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Socks & stockings


knittinganddeath

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knittinganddeath

I'm doing a project about WWI socks and stockings and was wondering if anyone knows how soldiers wore their socks. Most patterns that I've seen have the same circumference at the middle of the calf as at the ankle, which (speaking from experience) doesn't seem very comfortable or well-fitting. Were the socks worn folded down with the cuff pushed down the leg? I've only managed to find photos showing long pants or puttees; kilt hose is another beast entirely. Thanks for any help!

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Interested

Don't know if this helps, but...

There was a programme on telly last week - Greg Wallace and his assistant visiting Factories ( a sock Factory as it happens) and she was looking at the Kitchener Stitch, knitted by people at home making stockings for the troops during the Great War.  Apparently it avoided a ridge seam across the toes.  They tested a few on some re-enactment lads.

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knittinganddeath

Thanks, Interested. It might be time for me to finally get a VPN as that looks like a fascinating bit of TV. Kitchener stitch is still well-known and much-used among sock knitters today. I dislike commercial socks exactly because of that inside seam at the toe.

Edited by knittinganddeath
I got the username of the other person wrong :(
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Matlock1418
32 minutes ago, knittinganddeath said:

I dislike commercial socks exactly because of that inside seam at the toe.

I turn some of mine inside out for that reason - people rarely know!

:-) M

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18 hours ago, knittinganddeath said:

I'm doing a project about WWI socks and stockings and was wondering if anyone knows how soldiers wore their socks. Most patterns that I've seen have the same circumference at the middle of the calf as at the ankle, which (speaking from experience) doesn't seem very comfortable or well-fitting. Were the socks worn folded down with the cuff pushed down the leg? I've only managed to find photos showing long pants or puttees; kilt hose is another beast entirely. Thanks for any help!


Socks of that period were usually only ribbed or narrowed for the top two inches or so as you have suggested and as appears in your avatar. My grandmother was from that period and still provided me with hand knitted socks when I was a boy soldier.  Generally it was necessary to pull the socks up as far as possible and the narrower top gripped the calf below the knee. Trousers could then be pulled over and wrapped or pulled to the rear to narrow the leg and assist in holding the top part of the socks in place. With boots on, puttees were then wound around the lower leg over the bottom part of the trousers and top of the boots sufficiently tightly to secure the whole in place, but without cutting off circulation.  The purpose of all this was to prevent the socks slipping down and ruching inside the boot as ridges produced chronic blistering.
Some soldiers of the WW1 period used a cross over bandaging technique when winding their puttees that added to the securing in place, especially for puttees without the inbuilt curvature that was added later.  

Edited by FROGSMILE
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knittinganddeath

Thank you, Frogsmile! That is really fantastic information. (Sounds a bit like soldiers might have made good use of garters, but I guess that wouldn't have been very comfortable in action.)

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53 minutes ago, knittinganddeath said:

Thank you, Frogsmile! That is really fantastic information. (Sounds a bit like soldiers might have made good use of garters, but I guess that wouldn't have been very comfortable in action.)

Garters were indeed used by Highlanders, as kilts required the wearing of hose, as did the gradual adoption of military shorts, with which socks and hose tops (footless woollen stockings pulled over the socks) were worn.  Both of these required garters to which coloured tabs were attached on the outside of the leg. 

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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knittinganddeath
6 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

with which socks and hose tops (footless woollen stockings pulled over the socks) were worn.

Hah, that's interesting, I didn't know that was done outside Germany and Austria. In Germany, socks were knitted separately from the tops from quite early on. Knitters were advised to make three pairs of socks (Füsslinge) to 1 pair of hose tops (Beinlinge). They used a strap or extra length of yarn under the foot to secure the tops.

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10 hours ago, knittinganddeath said:

Hah, that's interesting, I didn't know that was done outside Germany and Austria. In Germany, socks were knitted separately from the tops from quite early on. Knitters were advised to make three pairs of socks (Füsslinge) to 1 pair of hose tops (Beinlinge). They used a strap or extra length of yarn under the foot to secure the tops.

 

I did not know about that Austrian/German tradition either.  It seems to be associated with mountain walking and knee length breeches.  They are still used as an extra layer by Royal Marines Mountain Leaders today.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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