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A different attempt to hand-dyeing sock yarn
Completed in May 2013


I purchased this undyed knitted sock "blank" from DT Crafts and Design, at the fabled Woolfest up in the Lake District, toward the Scottish border. Woolfest is such big fun! It's a fine point of pilgrimage for any knitter.

This is my first attempt at hand-dyeing a sock blank. What's the worst that could happen? I experimented with the colors with my favorite Jacquard brand acid dyes.

The whole point of dyeing a sock blank is that it is a knitted piece of fabric that is factory knit with TWO separate yarns simultaneously. That way, when hand dyed and unwound, we are ensured of two separate yet identical balls of wool and therefore two matching socks.

Some suggestions are thus: Soak the naked sock blank in white vinegar for one hour before approaching the dye bath.

Apply the dyes thoroughly to ensure saturation.

Gingerly wrap the wet sock blank in Saran wrap (or as the say in England: cling film). Zap it in the microwave till boiling, to set the colors.

Remove from the microwave and let cool slowly to room temperature.

Hand wash the heck out of it to remove any dye residue and vinegar.

Lay flat to dry completely. (This simple drying process required three days in London.)

Once dry, remove the waste yarn at the bottom of the sock blank. Now unravel the entire sock blank into two separate balls of wool.

Now you'll quickly notice that the two separate balls of wool are really, really kinked.

Since I can't tolerate knitting with the kinked yarn like that, I then wrap each ball around the back of a big chair, to form two separate hanks. (Oh how I wish I owned a niddy noddy!)

I then wash the heck out of these two separate hanks in order to remove all the kinks.

Let dry naturally. Then, wind the hanks into two separate cakes with a nice ball winder.

So see, working with a sock blank is a lot of work! And I'm not sure it's worth it. Perhaps I will try this process again with another colorway or pattern of dyeing.

Meanwhile, in the last picture above, that's my knitting in progress, at the picturesque Tower Bridge in London. What doesn't Jenny love about strolling the sites of London?

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