These hand-knitted socks are from a small village in northern Iran near the Caspian Sea called Masuleh. These culture of knitting these socks began as a way for the married women of the village to earn some money, but as the generations went by, the skills and techniques were passed down in each of their households. The designs and patterns each have their own meaning—the triangular design which represents a sheep’s head stands for a prosperous life; the design of a scorpion stands for warding off evil; the jagged design which represents a sheep’s intestines stands for health and long life as well as hopes and prayers for the future.
Colorful acrylic yarn is the most popular choice now, however, before it became widespread, silk or wool yarn dyed using natural plant dyes were used. One of the most iconic of these are socks called “khodrang” which use nothing more than undyed yarn made from the wool of white sheep and black sheep. “Khod” means “natural” and “rang” means “color”—together meaning literally “natural color”. One family conducts the whole process, from rearing the sheep, to shearing the wool, and finally to the knitting process.
As the socks are made from wool, they are a bit scratchy to begin with, but they grow smooth with time, resulting in a gentle and comfortable pair of socks.