• Various/Onna Carr

Socks:  the Journey of a Thousand Yards of Wool Starts with a Single Stitch

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

Post by Onna Carr

Hand-Knitted Socks

This month, I cast on some wool socks. These are not just any wool socks--these are socks manufactured from a Brown Sheep sport weight yarn of varying dye layers of blue that was purchased on a cone at Brown Sheep's Factory Outlet in Mitchell, Nebraska, at their mill. The Brown Sheep Mill and Factory Store Outlet are sort of a Midwest Mecca for fiber artists and bargain hunters, but this haven also calls to people as far flung as Canada, who bring a van and load it full of yarn to take back to their yarn stores there. Not only do we get the bargains of discounted, Brown Sheep wool, but we have an awesome, customer service experience as this store is staffed by some of the world's most delightful people!! I remember the first time I went to Brown Sheep with my family, I was fourteen and in awe of the possibilities created by the reasonable prices of factory seconds that looked just as lovely as factory firsts. Even though many years have passed, and we have made many more trips to Brown Sheep's Factory Outlet, we still continue to be amazed by their quality and their reasonable prices, and our eyes swirl with the colors of the rainbow and our head spin with the knitted project possibilities their yarn presents.

This pair of socks I am knitting currently has been a work in progress involving a rip-out as I miscalculated the width on the foot of the sock because I did not adequately take into account the cable that runs along the top of the foot. These socks started with a basic, knitted cast-on and had a small cable that runs down the back of the sock from the ankle to the heel. At the heel, I incorporated some double-lock, serger thread as recommended by the owner of Brown Sheep, the daughter of the man who started the business, which is as effective as Socka at a greatly-reduced price. I then knit my heel flap and turned my heel before casting back on with a few additional stitches added and NO decrease rows. I then knit 13-16 rows and began a cable with purl stitches in between for an added layer of intricacy. I then decreased the socks at their desired length and finished them with a Kitchener stitch and slightly-pointy, elf toes.

I love hand-knitted socks, which make easy projects I can travel with in a small bag and that create such cushy, comfortable, toasty and warm results. People can say what they will about modern technology, but modern technology has cost us quite a bit, and part of its pound of flesh was hand-knit socks and a sense of community. By knitting socks, I feel a bit like a rebel, reclaiming a some of what was lost each time I help to clad happy, dancing feet that walk in pools of light. Perhaps, as I stood in Brown Sheep's Factory Outlet Store at the age of fourteen with my family, we were on a journey that we continue today. Maybe the thing that enamored us to wool in the first place was something I am just now able to put into words--an act of rebellion against machines that are built under claims of making our lives easier, but that really just make us more like automatons ourselves. Perhaps the journey of a thousand yards does start with a single stitch.

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