Making socks last

When you put time and effort into hand knitted socks, you want them to last.

Really soft yarns, even knit quite tightly, don’t have the strength to stand up to foot abuse. Often they are spun woolen rather than worsted with characteristics that make them wonderful garment yarns. Sock legs? My sock cuffs and legs don’t wear out. (We will not speak about the guys in my house who think the way to put on a sock is to grab it by the cuff and yank.)

But when it comes to toes and heels – well fitting shoes should not bother my socks and baring my own stupidity (where is that nail clipper anyway?) socks should last. Coming apart is a construction fault, but wearing through? Unfortunately, I am seeing this happen with the 100% merino or wool yarns, and not with the commercial sock yarns (excepting those Indie dyers’ whose base is a good quality sock yarn).

Deb recently had the experience of a lovely pair of socks developing a gaping hole. As I looked at her sad picture, I realized the advantage of the afterthought heel. She can just frog and reknit with a small amount of fiddling.  Doesn’t work with my favorite heels.

Where am I going with this? I have a lot of sock yarn from Indie dyers. I enjoy the colour, the uniqueness and supporting cottage industry, but I don’t like socks that wear out.

I wear my clothes for practically ever (hint, anyone who wears a uniform to work on a daily basis is not constrained to keep up on fashion). I have a skirt, older than the eldest (now 29), in my wardrobe that I still wear. I have turtlenecks that are still wearable after 10 years.

I have dozens of pairs of handknit socks. Socks should last, especially when I have enough choices that an individual pair is not getting worn every week.

I used to add in the reinforcement yarn in toes and heels. Only JaWoll and Lang still seem to include it. I can buy it from Regia as the German shops still carry it. I have been know to make my own reinforcement yarn (it is two extra plys – I am a spinner, exactly how hard is it separate a couple of meters of yarn?) or use wooly nylon.

What is the catch? No mater what you do, the color or pattern on the toes and heels is not going to match the rest of the sock unless it is a solid. If I had planned on a contrast heel, it is not an issue.

Yes, I know I just told you that I am not a fashion person, but this is a rare time when a bit of OC strikes. I like things to balance and I am not a real fan of bulk.

I think the 100% wools and merinos are going to languish a while in the stash while I go back to sock yarn.

Sock Wars III

The knitters are slowly being killed off. It is a balance of being able to knit rapidly and having your assassin knit slowly enough to get killed off plus being favored by the tricksters of the Post.

I am still alive, with my target’s socks wending their way from Royal Post to USPS in Texas. We will see.

The forums are hysterically funny. Most of us are posting under our aliases. Puns and laughs abound as the ghosts and ghouls just keep coming back. Zombies we think as well. Plus there are those vampires who keep sucking up everyone’s time.

A lot of entertainment for very little money.


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