Graduated Colours and Rainbows

This method can be done using any width of blank so it’s ideal for using commercially produced blanks. There are two things to think about with this method. The width of the stripes and how much yarn you are likely to use knitting your socks.

The stripes in the knitted sock will be proportionate to the stripes you paint on the blank. If your blank is wider than your sock is round the stripes will knit up wider on your sock than on the blank. If your blank is narrower than your sock is round the stripes will be narrower on your sock.

How much yarn your socks uses will determine how you want to paint your blank, especially if you are painting a rainbow. If your are planning to make a pair of ladies ankle socks you will not use the full 100g of yarn so if you painted the blank in equal width stripes going from red to violet you would miss out on a couple of colours of the rainbow in your finished sock. The same goes for graduated colours too, you will not include every shade in your finished sock. There is no easy way of calculating exactly how much yarn you will use but you can roughly estimate this.

• If you have knitted the socks before you can weigh the left over yarn to roughly work out how much you’ve used.
• You can estimate from experience of from the pattern instructions. A baby or child sock may only require 50g of yarn so you paint half the blank. A Small or short ladies sock may use around 75g so you paint the full blank. A large ladies or mans sock may use almost all the yarn so paint the full blank.

You could try and calculate exactly the amount of yarn needed if you wanted to but personally I prefer to spend my time dyeing and knitting so I accept that happy accidents will happen and I learn as I go along.

When choosing where to place the colours on the blank you need to consider how you are going to knit the socks. If you paint a rainbow blank with red at the top where the live stitches are and you knit top down socks you will have a red cuff but if you work toe up socks you will have red toes. If you get this wrong you won’t be able to knit from the blank and you will need to rewind it to start from the other end.

Prepare the blank and the dyes ready for painting. You need dyes of varying strength in one colour for a graduated effect and rainbow colours, red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo and violet for a rainbow effect. Paint equal width stripes horizontally across the blank.

Other ideas for this method include mixing up different strengths of dye of one colour, using two colours and allowing them to merge in the middle, painting random width stripes or painting a rainbow of random colours.

Top Tips

• If you want clean crisp changes between the stripes don’t get the blank too wet with the dye. The wetter it is the more the colours run. This can create a nice blended effect with rainbow blanks but if the colours run too much it can look messy and the stripes won’t be clearly defined in the finished socks.

• When painting random coloured rainbows consider the colour wheel and how the colours will blend into each other. For example primary colours (red, blue, yellow) are likely to give a small line of a secondary colour (orange, green, purple) if the dye runs long the stripe’s edge. If a primary and secondary colour stripes are painted next to each other you may get a brown line.