Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Socks Experiment

People have often asked me how long a pair of hand knit socks will last. I've always said I have no idea. Now I know! Back in March of 2007 (while we were all going through a rough time during sweet Melanie's final weeks of life), I made this pair of Jaywalkers as a little experiment.

Back then, there was some discussion at the online sock knitting forum www.socknitters.com regarding using reinforcing thread in the heels and toes of your socks. I mentioned that I use sewing thread to kind of beef up the heels and toes. One of the knitters mentioned that she heard that sewing thread can actually increase the wear and tear on the socks because of the rubbing of the thread against the yarn.

In the interest of scientific experimentation, I knit up this pair of socks using Grumperina's Jaywalker pattern and Knit Picks' Simple Stripes yarn and included plain old cotton-wrapped polyester sewing thread reinforcing the heel and toe of one sock, and one sock without. I've been wearing these socks, summer and winter (my feet are always cold!) for 33 months now, waiting and waiting and waiting for a hole to develop. While I was folding laundry this weekend, guess what I found? A hole! Jackpot!!!
On closer examination, you can see that this hole developed non-reinforced sock, so I guess the thread helped! For this pair, anyway. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I should add that the reinforced sock shows wear, also.
Maybe I should darn the hole and continue to wear the socks so I could keep track of how many additional wearings it takes until a hole develops in the reinforced sock!

Maybe I should continue to knit every pair of socks with reinforcing thread in one sock only and track the wear of socks made with different yarn content or types of reinforcing thread.

Maybe I should have my findings published in the Journal of Sock Knitting and earn a Nobel Peace Prize in Sock Knitting! If either existed, that is.

Maybe I should get a life...

7 comments:

Channon said...

You have a wonderful life. Some of us are FAR too lazy to reinforce heels and toes (and have NEVER worn out a sock in that fashion in my whole life). Of course, some of us have no sock mojo to speak of anyway, so it matters not what some of us do...

Donna Lee said...

My handknit socks seem to last longer than store bought ones but I think that's partly because I hand wash them and they don't get washed in the harsh machine.

Sue said...

I like the idea of a Nobel Prize in Sock Knitting. Maybe we should band together and present the idea to the committee.

Nichole said...

I'm with Chan on being far too lazy to reinforce...

Love the experiment... and of course you should darn that hole... those are perfectly wearable socks still!!!

margo said...

you make me laugh.

Knitter in an Urban Zoo said...

I really like the way you have a control sock and an experiment sock. 33 months is a long time! Impressive.

And, darn that sock, darn it!

P.S. I'm also not so much interested in reinforcing ... lazy or eager to get on to the next project :)

Allison said...

Very good experiment! That's one long wearing pair of socks!