28 September 2016 at 9:00 am

Saying it with socks

International students coming to study at Lincoln University are in line for a uniquely warm Kiwi welcome.

Socks story 1

Back in May, we reported that Lincoln University had committed to providing international students with a parcel of hand-knitted woolly socks, pineapple lumps and a personal letter ahead of their arrival.

These photos show that those socks have been a big hit!

Lincoln’s International and Student Engagement Director Dee Coleman says that the university receives international students from over 60 countries each year, with some coming unprepared for a New Zealand winter down South.  To help them stay warm, Lincoln started the project to provide students with handmade woolly socks.

 “When we looked at our source countries, we realised that a lot of our students hail from warm climates and although intrigued by a Kiwi winter, can often come unprepared.”

“Our aim is to keep them warm with some good, old-fashioned Kiwi hospitality, and what better way than with some homespun and hand-knitted South Island woolly socks.”

Lincoln20Uni20 20Saying20it20w20socks2The socks are hand-knitted by a group of Darfield spinning and knitting enthusiasts, headed up by neighbours Pip Anderson and Ruth Buttle. They have committed to producing up to 40 pairs of hand-knitted socks a year for the university, destined for locations all around the world.

Retired from a life of farming in the district, Ruth still spins her own wool despite no longer having a dedicated flock of black sheep for the purpose. She buys wool, cards it and spins it into double ply wool. It takes a minimum of two hours to spin one ball of wool.

Pip says they are aiming to keep the colours neutral, with splashes of colour so that they look natural and hand made.

Ruth says spinning and knitting are still popular pastimes for rural New Zealand women and that projects like this are an excellent opportunity to get together. 

Socks story 3

What's in it for me?