Groovy Tie Dyed Socks
Completed in June 2014

This is my crazy method for knitting toe-up socks (which has the advantage of using the entire hank of wool without any waste whatsoever) but utilizing my favorite, tried and true cuff-down variety of slip-stitched heel and traditional gore decreasing on the foot.

To knit these white socks in this crazy way, provisionally cast on 64 stitches with a black yarn, using 2.0mm DPNs. Start knitting with your white yarn, in the round, for one inch. Now work the heel as per usual, then finish the sock to its toe. Graft the toe as you normally do. (See the first photograph, above.) You have now worked a short ankle sock with a funky unfinished "cuff."

Now, go back up to the cast on edge and remove the black yarn. (See the second photograph, above.)

Place the live stitches onto fresh 2.0mm DPNs. (See the third photograph, above.)

Now knit upward and onward, toward the cuff. When you feel as though you'll soon run out of yarn, work some ribbing and bind off very loosely.

I sometimes do prefer this method of knitting socks because it has all the advantages of a toe-up sock AND a cuff-down sock. (See the fourth photograph, above.)

Now that I've just spent US$19 and 45 hours to hand knit a perfectly good pair of white socks, I will now ruin them with experimental dyeing! This is where the fun begins. As always, I encourage my knitterly friends to open their hearts to the wonder of brightly colored socks!

For these socks, I wanted to try some "traditional" methods of tie dyeing. So, firstly, I immersed the socks completely into a bucket of standard white vinegar for an hour. This is the important step: You must ensure that every fiber is truly saturated in vinegar, otherwise the dye will not adhere. Don't rush this step. Let the socks soak in the vinegar bath for an hour while you busy yourself with other things.

After an hour, remove the soaking socks and gingerly squeeze the socks while ensuring that they are not being stretched. Do not wring the socks dry; however, do not let them drip drip drip, either.

Haphazardly twist sections of the sock and secure with rubberbands. (See the fifth photograph, above.) This is where you can get creative and test different tye dyeing methods. Ensure that you really place the rubberbands on tightly, which will ensure that some dye goes certain places while other dyes go other places. This is the only way you can maintain some sort of control over dye placement.

Dip different sections of the twisted-up sock into dye. I also squirted some dye into crevices. Let the wadded up and twisted clump of wet sock sit for twenty minutes for the color to soak in. (See the sixth photograph, above.)

Zap the wet, dyed sock in the microwave on high for three minutes to ensure that every part of the wadded up sock has experienced intense heat. Remove from microwave and let cool naturally to room temperature.

Remove all rubberbands. Wash sock in warm soapy water. Lay flat to dry. Admire the wild colors of your new tie-dyed socks!

Click here for next item

Click here for next item