The appeal of dying sock blanks is the never-ending possibilities. You can choose to be creative in a linear fashion or be abstract. I sound like an art museum docent. I chose to give linear a try for the blanks I was dyeing for my Shape-It Scarves.
I felt comfortable with the predictability of plain stripes. In my defense against the argument that I’ve become boring, let me point out that I didn’t make the stripes the same size. I also did not keep a regular sequence of colors. All I did regularly was run the stripes widthwise and lengthwise.
Besides the stripes, the predictability comes from understanding the way the sock blank unravels. The yarn will be coming off (back and forth) along the short end.
Stripes of color placed widthwise will give you long segments of color. Think self-striping yarns.
Stripes of color placed lengthwise will give you little bits of color since just a few stitches will be colored at a time.
Another way to think about it is to look at the sock blank as the leg segment of a sock. The color placement won’t come out exactly as you lay it out (given individual gauge) but it will give you a nice framework.
Remember my whole experiment of wet sock blank vs. dry sock blank? Well, I learned quite a lot.
First, I was reminded of my watercolor painting classes. Wet paint tends to bleed from dry sections into wet areas. As I painted a stripe on a completely dry segment of the sock blank, the color tended to bleed into the previous stripe since that area was now wet with dye solution. Umm, not exactly what I expected. I “solved” the problem by starting my stripe away from the previous stripe and then fill in the space. That way the new paint bled into its own color. I also had to leave white (undyed) space between the stripes.
The other issue was that the dye solution did not soak into the sock blank through to the other side. It tended to stay in the surface fibers. And, it definitely did not soak into the little folds of the knit stitches. Remember all the fuss I made about pre-soaking your sock blank? Well, this is an excellent example of the “creative potential” of dry yarn
All in all, I am very happy with the results of my sock blank dyeing experiments. The colors are reasonably close to my original fabric inspiration.
Once the blanks were dry, I was more than ready to start knitting my scarves.
I couldn’t resist stirring things up a bit, but more about that tomorrow.