Nowadays, stockings are invariably knitted from undyed yarn. This does not mean that the yarn has not been in any way tinted, but those dyes into which it has been dipped are “fugitive”; that is they can be washed out. These fugitive dyes, which may be blue, green, yellow or red are used for easy identification in the factory so that at a glance it can be seen which type of yarn has been used in the manufacture of any stocking.

In England a town with a great tradition of dyeing is Leek in Staffordshire. Not only is dyeing a traditional craftsmanship to be found there, but the reason for the dyeing industry’s settlement in the area is that the natural

Stockings are shuffled prior to dyeing
The nylon pre-boarding machine

water supplies of the district are nearly perfect for the purposes of the dyeing trade.

All Pretty Polly stockings when ready for dyeing, are taken from the factory at Sutton-in-Ashfield to the Works of Joshua Wardle Ltd., at Leek. On arrival at the dye works stockings are carefully counted and then mixed and churned together to ensure that there are no tightly packed stockings which could resist the processes to which they are subjected later.

Left above: Stockings are thoroughly “shuffled” to assist the penetration of the dye when they are in the vats.

Left below: The nylon pre-boarding machine.

Right above: the size of pre-forms is adjusted by using interchangeable toe pieces.