The yarn, and thus the socks, that'll never,ever be sold, or even given away. Dyed with turmeric powder last year, then rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed, and still the water wouldn't run clear.
So then I think I must have thought, "What the heck, why not mess around with the skein a little and see what'll happen?", tied it up in string, and dumped it back into the dyepot for another round of simmering. Then, rinsed, rinsed, rinsed, repeat, and the water still wouldn't come clear. Dried it and forgot about it because this dye seems too difficult to rinse out.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when, once again, "What the heck, why not knit it up anyways?" Decide on Marie's Daisies Sock Pattern. Then, one evening I'm knitting away on the second sock and noticed a few blotchy, darker orange splotches on it.
"Hmmm. What could have happened? Is it wet? No. Hmmm. What could have spilled on it? Something in the kitchen? No. Didn't I set the sock down earlier today on the stepstool in the bathroom? Doesn't everyone bring their in-progress knitting everywhere with them, including the bathroom? Maybe some of that baking soda mixed in water I've been using as shampoo (successfully, by the way) splashed onto them? Hmmm."
Looked in dye books to see if there's something already written about this anywhere and, in Wild Color, find this: "An alkaline modifier gives reddish-orange tones." and "...yellow from turmeric is likely to be less fast than most other yellow dyes, even when used with a mordant or in combination with other dyes."
A ha. Finished knitting socks anyways.
Time to mess around some more. Soaked the finished socks in a pot of water with baking soda and watched them change to that deep orange-red seen in the splotches and mentioned in the book.
Laid them out in dappled shade to dry (above left). Forgot about them. Drove to town to run errands for a couple of hours. Came back home to find them in full sunshine. Whoops. The sides of the socks facing up into the direct sunlight were dulled, while the side facing away from the sun was a beautiful, bright rusty orange (above right).
Dipped again into the alkaline water and baking soda solution to try and even out the color. Worked somewhat, but still left the socks with a harlequin effect (above left).
OK, might as well mess around even more with this. Dipped into an acidic water and vinegar solution which reverts the socks back closer to the original screaming yellow zonker color, still with a slight harlequin look, one side of the socks duller in color than the other (above right).
They're done, though, and no one will notice when they're worn inside shoes, out of focus, or photographed at a distance as a reflection in the window. So there.
I see a homeschooling science experiment sometime with the leftover yarn or even the socks themselves, if I can just find that litmus paper around here somewhere. If not, the yarn itself can serve that purpose. Or you can make your own with red cabbage.
C suspects that if I wear these and my feet sweat enough in them that they'll "henna" my feet. I'll be sure to let you know about it if it does.
Wacky dye, to be certain. Entertaining, at least. Once. Never again.
Trying to look at all this quick-changing as an asset. You could change the color of your socks on a whim with a dip in an alkaline or acid solution, or maybe they'd be good for party tricks...spill a little lemonade on them and, presto chango, a new pair of socks!
Daisies socks. Can of Bon Ami cleanser.
As for the pattern, I absolutely loved knitting it and will knit a pair of these again, in a yarn dyed with a less volatile dye, however. The yarn is 70% merino, 30% silk. Here, they're knit on size 1 needles, altered to be knit toe up, with k3, p1 ribbing at the cuff.
As a friend said when she saw me working on them, "Hmm, socks with holes purposely knit into them."