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Friday, August 25, 2006

My new socks!

I have to show off my latest wardrobe addition -- some new wonderful kilt hose from the Hawick Sock Company. I found these on line through a Highland Dress retailer, who had them listed on sale. The colors were a perfect match for my MacQuarrie kilt.

I had seen socks in this style worn by Prince Charles (pic), though I have to say that I first became familiar with them through Todd Wilkinson (pic), frequent poster on the Scottish Attire mailing list, and the "X Marks the Scot" forum.

These hose, as I said, were manufactured by the Hawick Sock Company. I have searched on line to see if they have a web page, but they don't as far as I can tell (if anyone has a link, send it to me!). The content of the hose is listed as 85% merino/acrylic, 10% nylon, and 5% rayon (I think I have the rayon correct -- I left the label on my desk at work). In any case, they are extremely comfortable to wear, and according to the label are machine washable.

I normally wash my kilt hose in the machine anyway. I have a basket that I keep for my kilt hose (and a few shirts I have that require special care). When it fills, it gets washed in the machine in cold water on the delicate cyle. All the hose then get hung to dry. Occasionally I have had hose shrink up following this method, but the great majority of hose I have worn do fine washed in this way. Give the content of these new hose, they should hold up just fine.

In any case, I can tell already these are going to become a favorite part of my wardrobe. I really like the check patten on the sock, and I think it works especially well with two color tartans, like the MacQuarrie I am wearing.

I purchased at the same time another pair of hose (not yet pictured) that are the same brick red as the dicing in this pair, with the loden green color in a solid turn-down cuff. That pair makes a nice casual statement (and adds a pair of red hose to my wardrobe, that are hard to find). But I really do like the dicing in this hose.

If anyone knows more about the Hawick Sock Company, please do let me know. In the meantime, you can buy the same style hose from the Almost Unwearoutable Sock Company (where Todd got his pair!). I have heard absolutely wonderful things about their hose, though I do not have the pleasure of owning a pair myself. My pair I bought from Scotweb, though last I checked they had only this one color option available (lucky me!).

Update from 9/2/06:

Thanks to Tom Mungall from the Scot Attire list, I have found another on-line source for these hose. They may not be the same manufacturer, but they appear to be the same item. These Johnsons of Elgin Merino Check Top Stockings with Flashes are offered by The House of Bruar. They have a variety of color options available, and even offer matching garter ties.

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Cuidichn said...

Very nice hose

I believe you'll find this is the Hawick Sock Company

Matthew Newsome, FSA Scot, GTS said...

Thanks. I had seen the web site for Kenneth Short hosiery, and they are located in Hawick. However, I didn't think to connect them with the Hawick Sock Company for a few reasons. First, their name and logo appear nowhere on the packaging of my hose. Second, I don't see the style of hose I have pictured or listed on their site. And third, their hose a all much more expensive that what I paid for mine!

They may be the same company, but I shall keep looking!

Mountaineer said...

I was in Scotland this spring and saw the Hawick sock at MacNaughtons in Pitlochry ( and a number of other locations (though only at stores in the Highlands). They had a whole range of them along with some others made by Barbour, even though their website doesn't indicate it. All different colors and patterns, diced, solid, striped, everything. I believe sometimes they are referred to as a "gun sock" or a "fishing sock" and are accompanied by matching tie-able garters. I saw a guy with his trousers tucked into them on his way out for some fly fishing on the Spey river when in Grantown where they were at another store.

When I returned to the States I looked on-line for a few hours trying every combination of words to search for them with no luck. There seems to be no mention of them at all although they are pretty ubiquitous in the Highlands.

Good luck in your quest and when you find them please post it because I want them too.

Maybe just call MacNaughtons to see where they get them? Seems that it would be a hot seller if you could bring it to the Lowland and North American markets.

Mountaineer said...

BTW...What tartans are Prince Charles and the guy to his left wearing? Just curious.

Cuidichn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cuidichn said...

Here you go. From a label for custom hose of 'the Hawick sock Co.'

Hawick Hosiery Ltd,
Lochpark Ind Est.,
Hawick, Scotland TD9 9JA
Tele: 01450 379001 Fax: 01450 375646

Matthew Newsome, FSA Scot, GTS said...


