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
The pattern for colorwave socks is available HERE
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