How To Extend The Life Of Handknit Socks

Why do I crank out multitudes of socks?

Because I adore knitting but have a scarcity of time and their diminutive palatte holds infinite possibility for the exploration of design and technique. Every stitch is a precious thing.

For my mother, who forges on despite disability, it takes an entire year to make a single pair of socks. Every stitch is a precious thing.

My sister believes everybody in the extended family -- and even extended circle of friends -- deserves not just one but two pairs of handknit socks. So strong is her conviction that she has committed to being a one-woman go-to source for fiber love. She moves them out at breakneck speed -- and still, every stitch is a precious thing.

Rather than frame our work behind archival glass or limit their rotation in our wear cycle, we firmly believe we (or our loved ones) ought to be able to wear the heck out of our handknit socks well into the next millenium.

But socks pay a steep price for the privilege of being among our beloved pairs. Worn patches appear on the best of them, and none can escape the assault of toes and their insidious toenails pressing upon them from within a heeled boot. Sooner or later, something's gonna give!

Here's a little tip that can help delay the inevitable:

Before washing, turn your socks wrong side out!

Washing your handknit socks wrong-side-out increases likelihood that any fuzzy halos accumulating over time will appear on the insides rather than the outsides.

Turning the foot-sweaty side out when you wash encourages dirt to move more freely out into the wash water rather than staying trapped within the sock itself -- and less dirt equates to less wear.

I know, I know... somewhere out there is a scientist who can produce research demonstrating that those of us inclined to knit socks by hand are also, nine times out of ten, inclined to turn our clothes right side out before tossing them in the hamper. But muster the strength to move past your compulsion and give this tip a try. Can't hurt, and your socks might thank you!

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Nice. Thanks for the thoughts.