Dyeing to Knit Socks

Here is a little photo essay.  I had a ball of the merino/bamboo blend sock yarn in cream that I wanted to dye and knit up for a teacher gift. I used a sprinkle dye method with dry Kool-Aid and bottles of food coloring. You need a bit of acid provided by vinegar and heat provided by microwaving during the process to set the colors.  Since the dyes are food, they are safe in your everyday pans.

Skein up the yarn and tie around it in different places to keep the tangling down.

Soak the skein in warm water for a while in a microwave safe dish.
sprinkle dye
Pour off most of the water and add a glug of vinegar. Swish it around.

Start with the lighter colors and sprinkle them on dry (Kool-Aid) or drip them (food color).
sprinkle dye
Let the colors saturate the skein for a while move it gently around to expose undyed areas and add more sprinkles. Microwave in bursts of 1-2 minutes between colors.
sprinkle dye

After coloring to your satisfaction (be careful not to overdo it the first time).  Give it a final trip on the microwave carousel to fully set all the dyes for another 1-2 minutes.

Let cool a bit, then rinse fully in lukewarm water.

sprinkle dye
Hang the skein to let it dry.

Twist it up and keep or sell.

sprinkle dye

Wind it into a ball when you are ready to use it.

sprinkle dye

 

I then put it on my CSM bobbin to knit it from.
sprinkle dye

Finished socks are ready to give or sell.
sprinkle dye sprinkle dye

Treading the Boards

3 pairs of socks

These are the socks I have knit so far this week.  A pair for Katie on the left, and the other two pairs are up for grabs for $19 a pair.  If you are interested and in town, send me a note in the contact form.   They are a woman’s size 8-9.  If you  like the purple ones on the left, I can get more of that yarn in a couple of days.

Measured Steps Socks

2015-05-16 10.14.08
Treat your feet & buy yourself a pair today!

Do you know how hard it is to take a good picture of your own feet?  I have gotten better at it over the years since I have always loved handknit socks and enjoyed documenting my creations on Ravelry, Facebook and my blog. Now I am selling my own line of handmade socks.

These short Measured Steps socks are fun and funky sport socks of a machine washable and dryable, 50% merino wool, 25% rayon from bamboo and 25% nylon blend yarn. They are soft and comfortable and handmade on my circular sock knitting machine. You. can read more about that here.  They are made with the ideal yarn for summer socks, wool for moisture control and softness, bamboo for coolness, and nylon for durability.

Because I got the yarn at a good price, I am just getting started in the business and want you all to know the joy of handmade socks, I am currently taking orders for women’s sizes 6-9 and offering them for a special introductory price of $14 a pair to my readers and friends (paid in cash and picked up). If you want them mailed to you, it will be an extra $2 to cover Paypal fees and postage. There is a limit of one pair per person at this special price and you must order by Friday, May 22. If you are local, use the “contact” form in the right sidebar (or below if you are on mobile) to let me know. If you are out of town, please place your order through my store.  In either case, I will contact you for color and sizing details and let you know how long it will be before I can get them made.

2015-05-16 10.12.29 2015-05-16 10.13.57 2015-05-16 10.13.44

The colors available right now are below.  Your computer screen may render the colors slightly different than the actual color, but they are very close on my screen.

Yarn #s 1 & 2 on the right will produce a “Fairisle” look like the pair above.

yarn choices
click for bigger picture

 

The yarns on the left (#s 3,4 & 5) will produce a striped pattern similar to this.

2015-05-07 07.35.17

Again, send me a note using the contact form to order or use my store if you are out of town.

 

Star Pupil!

2015-03-31 10.15.37

 

Here is one of my star pupils, Sharon, in her lovely sweater!  She finished it in just 4 weeks of class and learned a bunch of new skills in the making: swatching, increases, mirrored decreases, picking up stitches, ribbing, pattern reading and problem solving. The yarn is Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine a wool, alpaca and silk blend, and is the perfect color for her.  My two other students are well on their way to finishing and I will hopefully show you their pictures in a couple of weeks.

One Ball, Minimal Math

Rigid heddle loom weavers often have stashes of gorgeous knitting yarns laying around.  If you need a quick present and want to weave a scarf from a ball of sock yarn, here is a quick method that requires almost no math.  You must have a digital kitchen scale that weighs in grams.  (This is one of the most valuable tools I own for knitting and weaving-make sure it weighs to the nearest gram, not the nearest even number of grams for the best accuracy).  You probably need around 80-100 grams if you want to weave a decent scarf.

  1. Determine the appropriate sett for your yarn. For sock yarn used as both warp and weft I use a 10 dent heddle.   If your sock yarn is especially thin, you may want a 12.  Remember you want the scarf to be drapey, not stiff.  The scarf shrinks when taken off the loom and the yarn blooms when wet finished.
  2. Begin by weighing your ball of yarn.  You want to work with the actual weight, not what is stated on the ball band.  Divide this number of grams in half and add 2 (3 if using a larger RH loom that has more loom waste than a Cricket).  This is about how much you need for warp.  Example 102 / 2 + 3 = 54 grams.    Then 102-54 = 48.  48 grams is about what you need to reserve for weft.
  3. Make a ball of yarn that equals the amount needed for weft (the smaller number; in the example it is 48 grams).  To do this, put the whole ball of yarn on the scale.  Wind off yarn until the scale says the larger number needed for warp (in the example, 54 grams)  what you have in the ball is the weft (in the example, 48 grams).  Double check both balls before cutting yarn between.  Set the smaller ball aside for weft (the example is 48 grams).
  4. Divide the larger ball of warp yarn in half by grams. Using the same method with the scale as you did above.  (example 54/2=27 grams).
  5. Take one ball of the 2 balls of warp to your prepared loom.  Decide how long to make your warp (remember to add loom waste to desired scarf length plus a couple of inches for take up and shrinkage).  An 8 or 9 foot warp makes a nice long scarf.  For a shorter scarf to tuck into a coat, you probably want 6.5 to 7 foot warp.  Fasten the peg that far away.
  6. Find the center of your heddle and tie one of the warp balls to the apron rod behind the center.  Warp your slots from the center out and stop when you run out of yarn or the scarf is more than half the width you would like.   Tie off at the apron rod or the peg.  Repeat with the second ball of warp, sleying the slots from the center out the other direction.  Again, tie the end of the warp to the slot or the peg.  Save 2 lengths of yarn for a repair in case a warp breaks.  You can save one from this ball and one from the other.
  7. Wind on to the back, sley the holes and weave as usual.  Remember in a  balanced weave  your Ends Per Inch or Dents per inch (e.p.i) = Picks Per Inch (p.p.i.)  Look for squares of light between warp and weft.  Do not beat your weft in too hard, use a light touch and place the weft with the heddle.

Hopefully this method has reserved enough yarn to weave the scarf with little to none left over.  You will never get it exact and you will have to be happy with the width you got with your balls of warp yarn.

This may work with other weights of yarn, but I have only used it with sock yarn.  Here is a chart for suggested heddle sizes with yarns.  If you yarn is slick, you would choose the closer sett if the yarn falls into 2 categories

Yarn Categories

Sock/ Fingering 1 Sport 2 DK,
Lt. Worsted  3
Worsted,
Aran 4
Recommended
Rigid Heddle Sizes
10 or 12 dent 10 dent 8 or 10 dent

8 dent

I am working on a little spreadsheet to do calculations for you if you want to figure out ahead of time how wide your scarf will be.  I will post it when it is ready, so check back soon.