Wool is one of my favorite things. I admit, I love the stuff. When I was visiting the Luna Sandals 'warehouse' the other day I got to take a look at the hemp laces they offer. They were really just a simple icord. So I went home and gave it a go. I opted to use a single ply merino wool for a few reasons. For starters, a single ply will be the easiest to felt. Perhaps more importantly, it will also be the softest.
There's a common misconception that wool is itchy and it's simply not true. Wool is actually considered hypoallergenic by the medical community. It's actually the chemicals used in the garment industry and the stripping of the naturally occurring lanolin from the wool that makes it itchy. All wool is not created equally. If you don't believe me, I'll send you a piece to prove it.
|Felted wool icord - estimated thickness same as the hemp laces offered|
The first thing you'll notice is that knot on the end is tiny compared to the knot of the leather. I'm sure this makes a huge difference for people who complain of the 'pebble' feeling under their toes. The knot in this pictures hasn't even been smashed down with a hammer yet.
I got to wondering though, if maybe a thicker cord would be better. After all, the leadville leather laces they offer are meant for the more rugged terrain, and are 10mm wide. I also began to think that the more surface area the lace was hitting between your toes, the less pressure it would create in a single area. To accomplish this I decide to try double knitting the yarn.
Knit things have a lot of stretch to them. Even this icord- which I knit to 40 inches long, can be stretched to 50 inches. A little give may not be a bad thing with laces but too much is definitely a bad thing for running. That's where felting comes in. I only lightly felted this one - so if less stretch was desired it could be easily achieved by more rigorous felting - as it is currently this now measures 45 inches long when relaxed, 50 inches stretched.
I went back and forth on how to tie the bottom knot for these, and next time I make them I will start out with a smaller needle to create a slightly smaller cord that can be easily knotted to be an even less noticeable knot. I thought about knitting the end flat, and then perhaps applying some hot glue to make it hard enough to hold, but in the meantime I opted to fold it over and sew it back into itself. Smashed it with a hammer a few times, and beautiful. I'm sure it will flatten out more with walking.
It felt very secure, maybe even more so then the equus but wasn't even noticeable between the toes. It's definitely softer then the hemp laces felt. I'm curious how well/long they will hold up compared to what can be expected of the hemp laces. I'll definitely be making more and I'd be lying if I said I was just a little excited about being able to make them any color I want.
Tomorrow is the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, and I'm planning on going and sneaking a peak of it even though I won't be running (this year!).