Monday, April 14, 2008

Flatbed Knitting and Dyeing

Yet another Internet seller is showing handdyes using knitting machines. (Google 'flat feet yarn' to see what I am referring to.) A couple of months ago, I wrote about 'dyeing in the fabric' -- a method of dyeing swatches of yarn which have been knit up on a flatbed knitting machine. I had just 'invented' the same method, without knowing about Nancy Roberts's work and classes, when I came across her beautifully dyed fabric. My experiment was knit up on my circular sock machine, and I was able to knit up a chevron vest with long swaths of color. Either way -- knitting up fabric on a circular sock machine, or a flatbed machine, or even one of the automatic sweater knitters on the market now -- the idea is the same and the results are pretty spectacular.

We all know that to get long swaths of color and to blend it nicely into the next long swath, the skeining process is the key. Dyeing a knitted fabric takes most of this difficulty away. Simply knit up a fabric to the weight measurement you need, dye it, and unravel it as you knit. You might want to wash the yarn before knitting to get the kinks out of the yarn. (I did not do this, and my vest didn't seem to suffer, but this is strictly up to you to decide.)

Great fun, and a fun twist on the dye process. Oh, and it was so neat to hear from many readers who had also 'invented' this method on their own. Great minds think alike.

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