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.