Before dyeing, yarns must be looped and tied into a skein and then wrapped into a hank. Basically, we needed to get our yarn off of the cone it came on, yet still keeping every yarn loose enough for the dye to get in, without becoming tangled. The process is pretty straightforward, but arduous. Lisa from the Swedish Cultural Center lent us her swift, an apparatus that clamps to a table and opens like an umbrella to your desired width. You tie one end of the yarn onto a joint on the swift, place the cone on the floor, and then lightly guiding the yarn in one hand, you use your other to spin the swift around its center access, winding the yarn around circumference of the swift.
Because it is cone yarn, the yarn comes easily off the top of the cone, otherwise if it was a spool, it would need to be hung in a place where it could spin freely. I stood there for 3 hours just spinning the swift and watching the loop of yarn grow. Once the loop has reached about 2 inches thick, tied it with a figure eight piece of yarn in four places, and collapsed the center of the swift.
Taking the two ends of the loop, we twisted it until it was tight, and then brought the ends together so it twisted into a thick hank. We tucked one end into the other, and we were ready to go!
Two cones of yarn, 2 pounds total, produced 4 hanks.