock yarn.  Delighted at the opportunity to learn a new skill I said yes, with a disclaimer that I'd never before made self striping sock yarn. We agreed that if she liked the results she could buy them from me.  If not, I would just keep them for myself.  {Either way, one of us was coming out a winner!}

I checked out books from the library, researched online blogs and did all the math.  So far so good.  I can do this!!  Blank yarn was wound into a ball.  Chairs were set up at the correct interval.  Blank yarn was methodically wrapped around the chairs.  Lots of tiny little pieces of wool were tied to hold everything securely in place.  Yarn was carefully removed from chairs.  Yarn was placed gently into a large bowl with water and vinegar to soak.

{And here's where it goes bad.}

Yarn is removed from the large bowl of water.  Yarn gets tangled.  Lots of bad words were yelled.  I panicked.  All those books and blogs lied. {Kind of like being a parent.  They don't tell you about all the really bad stuff upfront} Mysteriously, the writers left out the part where the dyers begin to silently scream and cry and throw a fit in the middle of their kitchen because 29 feet of merino sock yarn is now tangled into a giant knot.  {Insert deep breath, for future reference.}

After an hour of wrangling the yarn on my dirty kitchen floor, it was ready to dye.  I used the dip method and none of the colors came out as planned. {Probably from all the dirt!}

I rinsed it again {but with a new plan of attack this time} and put it back on the chairs to dry.  Yay, hardly any tangles!  It's much easier to separate the skein when it's divided into colors.  

See, lots of tiny little pieces of yarn holding everything together.

It's dry!  Now I can start winding it back into a ball.  

...and around the other side.

...stopping to admire the beautiful color transitions.  

And there you have it, hand dyed self striping sock yarn.  I'm actually glad I tried it, because now I know that I will NEVER do it again.  This weekend, I'm hoping to knit something with it and see if the stripes actually worked out!

p.s  My client was very understanding, as I had to graciously decline her request.  

In case you're brave enough to try this yourself here are a few of the resources I used:
Twisted Sister's Sock Workbook



  1. lol. thanks for admitting that it was HARD! it looks great though, i am sure whatever you knit with it will turn out fantastic!


  2. Thanks Jen, I have a new found respect for all indie dyers who can manage this skill repeatedly!