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Tie dye to die for!
Completed in June 2014


I am strangely drawn to hippy-dippy tie dyeing. It's so groovy! And, tie dyeing really lends itself well to socks. As I've always encouraged, socks are the one handknit item where we can let loose and get a little crazy. A bright splash of color emanating from your ankles is sure to put a giddy hop into your everyday step, don't you think?

Firstly, I knit these socks with Mondial brand wool, made in Italy of 75% virgin Merino wool with 25% nylon for strength. This superwash wool has a putup of 420 meters to 100 grams, which is good and thin, just as I like it. I also have a bias toward Merino wool for socks as it's a bit more posh and softer with which to knit. This sock wool was purchased at a really nice yarn shop in San Sebastian, Spain, Casa de Labores, when I was traveling there awhile ago.

To tie dye your finished, white, handknit socks, immerse them 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.

Stuff the dampened socks with thin old plastic supermarket carrier bags or Saran Wrap or other likely barrier to ensure that the dye does not bleed through one side onto the other side. You want to be able to dye the front side of the sock and then the back side of the sock separately, without pooling of color or inadvertent bleeding.

For these colorful socks, I filled a little squeeze bottle with my favorite Jacquard brand acid dyes although you could easily use Kool Aid, food coloring, or other similar dyes. I discovered that there's a lot more control when using little squeeze bottles. You could also purchase a larger squeeze bottle such as a plastic ketchup or mustard dispenser.

Since this was my foray into tie dyeing, I wanted to keep it simple initially. So, I squeezed a squiggly line of hot pink down one sock, then mirrored it on the other sock. I let it sit for a few minutes, then I flipped the socks over and copied the simple pink pattern on the back of the sock.

Then, I squirted lime green dye on one side of the sock, and sky blue on the other side. The socks are mirror images of each other, on the front and back. I like these crazy socks!

Now to set the color, zap the wet, dyed socks in the microwave on high for three minutes. Remove from microwave and let cool naturally to room temperature.

Remove the plastic that was stuffed into the socks. Wash socks in warm soapy water. Lay flat to dry. Enjoy wearing your colorful socks!

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