Monday, May 5, 2008

What's Old is New

I have this thing about knitting socks--I just can't stop! If you've never worn a hand-knit wool sock, then you probably won't get it. But once you have, well then you understand. There's just no going back. Warm feet; socks that fit--what could be better?!

When I had a regular American-style top loading washing machine, I just threw my wool socks in on "cold/gentle" and then threw them over the shower rod to dry. This seemed to work ok. But then I got a really wonderful front loader that uses less electricity and less water. But it must really push that small amount of water through the socks with great force, because much to my chagrin, I've noticed that socks handled this way have started to shrink. I just finished making Brent a really great pair of new socks using the Thuja pattern and Extra Stampato. These socks were a special knit for a special guy and I want them to last. What to do?

I really love the sight of my laundry hanging in the open air to dry--it just seems right! All the more so when the clothesline is full of colorful handknit socks.

It's a feeling of satisfaction and joy to see them all lined up in a row. I see many relaxing hours of knitting and a sense of a job well done; I see socks from fellow-knitters and I feel glad to have friends who knit me socks; I see a winter full of warm feet. So all would seem to be right with the world. But it's not.

Handwashing socks has always seemed to take an inordinate amount of time for the socks to dry. You just can't get the water out by hand like a spin cycle on the washing machine. In the winter, it works really great to set them on the register, but what about now in the spring when the heat isn't on, but warm wool in the mornings is still a welcome treat?

I finally remembered that Brent had an antique wringer washer he used to use in hide tanning. I had an idea that it just might do the trick! It turns out, I was right!

After decades of disuse, what's old is new again! And I'm happy to say that the socks dried QUICKLY on the line.

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