Using wool is better than burning it
Sustainability is what Swizzle and friends is all about, be it beeswax wraps, reusable takeaway coffee cups or washing up brushes.
I’m always looking for new sustainable materials, that can be used rather than being disposed of and I have learned from friends that sheep’s fleeces are sold for next to nothing or burnt, which seems like such a waste - after all the sheep make good use of them for much of the year.
Wool is a fantastic natural material that should be used rather than wasted, as it is naturally breathable, wicks moisture away and helps regulate your temperature. And that is how I came up with the idea of ‘Swizzle Socks’!
I am still in the process of refining my technique for spinning the wool and I aim to start using local sheep’s wool to make the socks once that's done.
Trying new processes
Of course, the fleece needs to go through several processes before it can be used for knitting - more on that in a later blog - so for now I am buying the yarn to knit with.
I have even experimented with creating my own patterns by trying out different colours, which I have dyed myself, using food colouring. But again, that will be the subject of a different blog.
As to creating the unique Swizzle Socks, I have purchased a hand-cranked knitting machine to make them in a traditional way. It's design matches those that were in regular use 100 years ago – my machine is new, but it works on the same principle.
The way it works is that in the sock knitting machine is a cylinder with slots for needles. Latches on these needles do the knitting as each needle passes through the cam shell path, which is turned by the crank handle on the side of the machine. It means that you can make a handmade sock a lot quicker with a more consistent tension, but with all the uniqueness of a hand knitted one! It’s mesmerising to watch and I’m starting to share videos of the socks being made on Instagram and Facebook – people tell me they love them!
With the coronavirus pandemic, it was quite an adventure to get the machine, which I have named Myrtle. Click here to read more about it.
Volunteers are helping to develop the brand
At the moment, I am still developing Swizzle Socks with the help of a group of volunteers but the aim is to offer a bespoke service so customers can provide information such as how the socks will be used, along with the styles and colours they like. so I can produce the hand made socks and ensure they are personalised for their own needs.
So whether you want a sock to wear when you run or hike, something to wear when you snuggle on the sofa on a cold winter’s evening or you want a unique look that is just yours – we think Swizzle Socks fit the bill.
Thinking of gift ideas
I am also keen to create an experience for the recipient, so the socks come with a few extras and customers can also request a printed card of a hand painted watercolour of Swizzle to complete the package to celebrate a birthday or other occasion.
This a gift to send yourself, a friend, colleague or family member – they are hand made, packaged and personalised. My customers tell me that they are looking for unique gifts that make a difference to the environment as well as looking and feeling good – these comfortable and natural socks do exactly that.
I am really excited to be developing a new line to go with our other products
You can purchase socks by clicking on Swizzle Socks