All socks fade over time. I know this. But I've had some fade rather fast and that bothered me. My buddy Krista let me know that Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls fame had posted a method of resetting dye using Citric Acid. (Instructions begin in the middle of the post.) The seed was planted: I wanted to re-fix the dye in all of my socks.
The process, although not that difficult, requires some space and tools. But the set up we have in our little studio isn't ideal. My parent's house however... much more ideal. I bided my time and waited for the week we were to watch Scooter. And I ended up doing this, unintentionally, on the hottest day inside the garage.
I created an assembly line to get all of this done in a reasonable amount of time. I started with the soaking instructions. While socks were socking I was wrapping the next set of socks in plastic wrap. And then I was running in and out of the garage nuking the socks or hanging them up to dry.
Incidentally, Jasmin has a 1250 watt microwave while my parents have an 800 watt one. Jasmin provided a wattage converter, which I used. I cooked my socks for a bit longer than she did. But I did only do 1 minute on, 1 minute off as suggested until I hit the total amount of time I needed to.
It was quite the job with around 3 hours of constant movement in 95˚F/ 35˚C heat. (I'm pretty sure it was hotter in the garage, though.) I have 30 pairs of socks. I didn't know that until this project. And, as it turns out, 60 individual wet socks are quite heavy.
After all the socks dried from the citric acid process, I rewashed them all with Soak and let them dry again. And now I have 30 pairs of freshly laundered socks ready for winter.
Fun fact: 4 pairs were knit for me by Tyler
I'm not sure how well this process will preserve color, but two of the pairs were fresh and never had been worn. I'll keep an eye on them as I wear them to see how well re-fixing worked. The red pair, however, I was never able to get the water to run clear. I've decided to continue laundering them with dark socks only.