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Custom Knit vs. Sublimation Socks: "What's the difference??" – CatawbaSox

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Custom Knit vs. Sublimation Socks: "What's the difference??"

Posted on July 12 2017


"What's the difference?" and "Which one is better?"


We've been getting these questions a lot, so we wanted to better explain each process in hopes that we can help you make a more well-informed decision about which custom products are best for your custom order!


"What is sublimation?"

Sublimation is the process of applying an image onto the surface of a blank product (we can sublimate socks, shirts, arm sleeves, sack-packs, & hats!) using heat and pressure.  The sock sublimation blanks are white with black accents.  We use "fancy" yarns that allow the image to transfer only to the white parts of the sock so that the black accents remain black from start to finish.  Sounds scientific, huh?  Well, our "sock-ologists" have mastered this process, and we have it down to an art!

(After you have approved your 
design CADs...) 
We print the design transfers 
on a giant printer.
We take the sheets and separate the 
front images from the back images
to prepare for production.

We use jigs to smooth the socks
so that image makes a
clean transfer onto the sock.

We carefully align the sublimation
blanks and transfer paper onto
the press.  Once that's done,
we close the press for a specific
amount of time to allow the image to
transfer to the sublimation blank.





Unlike some of our competitors,
we turn the edges between
the front press and the back press.  
By turning the edges of each sock,
we minimize the possibility of
having a white line down either side
of the finished, sublimated product.  
This creates a more seamless look
for the final products, and well...
it just looks better!


Because the image is printed and transferred to the surface of the sock, we can use any CMYK color to add any hi-res design to the sock (or shirt...or arm sleeve...etc).  Have a super detailed logo? No problem for sublimation!  Want a picture of your favorite running trail scenery on a sock?  No problem!  Want to hand out "employee appreciation" t-shirts to your staff with a picture of your smiling face on them?  No problem (for us, that is)!  Anything you can think of can be printed and sublimated onto your custom products.

 One downside to sublimation is that because the design/image is applied to the outer surface of the sock, once stretched the sock shows some grin-through.  


And then, there are custom knits!


"What are custom knits?"

 Knit is exactly what you would probably expect it to be...the design is knit into the sock on a knitting machine.  Our design team works directly with our machine technicians to ensure that the designs created do not exceed machine capabilities.  You can either send us your artwork, or our super-talented design team can whip up some ultra-cool designs for you!  

A downside to custom knit designs is that we are limited by what the knitting machines are able to knit.  We are also limited to colors of yarns that we have in stock.  

Don't fret, though!  We have rows and rows filled with boxes and boxes of stock yarns!  See!


This simply means that overall, the knit designs must be less detailed than sublimation designs.  Knit is best for more simplistic designs and less intricate logos.  At this time, our custom knit program is limited to socks only, but we can definitely incorporate a knit sock into your custom sublimation package if that's what your heart desires!  We want what your heart wants.  

Because the design is knit into the sock, there's less grin-through with custom knits!  If grin-through is a deal-breaker for you, you should go with a custom knit.  They're equally as awesome!  

If you're still not sure which to choose, no worries!  Just email your logos/artwork/design ideas to us, and someone from our design team will point you in the right direction!  We've got you covered.

In the meantime, feel free to check out some of the sweet, custom socks we've done for other clients and get inspired!


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