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Tuff Socks Naturally: Shropshire Sock

May 8, 2018

And here it is, a sock knitted in Shropshire yarn.

Today’s post is one in a series called Tuff Socks Naturally, an open, collaborative project exploring more sustainable alternatives to superwash and nylon in sock yarn. You can join in on the discussion, share pics and projects on this blog or Local and Bespoke or on instagram using the hashtag #tuffsocksnaturally.

I am so pleased with this sock. It knitted up easily on 2.5 mm needles to create a tweedy, elastic sock. It always stays in shape and it always stays up. It is significantly more elastic than the Ryeland sock although less fine. The handspun yarn was consistent through out the sock and I dyed a little in some left over solar dye to add some stripes.

For the pattern, I used the basic toe up pattern from Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture (2014) book. I used a figure of eight cast on, a regular wedge toe and then a short row gusset and a square heel. It has worked well, although I think I needed to make a deeper gusset. The sock is made up pure Shropshire, no added reinforcers, so I can get a good understanding of the durability of the fibre.  I am beginning to think that no all sock yarns require reinforcing.

And here is the sock, getting its hours up and staying tough. It has 108 hours already and no signs of holes and absolutely no fulling.

The knitting process got me thinking about the importance of multi gauge sock recipes for hand spun socks. This sock yarn was a little heavier than commercial sock, so I had to tweek the pattern accordingly but a really good multi gauge recipe would be wonderful for the Tuff Socks Naturally project. Does anyone know of a good one? All suggestions welcomed.

It is also good to remember that this is Rare Breed Sheep, in Australia and elsewhere. It is uniquely suited to long lasting socks and other garments and could have a significant role to play in the sustainable clothing movement. Shropshire Woollies sells fleece, fibre and yarn so even knitters can get their hands on this wonderful fibre.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Thank you for this info! The socks look great, and I have enjoyed “watching” the process from fleece to socks. Looking forward to the next pair….

  2. Well, that was a treat for us and your feet! I wonder how the Scottish Blackfaced or anyone of those other heritage (read Tough) breeds would do.
    But you are well on your way to finding out! Yes, a guide for gauges and breeds would be very interesting…….down another rabbit hole! Nice work.

  3. Thank you for posting this wonderful sock. Yes they are “tuff” The socks look great, lovely knitting. Keep posting the time frame on wear, thank you for giving Shropshire wool a go.

  4. My go-to source for multi-size, multi-gauge sock patterns are the books by Charlene Schurch – Sensational Knitted Socks and More Sensational Knitted Socks. She includes both cuff-down and toe-up options.
    I’ve been really fascinated by your handspun sock project. I learnt to spin so I could make handspun socks, but I’m yet to take the plunge with something so fine.

  5. Well hells bells……thank you Paisley! I have that book. It was in a safe place of course LOL

  6. I haven’t yet knitted a sock, but I darn many! Thanks for the pointer to Shropshire Woollies – she is kindly spinning me some yarn right now! I’ll join in the no-nylon experiment from the darning angle for now (and hope to launch into actual sock knitting sometime not too far away).

  7. I enjoyed your blog post especially since I also knit heavy socks quite often. Brenda let me know she suggested our Need A Sock book which is multi-gauge from sock yarn to worsted weight. The socks are knit in the traditional cuff down construction but the stitch numbers could totally be used by someone knitting from the top up. The sock book is one of a series of Need A … books which are all multi-gauge.
    If you want to check it out: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/cabin-fever-need-a-sock

    Cheers,
    Deb Gemmell, Cabin Fever

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