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Tuff Socks Naturally: Ply Magazine

December 6, 2018

Dearest sock adventurers,

As many of you will know Mary Heath from Local and Bespoke and I have been jointly working on the Tuff Socks Naturally project for just over a year now. Tuff Socks Naturally, is an open, collaborative project exploring more sustainable alternatives to superwash and nylon in sock yarn.

In November last year, we wrote our first posts and we’ve been spinning, knitting, road testing, and experimenting ever since. We’ve been sharing our journey on our blogs and on instagram using the hashtag #tuffsocksnaturally. This tag has been picked up by others on similar sock journeys and Clare Devine’s work with non-nylon millspuns yarns in her sock design work has expanded the tag beyond spinners to the knitting community as well. You can even do a Tuff Socks Naturally knitting class with Clare at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March.

Our findings and musings about the spinning side of things have recently been published by Ply Magazine in their Winter 18 edition on Sock Yarn. You can purchase the magazine directly from Ply following that link. We talk about the origins of the project, our interests and interim conclusions from our experiments.

It was such a joyful experience writing this article with Mary, posting it back and forth between us till it was done. We hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. And do check back here for more installments of Tuff Socks Naturally, I’ve got lots more to share as soon as I finish unpacking all the boxes after moving house.

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    1. Well, it’s not like you NEED to know anymore about spinning socks I guess but I am super flattered that our article has tempted you! Enjoy!

  1. this is fabulous! I will get the magazine for sure!
    I and many I know do not use instagram… is there any way you can set up a ravelry group and maybe a KAL for spinners/knitters of non superwash sock yarn?

    1. Hi Amanda, so glad the subject matter interests you. I thought i had heard that Ply was doing an electronic version now… that would save postage.

  2. This is a subject very dear to my heart – even my husband is on board with this one as we search for a sock yarn that will stand up to a series of long hard days inside his work boots. My issue follows on from your research – once you identify the ultimate sock yarn it is likely to be a breed that I cannot source without great expense. Therefore my challenge (once I get my act together ) is to discover the best spinning/plying method to turn a softish local merino into a hard wearing sock yarn. You guys are really doing important work – I applaud you.

  3. Congratulations!! I am impressed, as ever, with your dedicated research and mindful attitude to whatever you do. Well done!
    Unpacking boxes………….. I am wishing you all the best on that one!!

    Big hugs Jill x

  4. I am not much of a sock knitter but I always get every issue of PLY whether it seems immediately useful or not. I have been fascinated and inspired even when the particular topic covered doesn’t apply to my spinning life right now.

    And hard-wearing, elastic yarns are useful in so many ways! I tend to use the yarns I spin in this way for gloves and mittens.

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