As many know, I am profoundly Deaf and legally blind. My occupation? I write books. I also proof-read, copy-edit and translate written work. With my large modified computer screen, many pairs of ever-changing prescription glasses and my OCD, it is an unusual occupation for a Deaf-blind person to have, but I love what I do and I am good at it.
What most don’t know, however, is that when I am taking a break from my books, I weave. I used to crochet when I was a small child but I find the things you can make with a crochet hook to be minimal and time consuming. You also need good eyes to see what you are doing, as one mistake leads to a whole lot of unravelling.
In 1996, the fingers and knuckles of my right hand, as well as my right wrist, were snapped under the boot of my abusive ex. I was never given proper medical assistance and, as such, I cannot move my right hand very well. It is the reason I do not knit. When I moved to Finland in 2010 with my husband, everybody was knitting and they tried to teach it to us (new immigrants learning the Finnish language) so that we could do something that all Finns do – knit socks for the upcoming winter season which brings, each year, temperatures colder than -40 degrees. Due to my lack of dexterity, I took my own initiative and learned how to weave.
Six years later, I have over 25 different shaped and sized hand looms and can weave anything from a tiny flower to a giant shawl, all within the space of an hour. The beauty of weaving with hand looms is that it does not require eyesight, but rather works by touch. You can feel which stitch comes next with your fingertips.
When using a round loom (this one is 30cm diameter), I weave socks for friends and family. When I was in school learning Finnish years ago, the socks would sell like wildfire at 15€ per pair. People would come up to me and say “I am shoe size ___ and my two favourite colours are _____ and _____. Could you make me 3 pairs please?” Within a week, socks and money would have changed hands. On average, it takes me an hour to weave an adult-sized sock after I have purchased the wool in the colours they request.
When I weave, I prefer to rib the sock. Not only does it prevent the sock from sagging and disappearing into your snow boots, but it also contours perfectly to any sized shin, ankle and foot.
The fastest parts to weave are the heel and the toe. Once you reach the heel, the ribbing stops. You start using a standard weave for the remainder of the heel as well as the under-side of the foot to keep the sock 100% comfortable for the wearer. After completing the heel, you continue full circle, retaining the ribbing at the top of the foot until you reach the toe.
To achieve the perfect sizing, ask the person who wants the socks to measure their foot (in centimetres). If their foot is 29cm long (as is my husband’s), start making the toe at 19cm. Also ensure that your husband trims his toenails as a sharp toenail can slice right through the wool, thus ending the life of your masterpiece.
The end result is a sock that not only fits perfectly, but also will keep your feet warm for about five years, as long as your socks are washed inside a laundry bag in cold water (in a machine) or hand washed in cold water with wool wash (to keep them soft).
For beanies, you will require the largest of round hand looms. My biggest hand loom is 1 metre long and is wood with steel pegs. My smallest is 5cm long and is plastic with plastic pegs.
I am self-taught but I am sure you can find many great sources of information online, should you want to make yourself some warm socks. Should you find you do not have the time, feel free to contact me and I will make a pair just for you. It will cost you 25€ per pair (includes the cost of the wool) plus postage on top to anywhere in the world.
Happy weaving, all !! 🙂
– Rosie xx