Monday, October 2, 2017

Self Striping Sock Blank

So, just as I was finishing the blanks in my previous post, ‘Laylor ‘ in the Sock Blank Artists group on Ravelry posted a self-striping blank that she had done and I just knew I had to try to mimic her results.  I like stripes and she produced such nice stripes with her blank.  However, there is a bit of pre-planning involved if you want somewhat precise striping.  If not, just wing it with a 150 stitch width blank knit with double stranded yarn.  Then when dyeing, shade the colors from dark to light or light to dark.  A 150 stitch blank gave me sets of 4 stripes in each color set.  
Any midgauge knitting machines that I know don’t have 150 needles to accommodate knitting a blank this wide.  But I just happen to have an extra KX350 plastic midgauge machine that I ‘robbed’ 2 needle sections and inserted them into my machine.  With a machine and ribber, a blank with this many stitches can be knit in ‘U’ shape, half of the stitches on the main bed and half on the ribber.  The beginning row of ‘U’ knitting will be a zig-zag row as used in circular
knitting which will have to be clipped and removed
before dyeing to let the blank lay flat.
To achieve precise stripes, first off I need to know how much yarn it takes to knit one round in my socks to fit comfortably around my foot. So I knit a few rows in a sock that fits with the yarn I’ll be using. I unravel one row and mark the ends of one row with a washable marker or pencil. Then on my midgauge machine at T7,  I knit a couple rows with double strands of yarn in stockinette and counted how many needles it takes to go from marker to marker on the sock yarn. This will tell how many stitches needed in the blank to make 1 round in the sock.  I’ve made enough blanks and socks to know that it takes approximately 32” of yarn to make one round in my socks, about 40 sts in my blank depending on the yarn and gauge.  With the yarn I’m using now, 37 sts was the magic number.  If you want to be this precise with a different yarn, I’ll have to measure and calculate again.
So with the magic number for one round in my socks, I can now determine how wide my blank needs to be.  For 3 rounds of each color set in my sock, my blank would have to be 112 sts (3 x 37) wide, 148 sts (4 x 37) for 4 rounds of each color, 186 sts (5 x 37) for 5
rounds of each color.  (Round up to an even number).  

Again, using my KX350 midgauge machine at T7, I start my blanks with 6 rows of acrylic or cotton waste yarn, then change to double stranded sock yarn and knit even til the yarn runs out.  Then I knit another 6 rows of waste yarn.  I drop a stitch at the halfway mark and at each color change to keep the dyes from bleeding into each other.  Then I cut a long tail of yarn and run it thru the live stitches on the needles, skipping over the dropped stitches.  Secure the end of the yarn tail.  Run the dropped stitches down to the beginning and remove the blank from the machine….ready for the dye process.

I've detailed my dyeing techniques in a earlier post  on 30 Sep 16, entitled 'Dyeing a Sock Blank'.  You can find it quickly by clicking on the 'sock blank' label.  Keep in mind that my way is not the only way, just the way it works best for me.

So now I have all these blanks knit up and dyed, I'd better get to knitting socks before the snowflakes fly.  

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