Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I love socks. Hand knit socks. I was born with extra-wide feet. Women’s fashion shoes, even the extra wide ones, never fit me. Mail order shoes never fit me. When I had to shop for shoes, I learned to go straight to the boys’ shelves. About ten years back I tried out my first Birkenstocks, and it was love at first wear. Here in Charleston SC, with our mild winters, I could wear Birkies year round, as long as I wore them with wool socks in the winter and it wasn’t raining. I needed little sweaters for my feet in the winter. It wasn’t long before I also made the serendipitous discovery that when I wore wool socks for hiking, even in the summer, my feet didn’t blister!

I was more than happy to knit my own socks. The more colorful, flashy, and funky the socks, the better. I loved the hand dyed sock yarns, especially the way the colors lined up into puddles when I knit. But the effect was so unpredictable— sometimes the colors would stack beautifully in one sock, and the second sock knitted up to just boring old stripes.

There had to be a way to dye the yarn so that the colors would puddle up, and once I found it, there was no stopping! Socks flew off my needles! After I had given away all I could and filled up several personal sock drawers, I started selling them on ebay (seller name "shbknits"), and did very well for a while. Once a single person bought up my entire inventory of socks, and then gave them all away to teenage cancer patients!

Knitting socks is great, and I still love it, but dyeing the yarn was fun too. My first dyeing project used Koolaid, and turned out somewhere between hideous and terrible! As my techniques improved I learned to like the clear, transparent shades of Koolaid (not to mention the fruity odors!). I turned to Wilton icing dyes to get deeper, more vibrant colors. Eventually I moved on to professional dyes. This is because one year I made a beautiful pair of red and green Koolaid Christmas socks for myself, only to have them turn pink and blue after a washing! The commercial dyes are pretty easy to use, and they don’t fade or wash out.

As an experiment I offered up for sale some of my hand dyed sock yarns on ebay. Once I discovered that the yarn sold for as much or even more than the socks, there was no turning back! As the ebay sales mushroomed over the next two years I got tired of paying ebay fees decided to venture out on my own. But what to name the new website?? I wanted something evocative of the most colorful sight imaginable, something like the wheels and expanse of the first chapter of Ezekiel. But I failed. “Colorwave” seemed so pale by comparison, so ordinary and earthly, but hey, we are talking about sock yarn. It had to do. Sara’s Colorwave Yarns was born.

The pattern for colorwave socks is available HERE


1 comment:

  1. I'm the first one ! Hello Sara, I'm also "sagittaire", live in the south of France and love socks ! Your colours are very great and I hope receive my yarn very soon to make many things... Clothogancho.