Sock Blank? Its not blank!

Why is it called a sock blank if it’s not blank?????

a knitted sock blank
a knitted sock blank

Because it did start out that way; a blank, knitted rectangle; a blank “canvas” as it were. Usually knit double stranded on a knitting machine and with a total of 100 grams of yarn, enough to knit one pair of socks. This one is pinned out on a foam board, ready to be painted with dye.

sock blank being painted
sock blank being painted

Thickened dye is applied with a foam brush, or other painting tool, in any pattern or design you can dream up.

ready to wrap and steam
ready to wrap and steam

Continue to add layers of color until you have achieved sock-blank nirvana…  or at least something you are reasonably happy with. Seal with a heat-proof plastic wrap (Seran works well) and steam your blank to set the dyes. I’m assuming here that you are using acid dyes on a protein fiber.

knitting socks with a sock blank
knitting socks with a sock blank

After the dyes have been set and the yarn blank rinsed and dried, you are ready to knit. Since the blank was knit with a double strand, you can knit both socks at the same time. Both socks will be done at the same time, avoiding the “second sock syndrome”, and both socks will match exactly. Simply unravel at the appropriate end and start knitting.

Toe-up socks with waffle stitch instep
Toe-up socks with waffle stitch instep

Yes, the yarn you are knitting with is kinky, like Ramen Noodles. Once you have gone a few inches you will be used to it and it should not bother you or be a problem. For those that are annoyed by kinky yarn there are two possible solutions. To lessen the kink  (but not eliminate it) you will need two ball winders. Simply unravel the blank and wind the yarn into two center-pull balls as you go. Let them sit in your stash and “mature” for about a week/month/year and the yarn will be more relaxed when you go to knit with it. To remove the kinks entirely, unravel the blank into two skeins, wash them in cool water and hang to dry. Ball them as you would any skeined yarn and knit.

Waffle socks are not fattening  :o)
Waffle socks are not fattening :o)

Colors combinations and designs are only limited by your imagination, dye supply, and time. You must remember that the design you paint on your blank will not be reproduced in your knitted sock. Blanks are knit flat; back and forth. Socks are knit in the round. For what-you-see-is-what-you-get socks, stick to simple stripes. For everything else, you can only rely on a general mottled color distribution in the final knitted project. If you have a dominance of brown at one end of the blank and mostly blue at the other, so will your socks. Don’t assume that a fancy design or pattern painted on your blank is a waste of time. You will enjoy knitting from a beautiful blank and the dyer has enjoyed creating something wonderful, even if it will get ripped apart.  😉

Zig-Zag painted sock blank
Zig-Zag painted sock blank

Cool idea! Use your double stranded sock blank to knit a scarf. Cast-on with a provisional cast on and knit your scarf from the center out. Go about one inch in one direction, then pick up your live cast-on stitches with the other stand and head off in the other direction. Just keep switching back and forth so both ends progress at approximately the same rate. This is the same technique (knit on one for a while, then the other – back and forth) for knitting your two-socks-at-a-time on double point needles.

detail

Now, are you sorry you asked?

Waffle-socks-1
I even have a finished pair of socks out of this deal 🙂

Waffle-socks-2

Sock yarn is a superwash merino and nylon (90% wool/10% nylon) that I got from Heritage Spinning & weaving. I knit the blank and dyed it as you have just seen. I love the way the colors came out so speckly (is that a word?) and no pooling or flashing. I knit the sock in the same waffle stitch as my fitted teal vest in the hopes they will look dapper together.

Deb H

Sock Blank? Its not blank!

2 thoughts on “Sock Blank? Its not blank!

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