Brokebottom Hollow

I might have mentioned before that my husband adores handknit socksHe wears them exclusively all winter long. I’m pretty sure that if he’s not wearing handknit, he’s barefoot. Actually, he wears them to death. For years he has been insisting that there must be a way to fix broken socks. That the tops could be reused and new bottoms knit on (yeah, I know. I spent about 5 minutes analyzing the attractiveness of the project). Or, that new pieces could be inserted where there were wear patterns; feasibility here, about zero. Look at the kind of “wear patterns” we are talking about:

Socks full of holes

Personally, my vote for recycling them has always been to send them to the circular file. Just look at this:

sock with giant hole in it

You can see right through BOTH layers of this sock! With a hole like this, who needs bare feet? It’s the same with his felt clogs. He wears them til the holes are so big, I have to remind him that his nice socks will wear out that way.

Now, just for the record, it’s not that i have not kept up. Trust me, he has plenty of new, good socks. And if he didn’t, I could have him all tricked out in a week or so; socks aren’t that hard for me to reel off. He just feels that if there is any good part left, he should use it til it’s gone, I guess.

I mean, I know all about getting attached to ratty old clothes; it is a tradition passed on by my father and upheld in this home. I know the soothing balm of soft, comfy, broken-in fabric against an irritated soul. That is the first thing I run for when I walk in the door from a day out. But, (and, correct me if i’m wrong) that is different than broken clothes. And anyway, I don’t think this is about that. It’s more about not wasting something good.

After finally noticing how many of David’s socks are really, really, over, I gave him the last three pairs in my stockpile, and slated this month as “knitting socks” month, sort of like my own little march madness (whoa Debbie, down there; don’t you even say anything). I feel a need to knit and store some more, and to hand David a couple of new pair as well.

The Sock Pattern to End All Sock Patterns

These tweed socks are done and I love them. And I started a couple more pairs:

Beginning knit sock

One is that “andes mints” yarn I spun last week and the other is some old green mountain spinnery yarn.

I was hoping that this would inpsire him to stop patching his old wornout ones. Yup, he does. This is a new thing, and I cannot talk him out of it (much less fathom the logic); late at night, he sits and mends, and I sit and knit. Seriously.
and, his old socks are so worn, that it sometimes takes him as long to patch them as it takes me to knit a whole new one. I kid you not.

Patched socks

It wouldn’t be so bad, but he patches them with—shudder—store bought (the ones he won’t wear).

The thing is, he does it out of love. Love for the socks, and love for the knitter who made them (that would be me). I have been thinking up alternate recycling projects for the handknit socks, and I have a few ideas. Any suggestions, please leave in the comments (hint: because they are all 100% wool hanspun, they ARE felting fodder). Let’s see if we can do better by the man!

Finished Tweed Sock Pattern: Sock Pattern to End All Sock Patterns

Cover image pattern: Twisted Little Sock

Originally posted by Anne Hanson on March 16, 2006.



Meg B.

I made gnomes with clean worn socks last year and gave them for Christmas. They were a big hit! Depending on where the holes are, that might work. Here’s one youtube tute, there are many.


If the were in that state of despair. I would definitely use the bits and pieces for stuffing the little catnip mice I make. Can’t let any wool go to waste!

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