Like, this jig?

There’s a comment from Beth – in case you didn’t see it she is setting the record straight; actually her husband Chris is the one who wrote the wool combs tutorial. So thank him very much, too!

Went to Windsor, had a very good visit with Raven’s grandmother. Came home. Got a phone call Thursday from his parents, to the effect that the (insane?) doctor had decided to insert a feeding tube. Went back to Windsor. Horrible emotional distress for everybody ensues. Meanwhile grandmother looks pretty darned good for a 92-year old dying person, and will shuffle off this mortal coil when she’s darned good and ready, and not a second before. Thanks to those of you who sent notes and well wishes, I appreciated your thoughts.

On to the jig! Had another Very Hot Day on… Thursday? Mayhap? I’ve lost count. Anyway, it was one of those humid days when your body is actually perfectly willing to do work, but your brain says “…huh? mmmm” and fades out again. So we spent a lot of time sitting on the front porch, and I was looking at things… and you know what the porch is like…

My intention here was to make a kind of all-in-one loom-warping, sock-yarn-striping ‘yarn jig’ – which is why I haven’t specifically mentioned “warping board”, even though that’s what it obviously is. (Also I’m sick of Raven teasing me that the board was already warped.) The pegs are set across from each other at 18.5 inches, which – pay attention! – is one half of the yarn used in one round of MY typical sock. If you plan to use this jig for sock-stripe-dying purposes, you will need the measurement for one half the yarn in one round of YOUR typical sock. Place pegs accordingly.  (edit:  There was a really good tutorial about that which I was going to link to, except it seems to be gone.  So if you know of one, let me know, and when I ever get around to stripy-dying, I’ll post pics here.)

If you were making one of these you would need:

  • A backing board – I used a chunk of chipboard, about 25-30 inches – more about the size at the proper time, but this should be PLENTY big enough.
  • 16 8-inch pegs of a fairly large gauge – I used broomstick, which might have been overkill but maybe not – they will be taking some stress.
  • Two pieces of one-by-two or similar on which to mount the pegs. These should be around 30 inches long, or the length of your backing board.
  • Two skinny pegs, or at least pegs for which you have a matched drill bit. No matter how you mount the rest of the pegs, these last two are going to have to be removable.
  • a drill
  • a screwdriver
  • a number of screws (about 26) that have the same head as your screwdriver, or vice versa. This may seem obvious, but…
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint and varnish as desired.

That chipboard was left over from the chicken coop project, and it was getting all warpy leaning against the house. So for its own good, I co-opted it. It is somewhere in the area of 25/30 inches.

next we sawed pegs – there are 16 of them at 8 inches, cut out of broomsticks. Notice how the “we” crept in there? Raven is supposed to be plumbing, and he hates plumbing. So he keeps helping me do things, to postpone the moment when he must crawl back under the house. I am lousy with a handsaw, so I let him. Sand these pegs as smooth as you can, so they don’t have slivers that will catch yarn.

The pegs generally could probably have been mounted on the backing board directly, but a) it wouldn’t look as nice and b) my backing board is as already mentioned a warpy piece of chipboard. So I drilled holes in the ends of the pegs (oddly, I get a lot of practice at that, I’m becoming not half bad at it!) and screwed them to these chunks of one by two that were leaning against the house for some reason.
NOTE – the proper way to mount these would be to drill holes that the pegs fit into, and sand it all up pretty, and then the pegs can be moved or removed at your pleasure. That would be really practical and nice, and if you feel like putting the effort into it I’ll be very proud of you. I’ll do it myself, too, if I ever get materials that are worth it!

As far as WHERE the pegs are mounted? Ok, now this is LIKE math, but it isn’t REALLY math, I promise. There’s more math than this in knitting, so don’t be scared:

You’ve already figured out, by measuring half a sock round’s worth of yarn, how widely your pegs should be spaced for sock dying. That tells you how far apart these sticks that you’re mounting the pegs to should be, but what about the pegs themselves?

I got real lucky, because my measurement came out so close to 18 inches. Which means the wrap for a sock stripe is just over a yard, and a yard is an easy thing for me to think in terms of. (as opposed to “43 inches” or something awkward.) But you’re stuck with whatever you get. Point is, you want the measurements TO BE something you can work with easily in your head, and you want this thing to be as versatile as possible. Your best bet is to space the pegs so that your distance is travelled diagonally from the top peg on one side to the second peg on the other, and so on. This lets you skip every other peg when wrapping, and gives you plenty of space to work in. The other pegs are just kind of ‘extras’ in case you – oh, I don’t know, have 600 yards of silk plies taking up space on a drop spindle somewhere and really want to chain it for a loom. For example.

Ok. Now the last thing about mounting those pegs is – your board is longer than you need it to be, and your 1x2s are as long as your board, right? If so, hack off a chunk from each – just a little square – which will become the mount for those skinny pegs I was talking about. If you haven’t got enough, use something else – it’s a very small piece you need.


I had some help at this point. No, there is not actually a chicken living in my house again. She is one of the MommaHens, and she just needed some quiet time.

Anyway, that’s really about it – the worst part is deciding (not “figuring out”, just deciding) where you will be best served by having pegs. And, if you actually did mount them properly so they could be removed, you wouldn’t even have to do that, you could just drill a bunch of holes and figure it all out later when you actually need something stretched.

Now, screw the mounted pegs to the backing board. Drill holes for those little pegs (remember I told you to get something you had a drill bit to match) in those two ends of wood, and mount one roughly centre at the top (above the rest of the pegs) and one rather to the left of centre at the bottom (below the rest of the pegs). My chunks of leftover wood were large enough that I could drill two holes, so one hole is at the level of the upper (and lower) pegs, and one above (or below) them.
What these pegs are for is to create tension on the yarn or plies, because you can’t pull out any of the other pegs if you’ve mounted them like I did. So when it’s all warped, you can pull out one or both of these little pegs and the yarn (or plies) will relax enough to slide off all the other pegs. Unaccountably I don’t have a picture of it with these little pegs in place, I’ll try and remember to take one.


My plan is actually to measure all the possible distances between pegs, and write them on the jig in different colors with lines showing where that measurement stretches. That way it would be really easy to see where to wrap if you wanted (x) yards of fabric or (x) stripes of color, and you wouldn’t have to figure it all out again. I don’t know if that is actually going to happen though, because I’ve already started (with further help and consultation from Raven, as it was raining) another project, also related to the huge backlog of plies on my drop spindles.

This is the summer for building stuff, tell ya true – and while I think this current project will be the last for the summer, it’ll be a doozy! (Unless I completely screw it up, of course!) More on that next time!