Recently I had the chance to see some of the old socks that Annemor Sundbø rescued from the ragpile at her factory Torridal Tweed. The socks and other old and worn knitted garments were going to be recycled and turned into shoddy.
However, when Annemor took over the factory and went through the pile of rags, she noticed the beautiful patterns on the knitted garments, and they became more unusual as she neared the oldest layers at the bottom of the pile.
She decided to save many of these old rags in order to document older knitting patterns and traditions. Her work resulted in several books and a collection of garments for exhibitions. What I got to see, is the sock collection.
All the socks have different patterns, and it was also interesting to see how they had been worn and mended. If one part of the sock became totally useless, usually the foot part, it had sometimes been cut away, and a new heel, foot and toe had been knitted onto the old rib and leg.
Sometimes it also looked like and old sweater arm had been used for the rib and leg part with a new foot knitted onto it.
These rags are a legacy of harder times, when people had to turn every shilling, turn bed sheets sides-to-middle, and turn one garment into a new one to make do. It is not all that long ago.
You can read more about the salvaged rags at Annemor Sundbø’s website.
Edited: In my next post, you can see what shoddy looks like.