So what is this inveterate hand knitter doing using a knitting machine? A knitting machine is yet another tool she can use to personalize yarn creation. With a knitting machine, she can quickly machine knit stockinette fabric for multicolor dyeing. Dyeing in the fabric, unlike dyeing a skein, allows her to produce a yarn with longer repeats of color, which means in turn that a single color can circle the circumference of a sweater many times before merging into a new color or shade. This method lets her knit a Fair Isle sweater without disrupting the flow of hand knitting with frequent yarn changes. She can even adjust her method of applying dye to the knit fabric to create a Kaffee Fassett-looking array of color without having to endure the tedium of securing the ends of separately dyed skeins of yarn.She has also developed a way to use this technique to create self-striping sock yarn.
Nancy first thought about using a knitting machine for dyeing when she saw an article by Rebekah Younger (www.youngerknits.com) in Threads (No. 59, June/July 1995, pg. 68). Younger had dyed machine-knit fabric to achieve subtle color shading on knit fabric. Nancy was intrigued by her method of unraveling and reknitting previously machine-knit and dyed fabric.
This inspiration held a spot on her ever-expanding "to do" list. In 2003, she finally bought a knitting machine to experiment with new possibilities for dyeing yarn for knitting. Nancy wrote an article on dyeing that was published in the Winter 1994 edition of Spin-Off Magazine. Her machine knitting and dyeing method was featured in the Spin-Off Fall 2006 issue. Nancy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.