Sage socks

I came back from the Chautauqua show pleased with my sales. I know I want to make a few more mobius before my next show, but I have 5 weeks+, so I’m not pressured.

I spent Monday basically resting and recovering, physically and mentally. On Tuesday I put everything away and thought about my next move. I decided I wanted to dye a mess of socks next. I actually managed to remember to photograph the various steps in this process.

First I scoured the socks to make sure there were no oils or residue from spinning on the fabric. I actually did this before the show.
scouring socks in preparation for dyeing

Then on Wednesday I scrunched the socks on old plastic yarn cones and used carpet warp to tightly tie the socks. I used 90 winds of cotton around each cone. This is my interpretation of a shibori wrap technique.

Truth be told, I forgot to take the photo yesterday. This is from today, when I decided to try to wrapping a pair with Sugar & Cream yarn to see if the thickness of the yarn had an impact on the finished product. Also, yesterday I wrapped one pair of socks without a cone to see what that would do, and they’re obviously not in this photo.

socks wrapped on plastic tubes for dyeing

After that the wrapped socks went into the dye bath. For this batch I used 1.5 teaspoons intense blue dye and .25 teaspoon golden yellow. There’s a process for the dye bath of stirring constantly for at least 10 minutes, then stir frequently for at least 10 minutes, then stir occasionally for at least 10 minutes, etc., till the socks have been in the dye bath for at least an hour. For me, that translates to a lot of trips up and down my basement stairs after the first 10+ minutes, since I can’t just sit down there with nothing to do. OCD, you know. 😉

green socks in the dye bath

After an hour of that, the socks come out of the dye bath. In this image you can see those long snake-like socks that I wrapped off the cones.

One by one the cones are run under water, and when the water is mostly running clear I carefully snip the knot and unwrap the string to reveal the sock. This is always exciting for me.

green socks fresh from the dye bath

Now the socks go into the washer and dryer, and only after that will I know the depth of color I achieved. Here are all the socks. There are 3 pairs of bamboo socks, one pair of cotton socks, and one pair of footie socks. Those pair with lots of white on the left side of the image are the snake wrapped socks. They’re the only ones I’m not happy with. But I’m really pleased with the socks that were on the cones with round holes. They have circles of color where the dye went through to the sock from the inside of the cone, as well as the shibori effect from the dye on the outside of the cone.

green socks, dried

Here are the snake socks, top and bottom.

snake-wrapped socks, top and bottom

I decided I’d try something with them. I prepared them for hand painting and stretched them over pool noodles so the dye that I applied next would remain only where I put it; it would not soak through to the other side. My plan was to mix some dark blue dye and put it in a squeeze bottle, applying it in a zigzag in the white part of the sock.

Well. I did not have the kind of control I’d envisioned with that bottle. In my head it would be like applying ketchup. In real life, not so much. The dye is like water, so as soon as I tipped the bottle, dye came zooming out. I therefore wasn’t able to achieve what I’d intended. Sigh.

snake socks with zigzag

Hand painted socks need to batch overnight at 70 degrees or more. Since it’s 90+ today, I decided outside in the sun was perfect. They went into my garage overnight.

snake socks batching

Tomorrow I’ll rinse, wash, and dry them and decide if they’re worthy of being sold.

Today I did a batch of socks in blue. Tomorrow I plan to do burgundy.

2 comments to Sage socks

  • Alma

    I’m glad you photographed all the steps. What a lot of them!

    The socks that came out mostly white look to me to be perfect candidates for a second bath in a different color!

    • Peg Cherre

      I’ve considered a second bath…we’ll see how they look when they’re done with the blue zigzags. The problem of a second bath is that I’d lose the green parts that I like. I don’t have the tools or skills to cover them with wax to preserve them as is.

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