Monday, March 31, 2008

Growing Socks

Being humble Tasmanian sock makers, making our ever so humble Mongrel Socks, without delusions of grandeur. It’s a bit hard to harbour pretensions in the cold, hard light of the work shop. What you see is what you get, and what you do is what you’ve done. We not only aspire to make a humble living, we also aspire to do things right. Right for us, right for our customers and right for the world around us.
I’ve written before about our tree planting program, endeavouring to offset our carbon footprint-that’s all good. It’s something we’re proud of. We’ve now got hundreds of trees planted, and they’re thriving. It’s all well and good to plant a few trees, but what really counts is that they survive. It’s only in those future” growing” years that our local environment will reap the benefits of neutralizing our carbon emissions. This doesn’t just happen; it takes care and attention, and a bit of elbow grease. It is hard work manually planting trees. Back breaking, and self satisfying work, and that’s only the beginning. To give our tree’s the best chance possible chance of survival, we need to mulch and water regularly in the early days, and keep a watch on rainfall later, to see that get what they need to thrive, and thru summer-survive. We have rain water collection, with lots of storage, and try not to be frivolous with it. Plenty of water means plenty of weeds, so they have to be dealt with. I suppose we could go the nuke method, but hey, we don’t really want to work with toxic chemicals if we can avoid it. So, elbows again, pulling the weeds requiring attention 2-3 times a year. It’s do-able.
So, as the years roll by, our tree’s get bigger, the native creatures flourish, we’ve got tangible evidence that our crack at environmental responsibility has not been a waste of time. If we can do it, anyone can.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Customer Questions?

We're always happy to hear from customers, and get emails with basic sock questions, to some that are hilarious. I got this one yesterday, and have included my reply.

I recently visited Tassie and bought a pair of your lovely warm socks. I was wondering how to speed up the wash-and-dry cycle... they took about 4 days to dry completely (indoors, out of direct sunlight). Do you have any advice?
Kylie, Sydney. Australia.

Hello Kylie,
Hope your liking your Mongrels, although I guess it's not quite cold enough for them in Sydney-yet.
The beauty of pure wool socks is (luckily) that they don't need to be washed after every wear. In fact they can be comfortably worn for a few days with out the festy smell most socks would acquire. They are natural fibre and as such less washing is better than lots, as heavy detergents can weaken the fibre, making them not as durable as they can be.
To get them to dry as quickly as possible, it is OK to have them in sunlight, it won't readily fade the colour, unless they are left for days on the line. It is also OK to machine wash on a short cycle including the spin to remove all excess water before hanging.
We don't recommend using a clothes dryer as it is really important not to use hot heat and most domestic clothes dryers aren't that reliable in the temperatures they generate. That said if you have a decent clothes dryer that does have a good, ie not too hot, warm setting, it would probably be OK to use for 10 mins to ensure the socks are really dry after they've hung for a while.

I don't know if that's helped or not, but the thought did just occur to me that perhaps you need more than one pr of Mongrels so waiting for them to dry won't be an issue.

Kind Regards,

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Live feed

I received this email yesterday.

I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love the head warmer that I bought on Saturday. It's keeping my head warm as I write most favourite buy in a long time! I can't wait to get some leg warmers to add to the collection! I just have one question - where do you source the wool from? Cheers! Lisa. Boat Harbour, Tasmania.

My reply for- any one else who's interested.

Hey Lisa,
Thanks so much for taking the time to email-I love wearing mine too, but it's so nice to know other people enjoy them too. I've got my arm warmers on as I write.
We source our wool, where ever we can. It's always Aussie grown, but it is hard to find reliable sources. We deal with the last (only) Aussie company who processes the high quality superwash wool we need (want to use), but also source, still Aussie grown, wool out of Germany and China. It is a sad state of affairs in a country with more sheep than people, that we can freely buy poor quality wool, ie wool that shrinks, prickles the skin and you need to hand wash, but can't buy the the very best. I suppose it's a bit like "the fish John West reject's". Most of the best wool ie low micron, is shipped out cheap and brought back in at top dollar.
I could moan about this issue for hours but get no where.
Any way,
Thanks again,

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