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Socks

Lots of them. For some reason most of my recent designs have been for socks. From simple stocking stitch (stockinette) to complicated Fair Isle or even Intarsia type patterns.

I have done a fair amount of shopping around for sock yarns and these are sock yarns I have tried in no particular order

Regia Crazy Color 6ply (wool/polyamide)


2 x 50g is enough for 1 pair of socks, or a baby hat and socks (or mittens)
Knits up on 3mm - 4mm as sportsweight


What is it good for?
Knits up quickly in self striping colours and is a sports weight, that is between a 4ply and a DK. It is good for baby socks/booties and even baby hats and mittens or little sweaters



What is it not good for? Not good for those people who want control over their sock colours or want to do specific Fair Isle patterns. Remember, that however unusual your socks are to you in this yarn it is hugely popular with over 300 projects on Ravelry. If you are a designer, unless your design is very unique in shape then expect your project to look much like a lot of others. Not a bad thing if you are a knitter though, or making a gift for a non knitter.

Regia Mini Ringels (wool polyamide) 4ply/fingering 2 x 50g enough for one pair

What is it good for? It makes mini stripes in bright colours. The stripes are no extremely defined as there are other streaks within the colours as well as the mini stripes. Good for teaming up with black toes/cuffs/heels.

What is it not good for? It isn't going to be good for those wishing for very defined stripes. Probably not good for men's socks, it is fun for you to knit such bright colours but he isn't going to wear it. Stripes do not work evenly for heels and toes so teaming up with a solid/plain regia or other sock yarn is a good idea.

SWTC TOFUtsie 4ply/fingering weight 100g enough for one pair of socks

soysilk/wool/cotton/chitin

What is it good for? - An anitbacterial soy silk/wool and chitin (crab shells) mix. Good value and quite mad colourways. There is an online group to support a sock club and if you join you get a free pattern per month. These socks are incredibly soft to knit and wear and very easy care. I shove mine in the normal wash each week and they do recover.

What is it not good for? Well, the old pooling is a problem. When I used 2.5mm needles if the skein had 4 shades in it, 2 fall on one side and 2 on the other. However that is totally corrected by going down to 2.25 needles or smaller. it has been designed to make stripes of bold colours at a guage of around 8sts/inch. SWTC have introduced some semi solid shades, that knits up to a tweedy colour.

Sweet Socks For Sugar Free Feet by Erssie Major
Knitting pattern available includes sizes S/M/L

£1

I designed my diabetic socks in this yarn
It is soft and antibacterial and quite an unusual mix of soysilk and cotton. Although I was not totally in love with the yarn on the skein and had problems pooling on a larger gauge, once I went down to 2.25mm or less (size 1 or 0 US) the stripes played out evenly and then.....I wore a pair of my socks, washed them, abused them and wore them again and thought they were one of the best yarns I had used and closest to thin socks needed for summer as I could get. You can buy my pattern from Ravelry, or you can email me directly for a free copy if you have a diabetes or another medical condition affecting yours or your recipients feet. The pattern is only £1 and is very simple to keep it non marking and is perfect for a beginner.

Here are some swatches of some of the yarns which come in bright self striping and more subtle semi solid tweedy shades.

Opal Neon (wool polyamide) 4ply/fingering 100g enough for 1 1/2 pairs

What is it good for? It is quite good value if you want to use the leftovers, as one ball is more than enough for ah adult pair of socks so if making multiple pairs there is usually enough left for one more sock if you've made a pair. The Neon colours are very bright in daylight, and girlie sock colours unless you have an adventurous male. On 2.25 needles there is little pooling. The yarn is a joy to knit with as it has a coating making it quite stiff but less splitty. Don't be alarmed by the feel of German sock yarns, they do feel brittle on the skein but soften up after one wash.

What is it not good for? Probably not good for a males. Not brilliant for intricately textured or lacy patterns where you wish to show off your skills. On needles of 2.5mm or above, there is more chance of pooling although this is still much less than other types of yarn.


