Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Knitting a Sock Blank"

I wanted to wind off enough yarn to knit a sock blank from the cones of natural yarn, so that I could dye it prior to knitting a pair of socks. Using my skein winder, I would be able to do that, although I did not have a way to really know the exact amount wound onto the skein winder except to just count my rotations (which would work, but could be less accurate). Pat, from the local CSM crankers, told me about using a fishing line counter, which I purchased at Dicks Sporting Goods last week. In this photo, you can see how the yarn goes through the fishing line counter and accurately adds up the number of feet that go through it.

I wanted 2 strands of yarn so that when the blank was dyed and unraveled, the 2 socks, when knit, would be very similar in appearance, providing I started using the yarn from the same ends of both wound balls.

A close up of the fishing line counter.......

The finished skein. "Unfortunately", when figuring out how many yards I needed for a pair of socks, I didn't take into account that the number was divided by 2 and I measured out the entire yardage in one long strand, realizing afterwards that each 1/2 of this long strand would knit a pair of socks. So now, I have enough on this skein for 2 pair that will be similar in color(s), if not exactly the same.

The next step was to take the skein and wind it onto a paper towel cardboard center, so that it would slide onto the paint roller cage I had attached to my NZAK (January 19, 2010 post). I prefer using paper towel centers compared to toilet paper centers. The paper towel center allows more room for the wound ball without going over the edge as when I tried using the smaller cardboard center.

By using my swift and Strauch Jumbo Winder, that task was easily done. Of course, Copper was there for moral support.

The wound ball of yarn was then slid onto the paint roller cage and knitted into a long tube. I used my 64 needle cylinder and adjusted the tension to the lowest possible setting. The double strand was not easy to knit, even with the low tension, but eventually the tube was completed.

The finished double strand tube........

I will document the dyeing process when I get up enough nerve to start that. :) My plan is to "paint" the sock blank, something which I have not tried to do as yet. So far, I have only purchased some stoppered glass bottles for the dye mixtures, but have not found a vessel large enough in which to "set the dye" using the oven or microwave. I "think" I might be able to use plastic wrap in the process and if so, then I should be able to do it in the microwave easily enough. THAT.......remains to be seen though, eh? ;)


MollyBeees said...

OMGosh! I love the concept of sock blanks. I've seen them and wanted to try one but haven't yet. I wondered what the process was! You're my hero!

Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

I followed your post on Facebook on the CSM group and clicked your NZAK tag (because I'm lusting after one) and what do I see, but one of our skeinwinders! (a 1.5 yd hand crank, pre-when-we-offered-counters, I think.)

You seem to be enjoying your NZAK. I hope I can get one in the near future and enjoy it as much. :)