Want to spin self-striping sock yarn?

We've invited Anne Merrow, editor of Interweave's sock knitting eMag Sockupied, to share her plans to spin her own self-striping sock yarn from hand-dyed top inspired by the Summer 2013 issue of Sockupied.


With some planning, yarn dyers—and spinners—can create beautiful sock yarns with distinct stripe patterns.

In my house, July is for socks and spinning.

I'll be participating in the Ravelry Tour de Fleece again this year. I love watching the Tour de France, and although there aren't any categorized climbs on my spinning wheel, I do try to keep up a comfortable treadling cadence as I watch. And there's nothing I love spinning more than sock yarn.

In the Summer 2013 issue of Sockupied, we ran a feature on the gorgeous self-striping sock yarn. With long enough runs of color, you can knit socks that have distinct color bands instead of distracting pools and flashes of color. As a spinner I have control over my yarn, so I'm going to try spinning my own self-striping yarns from hand-dyed top.


The color repeat of this hand-dyed top is easy to follow; it will create a lovely self-striping yarn.

Planning for Stripes
Creating impressive stripes starts with the fiber. If you want to spin stripes from handpainted roving or top, start with top that has bold areas of color. Smaller areas of color can create a watercolor effect—perfect for this issue's One Sock Two Ways pattern, the Skip to My Lou Socks. But the bigger the block of color, the longer the stripe, so examine your fiber closely.

If the fiber has visible repeats, then you're lucky—you have choices! It's easy to match up the areas of red, brown, and gold in this Bluefaced Leicester/silk blend from Abstract Fiber. For very long stripes, I will break the top into three lengths, perfect for my intended three-ply yarn.


Because I don't see a distinct repeat pattern in this top, I'll split it lengthwise into three strips before spinning.

The other top I pulled from my stash was parted from its label long ago. Judging by the hand, I suspect it's Merino or BFL. After comparing different sections I couldn't find a repeat easily, so in order to create matching stripes in all the plies I'll need to strip the top into three equal sections. If I want shorter stripes from the red top, I can use this technique too.

Stripes in the Spin
Preparing the fiber is just the first step. I'll need to spin the singles to preserve the color cohesion, then match up colors in the plying. In the meantime, I'm ready to get started. You'll find me treadling through a vicarious trip of France, striping up my sock yarn.

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