Here are some of the questions our customers ask us.
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Questions & Answers
The first reason is that nylon gives the sock more stretch than knitting with wool or alpaca on its own. This allows us to make three main sock sizes which fit the majority of the adult population. My sock knitter tells me in the days before nylon, socks were knitted in many more sizes so that they fitted properly. I couldn’t afford to make such a range of styles and colours if I had to make many more sizes.
Secondly, the nylon is more hard wearing than the natural fibres and it stops the sock from wearing out so quickly. This isn’t an issue for everyone, but I know from my bedsocks which are knitted without any nylon that some people develop holes in them really easily.
So, I use as low a proportion of nylon as I can until I can find an alternative.
The first thing to consider is wearing the right sock for the job. Walking socks have a cushioned sole and can take the extra pounding of heavy boots. If you wear an every day sock for a long hike, it may not last for long. Our alpaca bedsocks are knitted from delicate fibres with no nylon and are designed for lounging around.
The second issue is how well-fitting your shoes or boots are. If your feet are slopping around in your wellies, for example, consider wearing a second, thinner pair of socks inside your welly boot socks to cut down on the wear caused by rubbing.
Thirdly, hard skin, long toe nails or splintery floor boards will all damage the natural fibres our socks are knitted out of and cause holes.
If you are hard on your socks, chose those with a higher nylon content or knitted with a coarser wool (avoid finer, softer merinos and alpaca). We send darning yarn out free of charge for you to repair our socks. If we don’t have any of the correct yarn left, we will find the best match we can.
We don’t treat the majority of our fibres, so the socks can not be washed in a normal machine wash without the risk of shrinking and felting.
Natural fibres don’t like sudden changes of water temperature, so don’t plunge them into a cold rinse after a warm wash or vice versa. Too much detergent will also cause felting as will over-enthusastic wringing or rubbing. Gentle squeezing of the socks, using a non-bio detergent and warm water should do the trick. Dry the socks away from direct heat and never put them in a tumble-dryer.
Typically small socks, for example, will fit someone who wears a shoe sized from 4 to 7, but if you have wide feet and are at the top of the range, you might consider taking the next size up.
Our socks are knitted by several different knitters on a variety of machines and sometimes the sizing varies from standard. This is detailed in the product description if that’s the case. We also indicate where the fit is not standard. For example, the Yorkshire Plain has a ribbed foot and fits a narrower foot better, where as the Frome Fairisle has a wider foot. The Alpaca bedsock is a loose-fitting style as it’s not intended to be worn with shoes.
We’ve also knitted a few styles in XS and XL sizes. These socks are shorter/longer than the S and L sizes. Due to the limitations of the machines, we aren’t able to make the foot proportionally smaller/wider.
Secondly, I think that the majority of parents would prefer to chuck their childrens socks in the washing machine and tumble dryer and that’s not possible with the materials I use.
I know about these fibres and the companies in the UK who can spin, dye and knit from them for me. I’m a very small business and if I started to use cotton and bamboo that would mean a new set of suppliers and probably a whole new terminology and knowledge to pick up.