I do so love Craigslist, don't you? (For you all not in the USA, that is an online classifieds spot.) I managed to score a Black & Decker workmate for $20. That is a portable work bench, which is sturdy enough to clamp my sock machine too without fear of it tipping over. That means I can take this show on the road!
I used it last night, to test things out. I'm happy to say that everything works just fine. In fact, if I had the floor space in my studio, I'd just leave the machine on it all the time. But since I don't, the machine will go back to its place on the beading desk, and the work bench will get folded and stashed until I want to be portable.
I did get a new camera tonight, so I can show you the socks I've made so far:
These are all made with different brands of commercial yarn, and are all quite comfortable. I'm getting quite spoiled--I don't want to go back to cheapo Walmart socks any more!
I did some research today. I have a stash of fiber reactive dye from Dharma Trading Company, that I used for the warp painted shawls I made awhile ago. Those were cotton however, and dyes for cellulose fibers don't necessarily work on protein fibers. From my reading though, I think I'll be able to use these dyes for my wool sock yarns, with a bit of a change in the recipe. Somebody check me here: if I substitute vinegar for the soda ash in the pre-wash, and steam set the resulting yarn, I should be ok, yes? Or can I just let it set 24 hours to cure like I did with the cotton, skipping the steaming step?