HRH Prince Charles is wearing the MacDonald Lord of the Isles tartan. The gentleman to his left is wearing ancient MacGregor. Here is the web site for the photograph, where you can see more from the same event:

Thanks for the address -- the label on my hose didn't have any contact information. Now, if only they were on line!

Cuidichn said...

I'm still lead to think they are one of the 'Short' firms.
you could always try sending a FAX. Unfortunately many Scottish companies still do not have a 'Web' presence, or even email.

Presuming Ed said...

Not sure if they are related to Kenneth Short hosiery.

This website
gives the following details for the Hawick Sock Company:

The Hawick Sock Company
3 Towerdykeside, Hawick TD9 9EA. Tel: +44 (0)1450 379830, Fax: +44 (0)1450 375646
Hand finished plain and ribbed socks are produced in pure cashmere, cashmere/silk, pure camelhair and merino wool.

Kenneth Short Hosiery is at Lockieshedge Stables Lockieshedge Hawick TD9 7ET - from the cached version of their website, I get nothing at the moment.

Despite the similarities in post codes, google maps shows the addresses to be very different.

Hawick is one of the centres for knitted items in the UK. A lot of Scottish cashmere comes from factories around Hawick.

Kilt hose are slightly different from shooting/fishing hose - with the main difference being that they're longer. Traditionally, when shooting or fishing in the UK, especially smarter driven shooting and fly-fishing, as opposed to coarse fishing and rough shooting, one wears tweed breeks - knee britches. These come to the bottom of the knee, so the hose have to be a bit longer than kilt hose and come all the way to the knee.

Presuming Ed said...

Should add - I can't see the Kenneth Short Hosiery web page at the moment.

Presuming Ed said...

And more...

Having tried 01450 379830, I get no answer - it's not a valid phone number. However, having searched for "Hawick Sock Co", there's a link which gives 01450379001 as a number, and the Towerdykeside address. At the moment (7:30 UK time), this number gives a fax tone.

Cuidichn said...

thanks Presuming Ed, your numbers confirm those I Posted.

When you take a quick look at Hawick woolen firms, it appears there are many, however when you dig deeper, you find many are related, under different (although sometimes slightly similar) names, and with different addresses.
for example, 'Kenneth Short hosiery', and 'Shorts of Hawick Cashmere', and etc.
KSHosiery is THE supplier of diced (and other Scottish) hose to MoD, yet those hose sometimes come with a 'Hawick Sock Co.' label.
Not that it matters, as the point of this exercise is to contact Hawick Sock Co, and it now appears that can be done.

Lindsay said...

MacFarlaine Sports
Hello, we are gun makers in the English Lake District. We sell the full range of hose and socks from The Hawick Sock Company. They are the best on the market. We have done 40 years of research! Like the company, we are rather old fashioned and do not have our own website yet! However, we are happy to advise if you know what you want.
Kind regards, Lindsay

Glen said...

The Hawick Sock Co. appears to be here:

I found them by searching for House of Cheviot. This article seems to suggest that House of Cheviot has picked up where Hawick Sock Co. left off in 2002.


Matthew Newsome, FSA Scot, GTS said...

As an update to this post -- the proper name of the Hawick Sock Company is the Cheviot Sock Company, and they have a web site at

The Scottish Tartans Museum will soon be offering some of their hose, thanks to making contact with their US Distributor. Be on the lookout for more info!

dordie said...

I run Almost Unwearoutable. It is small company. We knit everything individually - can copy any design. My Website is so go and have a look. I also knit ties to hold up the stockings.

So hoping to hear from you

Victoria for Almost Unwearoutable

thesportinglodge said...

Hello there! We loved the socks so much we now sell them on our new website at
Please feel free to ask if there are any particular designs you are interested in. We truly believe they are the best in the world.
Kindest Regards.

Anonymous said...

I recently worked with The Almost Unwearoutable Sock Company to create two pairs of kilt hose. Working with the owner, Victoria Robertson, was a pleasure, and the outcome was superb.
How often do you place a customized order and later feel disappointed? When I opened the package, I was astounded by the quality of the workmanship and the color combination. This company is tops, and it offers a wide range of color and styles. Any serious kilt weared should be introduced to them. I'm pretty particular, and there aren't enough words to describe this product and the people who produce it.

E.A. Schimmelpfennig, Chicago