When I got the last KnitPicks catalog, I was facinated by their new sock blank product and technique of dyeing them. I've heard about this in blogs and magazines, but it never occurred to me that I could actually make my own until now.
First I unwound 2 skeins of KnitPicks sock yarn into 2 loose piles. Then I slipped the 3.5 keyplate on my Bond knitting machine, and double stranded the yarn to knit one long sock blank. I immediately realized that the blank was longer than my kitchen table, so I unraveled half of it, which left me enough for one pair of socks.
I soaked the blank overnight in tap water, then squeezed it in a towel. Next, I placed the blank on on plastic wrap, then mixed up approximately 1 packet of Kool-Aid per every 1/2 cup of water, and applied the solution with a sponge brush. Then I carfully rolled up the blank in the plastic wrap, and nuked the whole thing at 30 second intervals, flipping it over each time, until the plastic wrap looked like it was going to burst. Finally, I let the whole thing cool overnight in the wrap.
After unwrapping it, I rinsed it, squeezed the water out in a towel. Most people let the whole blank dry, and then work their socks directly from the blank as it's unraveled, but then the yarn is kinky. I prefer working with straight yarn, so I carefully unraveled it while still wet, then wound it back into hanks, and let them dry before rolling them into balls.
The dye didn't quite penetrate the yarn completely, either from knitting too tightly, or perhaps I could've squished more dye solution into the yarn. The yarn has little light and white blotches, but still, I like the way it knits up with a mottled hand-dyed look.
I've decided to work the Upstream Master Sock pattern from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I've finished the toe, and now am ready to begin the increases. I haven't decided yet whether I just want to work the increase triangle in plain stockinette, or some sort of stitch pattern to show off the unusual construction. Stay tuned!