|Jan McMahan finishing her sock blank (photo by Janice Weinstein)|
The sock blanks were soaked overnight in water and a small amount of Synthropol (a soap solution used by dyers and available at dye suppliers). When the dyers were ready, they squeezed out as much water as they could and laid their wet sock blanks out on cling wrap.
The dyes were prepared ahead of time at a ratio of 1/2 teaspoon of dye powder with 1 cup of boiling water. The people who handled the dye powder worked outside and wore protective masks. Dyes are safe to work with when handled with respect and care (there is plenty of safety information to be found on the web).
The dye stock solutions were blended to create unique colors and diluted with water, then used as paint on the sock blanks.
|Nancy Clemmon's sock blank is ready to be steamed (photo by Karen Ford).|
After the sock blanks were painted they were rolled in their cling wrap and microwaved to steam-set the dyes. The microwave we used was provided by Jennifer Justiss and is only used for dyeing, never for food. This sort of painting-dyeing can also be steamed in a dyepot with water and something to hold the wrapped package just out of the water, an upside down colander or some chicken wire shaped to fit inside the pot will do.
Once the steamed yarn is cool, it can be removed from the cling wrap and gently rinsed.
There are an infinite number of ways to paint a sock blank and they all result in amazing color variations in the final socks, shawl, or whatever the yarn is used for.
|Karen Ford and Nancy Lavender painting very different designs (photo by Mary Spanos).|
Check out the guild's Facebook page and the guild's Ravelry group to see the pictures that people are posting of their painted sock blanks. They are amazing! If you haven't posted your painted sock blank yet, please, please post a photograph at one or both of these sites and come back later and post a photo of what you make with it!
Thanks to Debbie Scott for organizing this terrific workshop, to Karen Ford for hosting it in her home, and to all those who worked so hard to help.