A newly acquired collection of antique Karakachan socks from Bulgaria in two albums

The socks were made by three previous generations of a Karakachan family from a village in the Sliven area of eastern Bulgaria. The Karakachans are a small ethnic group living in Bulgaria and Greece numbering at the most about 15,000 people.

The socks or patunes were made with a special type of hand-spun wool called kaltsoskouti (καλτσοσκούτι) spun on a drop spindle and knitted using a carved wooden boxwood kaltsovelona needle (καλτσοβέλονα) used in conjunction with several thin knitting needles. The motifs appear to be a mixture of Christian and Middle Eastern tribal designs with the same crosses found on Bulgarian silver jewellery. Called πατούνις in Greek, the more decorated socks are made for women and girls and are reserved for traditional dress worn during festivals and weddings.

Here are photos of a Karakachan a drop spindle and kaltsovelona (the three fine boxwood kaltsovelona are from the Amorgos Art Collection in Athens). The next photo is f women setting up a portable nomadic loom, followed by more historic photos from the Sarakatsan Folk Museum, whose website in Greek you can see by clicking HERE  and use Google translate if needed.