Making Socks from Start to Finish

Our guest artist is Leonor  from Felt Buddies who is sharing a special sock story and process.

Today I’m sharing with you some sock making, from the dye pot to the finished product.

A few months ago, I got a new tattoo from my husband’s co-worker Jim (if you’re guessing my other half tattoos for a living, you’re guessing right). In exchange for his work, Jim asked me to knit him a pair of socks – he’d seen me knit whilst in the studio and was fascinated by the concept of having a garment made especially for someone. I happily obliged!

Because I own my own fibre business, I have a lot of sock yarn available to dye at my pleasure. After talking to Jim about his colour preferences, I got to work. I loved that he asked me for three of my favourite things in socks:

  • Mismatched colours with contrasting heels and toes;
  • Bright colours (you can’t get brighter than magenta and purple!)
  • Socks that glow under UV light.

I had some yarn I was keeping for a special occasion and this was the perfect time to use it. It’s a very soft alpaca/merino/nylon blend.

For some reason, at the time I thought it was a good idea to break down the yarn into four pieces – two for the main body, two for the heels and toes. I’ve no idea why I did this, since I was only using two colours, but hey. I simply weighed the skein and took out 15 grams for each foot to make the smaller parts.

I then soaked the fibre in some water and synthrapol in preparation for dyeing. Synthrapol is a wetting agent and helps the wool absorb more dye. It’s also excellent to rinse out fibres.

After the yarn was thoroughly wet, I made my dye stock using professional-grade acid dyes and to the pots I went.

After adding the colour to the water, I placed one little skein and one big one in the pot and let the fibre sit for a few minutes without any heat. Because this yarn isn’t treated to be superwash (non-felting), the dye takes longer to penetrate the fibre, so I wanted to give it some time to get to every bit of wool.

I then turned the heat on and once the water started simmering, let it be for about 10 minutes, turned it off and let the wool cool completely in the pot. This allows for the remaining dye to be soaked up, and also makes for a brighter finished colour work.







In order to turn my skein of yarn into a ball, I used an umbrella swift (pictured above, on the left) to hold the fibre whilst I pulled it onto a skein winder (above right) to make a neat ball. I have all the cool gadgets!

Once the yarn was dyed, washed, rinsed and dry, it was time for knitting. I had made an impression of Jim’s foot beforehand and used it as my template to make sure they’d fit. If you’re curious, this is a technique taught in a pattern called Fish Lips Kiss Heel that makes for fail-safe sock fitting (and heel-making). It’s available on Ravelry at a very low price and I highly recommend it.

And here’s the finished socks! I still had to weave in the ends in this picture, but I’m happy to report that’s been done since and I have presented this squishy pair to a very enthusiastic Jim.

Now, for a fun little extra: I asked for a photo of him wearing the socks for my social media. Be careful what you wish for! Jim took the picture, alright – he got down to his underwear and struck a hilarious sexy pose for me. If a bit of skin doesn’t offend you and you like a good laugh, hop on to my Instagram @feltbuddies and look for yourself. There’s a black and white photo with a disclaimer about the partial nudity, and after you swipe there’s Jim happily wearing my socks… J


Thanks Leonor!  If you’d like to follow more of her fiber adventures,  you can see her work here:


This entry was posted in Dyeing, Guest Artists, Knitting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Making Socks from Start to Finish

  1. And do they glow under UV light? The colours are fantastic and the socks are really well knitted. Unfortunately we don’t have Instagram so we’ll have to imagine Jim modelling his socks!

  2. ruthlane says:

    Wow, what a process and yes, you have all the cool tools. I hadn’t heard about the way to fit the socks to an exact foot size. I don’t knit but I will tell my friend who does about it. I saw the photo on Instagram, pretty funny 🙂

    Great socks!

    • Thanks, Ruth! Would you believe there’s still a couple of gadgets I’d like to get? I also want to get into sewing so queue a very long wish list of even more stuff 😀

      The Fish Lips Kiss Heel really doesn’t disappoint. The pattern is thorough and has yet to disappoint me. Tell your friend, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it!

      Haha, glad you enjoyed the photo. Jim is a very silly man.

  3. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. It’s always nice to see the process. The socks are terrific. I’m sure Jim loves them. I’d love to see them glow in the dark. :-). He must be a hit at the pubs.

    • Thanks for letting me share my adventure, Marilyn! 🙂 Jim says they’re his absolute favourite socks and now that he’s taken them “outside” once, they will forever remain indoor socks, he doesn’t want to ruin them.

      If I remember, I’ll ask Jim to wear them on a day I can bring my UV light with me and show how they light up under it 😀 Unfortunately they don’t simply glow in the dark, but I can tell you I’d be the first to pounce on such dyes if they ever get made!

      (PS – I’ve been having trouble commenting on posts lately, WordPress isn’t allowing me to login properly – what a relief today it’s working so I get to reply to everyone!)

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      You’re welcome, you always have such great pics and tutorials. Jim obviously treasures his new socks if they are “inside” socks. It would be awesome to see them glow in the dark! I’m glad you didn’t have WordPress issues today. I hope it’s resolved whatever the problem was.

  4. zedster66 says:

    They’re great, Leonor! I couldn’t see the photo, but saw a video 🙂 Thanks for showing the process too 🙂

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