knitting · socks

Making socks: some thoughts about knitting

This week, a special tag on Instagram really got my thinking juices flowing. If you follow me there (@thesweatercollective) you might have read the post already, but so many people left such lovely responses that I thought it was a discussion point worth resharing. The tag was from my dear friend and creative extraordinaire Hanna Lisa Haferkamp (visit her website here) for the #mymakingstory series (can’t wait for the launch of the Making Stories: WOODS book later in the year!) and the tag was this – what is your favourite making tradition or memory?

I really had to stew on that question for a day or so. Sure, we know knitting is a “traditional” thing, something that’s been around for ages, but WHY is the process important for us to hold onto? What do we achieve through this act of making by hand in such an industrialized and mechanized age? Finally, I realised the answer to the tag was staring me straight in the face as something I work on almost every day – sock knitting!!


Arabesque Socks in progress

And this is why:

In today’s world, throw-away culture and fast fashion seem to be the mainstream’s preference. For me, handknitting our socks is a subversive act and one that I think sometimes those outside the knitting community struggle to understand. Why would you spend hours making socks when you could buy a pair for a couple of dollars? Not only do I think making socks by hand is better for the environment (I’m more likely to mend my handknit socks or reuse the yarn rather than add to the ridiculous amount of textile waste there is in the world thanks to the time I’ve invested in them), meditative (I concentrate on my breathing and the rhythm of my actions more when I knit), and a way to support fellow small business owners and artisans (particularly indie designers and dyers) but it’s what we’ve done for hundreds of years and ensures that legacy continues into the future. It’s a little reminder of the importance of creativity and what each and every one of us is capable of doing with persistence.

I absolutely loved the additional points people brought up too: handknit socks do a better job at keeping our feet warm, they make very special gifts, and feel AMAZING to wear!!

What’s your favourite making tradition? Are you as obsessed with making your socks by hand as I am? Leave a comment below!

Make sure you’re following the amazing ladies behind the Making Stories: WOODS book on Instagram (@_makingstories) which sparked these musings for info about release dates, crowdfunding, and gorgeous knitting patterns and yarn! Website here.



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