Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dyeing Sock Blanks at Knit Natters

I happen to love making socks on my machines, with my all-time favorites coming off my 100-year-old Legare 47.  It's old and rough-looking, but it does make a gorgeous sock.

Marta, in our knitting club, had dyed sock blanks and knitted matching hand-dyed socks, and the group begged her to teach us.  Last weekend, we had our shot.  We were supposed to show up with the sock blanks, knitted and ready to go.

Here's how I did my blanks - first, I rewound a 100-gram hank of undyed (natural color) sock yarn using my jumbo winder, which makes cake shapes. Then I grabbed out the center of the ball and weighed that.  I added a few yarns to get the 50 grams I needed.  I rewound both the balls, the small one and the one with the center gone, to make the yarn feed the same.  I threaded my bulky machine with a ball in each antenna, then put them in the machine together, e-wrapped on 65 needles, and knitted until I was almost out of yarn, binding off is a latch tool cast-off.   I actually made two sock blanks using 2 100-gram hanks of wool/cashmere yarn Marta had sourced from England.  Gorgeous, soft stuff.

At the club meeting, Barbara had covered the floor and tables at the church where we meet with painter's plastic.  Marta had brought the acid dyes.  She set up three pots of dipping dye and a whole bunch of small jars of painting dyes.

After we dipped, we brushed.  Marta had both brushes and cotton swabs, both of which worked just fine.  Everyone did something a little different.  After we dipped and painted, we rinsed until the water ran clear. 

I took mine home in a plastic bag, microwaved it to further set the dye, hung it over a plastic hanger and let it dry. 

The acid dyes Marta brought produced very rich, clear colors.  I made no effort to create any kind of a picture, because I knew that my blanks are 65 stitches in a big tension (T5 on my bulky) and my socks will be 72 very small stitches.  The colors are going to break up, but the two socks will be alike.  I just used dribbles and dabs of overdye on the purple blanks. 

After they dried, I thought making the blanks into two balls, one for each sock, would be a pain, but it was actually easy.  I did it alone - it would be a snap with a buddy and two yarn winders - just winding two balls which I rewound later with my lovely electric cone winder.  I have found cones are absolutely idea for my circular sock machine.

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