Sock Blanks. How could I not know about this? The other day, while watching one of my favorite video podcasts, Little Bobbins, it became clear. Revelation <light bulb goes on above head> I must have some! (Birthday gift idea #77)
Here’s how it works:
You (or some other clever dyer) obtain a “sock blank”. This is Knitterese for an undyed machine-knitted length of fabric, usually flat but sometimes tubular. These blanks can be had from KnitPicks, Dharma Trading, and several places on Etsy such as StickChick. This piece of fabric is often, but not always, knitted of a double strand of yarn so that the resultant socks (or mittens or gloves) can be identical if desired.
This ‘blank’ is then painted, dyed, stenciled and/or stippled to create gradients, patterns and fantastic mixtures of color. These (above) from GalesArt are truly lovely, with crisp stamped patterns layered over shifting color fields. I am also awestruck with these amazing marbled and Shibori dyed offerings from Quaere Fiber of Rhode Island.
Then, the knitting fun begins! One end of the blank is composed of live stitches. You begin to knit as the blank unravels! It’s impossible to know exactly how the blank will work up. How mysterious. Somehow, this is just fascinating to me. If the blank is made of a double strand, socks (or gloves or mittens) can be knitted two-at-a-time. If tandem knitting isn’t for you, items can be knit singly while the second strand is wound off into a ball. Or, the yarn can be unravelled and soaked to remove kinks, or caked from the blanks.
Here’s a lovely example worked from a Gale’s Art sock blank by sock expert Susan B Anderson.
Perhaps my favorite is this stunning example of socks knitted from a sock blank. These are by Wild Yarn Dreams who also makes beautiful shawl blanks. One for the bucket list!