In praise of old wool socks

Since we finally got some furniture for our clothes, I’ve been unpacking and evaluating stuff I’ve had in “deep storage” and haven’t seen for years.  Some things are easily tossed – underwear with shot waists; some things are joyously recovered – an oversized thrift cashmere sweater perfect for wintertime pjs, though covered in holes, so it looks like a night terror was a reality, and I really should fix it, but don’t really feel like it; and some things have a stubborn endurance that gives me pause and I take them out to wear again, but they’re the first things to be crammed back in a bag if I’m short on storage space.

Like a few pairs of my old wool socks.

old wool socks

I can’t kill these things…  And they’re actually from the 1980s, so on that aspect alone they should be banished…

Wool socks used to be a rough, no-frills, utilitarian item of clothing.  They weren’t even dyed, and were made of mostly wool with a teeny bit of nylon for strength.  The soles weren’t cushioned or contoured, and silk liners were essential when wearing them for hiking.

 Some of them lost their shape and got dumb baggy ankles and some are lightly felted and all the cozier for it.

old wool socks-baggy ankles

These things tromped around Midwestern forests and fields, endured a month without washing high in the Rockies 25 years ago, and slid around on old wooden floors in old creaky old urban houses.

I don’t like wearing them to hike now – I’ve gotten too soft these days and prefer the squishier kind, and I have enough hand knit socks to wear when out in public, so these are pretty much the sock equivalent of sweatpants.

old wool socks-heels

All of them have balding heels and toes, yet there still hasn’t been a full break…  Some of them look nearly as delicate as hosiery, but despite my recent frequent wearing and washing, they’ve held on tight.

(And they also made it through my horrendous slaughter by moth ordeal 10 or 15 years ago…)

old wool socks-thin heels

I’m really trying to get rid of things – to throw away things that truly no longer serve a purpose to anyone and to donate those which do – but these fall in neither category.

I’m actually considering (when they finally do have peep-heels) unraveling the cuffs and combining a few old pairs to make new ones…

But I don’t think I’d survive the bomb/apocalypse/undead uprising that would be required to finally destroy these things.


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Filed under collecting, knitting, recycling

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