Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let's Talk Sox! And yarn. And yarn dyeing. . .

So, I started crocheting when I was 6. One summer during the two weeks at the grandparents place my grandmother, a celebrated watercolour artist, thought I should learn to crochet. I'd never seen her crochet at all and never did after she taught me. Funny, I'm just really remembering that now. .
.Anyway, I am a 'spacial' person. I can look at something and tell you how it's made and usually make it myself. It's my only gift. But for a crafter/artisan it's the important gift. I would sit and crochet all kinds of things. I made gloves, slippers (not rectangle pocket slippers, mine were very intricate) shirts, etc. And I didn't know patterns existed.

I learned to knit because the woman in the yarn store, Showers of Flowers, said knitting used 1/3 less yarn so you could buy more yarn. Had me there! I got the Vogue Knitting book, sat myself on my couch and learned to knit. Then about a week later I learned to knit socks from another book, Socks Soar on Two Circs. No one told me socks were hard to knit so I didn't know. I just knit.

I love fun socks. I don't care if they match my outfit or even each other for that matter. I've never gotten SSS (Second Sock Syndrome) because I almost never make one sock at a time. I also knit Two-Up, meaning starting at the toe instead of the cuff, so I can try the sock on while knitting, no pattern watch or counting rows. Just slide on the sock and see if it's time to start knitting the heel yet. I also knit only for myself. I don't know many people who understand the effort it takes to knit anything, the expense for really good quality yarn and time it takes. I once decide to try and count the stitches in each sock and decide that it was info that I didn't really want to know. :)
So, since I've done almost every other craft known to crafter-kind, I decided that I wanted to dye my own sock yarn! I did tye dye so I had the dye already, I also used to make bird toys (told ya) so I had every color of Wiltons Icing Gels (which make outstanding yarn dyes, really-perfect for dyeing with the kids, and very little investment- Check your local craft stores for it).
Oh, bird toys should be colored with natural dyes like the Wiltons, or Kool aid since the birds chew on the wood pieces-just FYI. But I digress (you'll find I do that a lot-oh look, something shiny!).

Sock yarn. . .so I took a hank of natural colored sock yarn and the Wiltons and went to town! And I liked it, by George! My first hank came out exactly like I wanted it! No puddling of colors, the colors were bright and fun and melted into each other to make perfect new colors between. . .yummy!

So, I did it again. And again. These are some of the sock blanks I knit up on my knitting machine (a useful tool, if you have the means, I highly recommend one-Bond America is good and Craigslist usually has one or two for under $100) and then went crazy. You can buy them here. Great quality (everything from KnitPicks, is-try their needles!) But since I have the machine and usually want to have my blank more square than long, I do my own (cheaper too).

Both of these ou see are Wiltons. The ones I sell are Jacquard Acid Dyes. But Wiltons color holds up JUST AS GOOD as the more toxic acid dyes.
This orange one is outstand knit up. I can't find my pictures of the socks, but they are my favorites. I just finished another pair from a sock blank that I thought was going to be unfortunate looking. I just didn't like the colors together after it was dyed so I figured I would knit them up for my 15yo daughter. Nope. They knit up amazing!

So I kept them. She's good on socks anyway. . .

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