We are always adding new and exciting yarns you’ll love working with, and our latest addition features a familiar yarn blend presented in a totally new-to-us way: sock blanks!
What are Sock Blanks?
Sock blanks are made from fingering weight yarns which have been knit up into fabric prior to dyeing. They kind of resemble short scarves! This creates a canvas on which we paint our own artistic colourways onto the fabric, and since each blank is individually hand-dyed, no two are exactly alike. Projects made from a sock blank knit and crochet up in truly unique ways!
How do I Use a Sock Blank?
Our sock blanks are single-stranded, meaning only one strand of yarn is knit into the fabric. If you are making socks, they may not be identical when working from the blank. Instead, they will coordinate because they are the same colours, but they will look more like fraternal twins in terms of colour placement.
Sock blanks aren’t just for socks, however! You can use it to create a shawl such as our freeItty Bitty Picoty Shawl, or multiple sock blanks to knit or crochet a larger garment or blanket (you could also use multiple sock blanks to make a match-ier pair of socks!).
Each sock blank is made out of our delightfully squishy and soft Superfine Fingering base (90% Merino/10% Nylon) and has the same length as our skeins, 400 yards/366 meters which should be sufficient for a pair of socks or a one-skein project.
So let’s talk about how to work with a sock blank! There are three main ways you can choose to work with your sock blank; each is detailed below.
Option #1: Straight From the Blank
If you want no muss, no fuss crafting, you can knit or crochet directly from the sock blank. First, you need to find the appropriate end of the sock blank to start. As with knitting, if you find the correct end of the sock blank, you can pull and the stitches will easily unravel, much as if you are ripping back your knitting. If you start at an end and it doesn’t seem to be pulling apart easily, you are probably using the wrong end and should flip the sock blank 180 degrees and start at the other side.
Once you have found your end, remove the thread that is securing the stitches, unravel a row or two of the blank, and then you can just cast on and begin knitting or crocheting! If you choose to work directly off the sock blank, your yarn will be a bit twisted and ruffled and it will have the appearance of ramen noodles. Although this may make your project look a little funky as your knit, all the lumps and bumps will block out as soon as youwash and block your new project.
Option #2: Working From A Ball
If Option 1 doesn’t feel right to you, you can always wind your sock blank into a ball and work from there. You can either do this by hand, or attach one end to your ball winder and crank away. Just follow the instructions above for finding the correct end and let ‘er rip! If you choose this method, your yarn will still be a bit ruffly and kinked and your stitches may still look a little distorted. However a goodblocking will take care of that!
Option #3: Reskeining and Washing
This one takes a bit more effort, but if you just don’t want to knit with yarn that’s ruffly and kinked, then this may be the method for you. After winding your blank into a ball, skein it up so that you can wash your yarn to smooth out all of the lumps and bumps.
One way to do this is to use a spinner’s tool called a niddy noddy to wind your yarn back into a skein and then tie it off before washing. We recommend adding 4 ties spaced evenly around the skein (before you take it off the niddy noddy) to keep things from getting tangled. If you want to see how to wind yarn on a niddy noddy we like this excellentvideo tutorial from The Woolery.
Once you have finished skeining your yarn, you can soak it in tepid water with a mild soap, much as you would whenwashing and blocking your finished project. When your yarn is done soaking, remove it from the sink and squeeze gently to release excess water. Using a clean, dry towel, roll the yarn gently in the towel and squeeze to release additional water; never wring or stretch your skein. Finally, hang your skein to dry overnight (we like to use a plastic hanger or drying rack in the shower). The next day your skein should be looking fresh and smooth and ready for you to start your project!
Projects for Sock Blanks
While you may be dying to knit the latest sock pattern with your sock blank, we also have a new pattern, theItty Bitty Picoty Shawl, that is available for free when you sign up for our newsletter here. This pretty little shawl was designed especially for our new sock blanks, requiring just one to complete the project!
We hope this post has helped you learn a little more about sock blanks and we can’t wait to see what you create! Share your projects with us onInstagram using the hashtag #zenyarngarden or join our groupZen Yarn Gardeners on Facebook!
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Creating and working with yarn is such a labor of love for all of us in the fiber community.
That’s why we believe that it’s so incredibly important to employ the most environmentally-friendly practices throughout the production process, every step of the way. To us, honoring the planet that nurtures the gorgeous animals we get our fiber from, conserving the water we use to dye with, and using as little energy as possible is one of our top priorities.