Lorna’s Laces 4ply/fingering and sportsweight 2 x 50g skeins is more than enough for one pair of socks in either weight

What is it good for? A good luxurious but medium priced yarn and you can get 1 and a half pairs out of 100g
If you choose the Flamingo Stripe colourway, about 20% of profits go to Breast Cancer charities as well as you making your socks to help your own causes.
There is a huge amount of choice in solid and variegated shades that are always up to date and fashionable.
I get mine from Get Knitted What is it not good for? Availability in the UK is somewhat limited or you have to wait.

Fyberspates various sock yarns from Pure British Wools

Photo/Sock courtesy of Noblin Knits

What is it good for? A British company, contact Jeni and see what she can do to help out with custom dyes. She has a range of different shades of hand dyed hand spun yarn. She stocks some of the online companies as well as having her own website. I have used some Blue Faced Leicester mix in a rich purple (loved it) but I especially liked my variegated shades of autumnal colours in a merino and Tencel mix. She runs a well supported sock club and is always adding patterns.

What is it not good for? Ranges offered are not as permanent as bigger companies as it is much more sensitive to supply and demand. The tencel mixed sock yarns do have a lot of softness, but they have less elasticity.

Artesano Hummingbird DK sock and 4ply fingering weights

What is it good for? Lovely rich tropical colours in stripes that do not seem to pool whatever the gauge. Good for baby clothes and bed socks or slouch socks, and good value too.

What is it not good for? Alpaca alone is nowhere near as hardwearing as an everyday sock yarn although they are free from nylon or other synthetics. Artesano themselves recommend the yarn for special socks, bed socks or slouch socks rather than socks to be worn every day inside shoes.

Artesano 4ply -100% superfine alpaca 4poly/fingering
100g should be enough for one pair of socks


What is it good for? Lots of solid shades. Artesano did design this type of spun yarn to make shawls, garments with lightness and fluffiness so it is perfect for crochet garments and it is so luxurious and soft. At £3.30 for 50g it is luxury at an affordable price. Good for Fair Isle patterns as the fluffiness hides any stranding of yarn. What is it not good for? This yarn is going to be too delicate alone for every day socks so I recommend either knitting a Fair Isle heel and toe, like Norwegian stockings or double up the strand and go down a needle size for strength. Adding nylon is an option but see below re this.

Austermann Step (Skacel)
4ply.fingering sock yarn Wool/polyamide with Jojoba oil.

What is it good for? Impregnated with oil that lasts for about 46 washes. Quite good for men’s socks with self patterning stripes.

What is it not good for? A tiny bit more difficult handle than other sock yarns. A lot of companies put a coating on the yarn to help stop it splitting whilst knitting and it washes out in the first wash to make socks softer but these socks already have oil in them so are soft to knit but the yarn splits easily. Use blunter needles e.g. Clover dpns if possible.

Socka: Especially Big Mexiko or Limbo

What is it good for? in a quick knit 6ply. They have Fair Isle stripes of a Mexican or S American style and have the same properties as the Regia Crazy Colour above

What is it not good for? Not suitable for uniqueness of design if using for very plain garments. There is little choice or variation on how the colours play out.

Good Places to look for sock yarns


Lorna’s Laces website
The Woolly Workshop (good range and next day delivery if you get it early in the day and RM deliver on time) (very reliable and a good range of Lorna’s Laces there as well as Opal, Fyberspates and others.
Get Knitted
Web of Wool website

Tips for socks for swollen feet are
Use large needles for the cast on edge 3mm or more Keep ribbing at top very small e.g. about 5 rows K2 P2 Keep all over stitch very plain e.g. stocking stitch

Keep the leg fairly short, so foot is covered but ankles are free

Knit a very deep heel flap, that will give a larger heel/ankle circumference Leave a wide toe, most wedge toes get you to decrease down to quite a point and that is not necessary.

You can knit more rows than required for the toe to get the length, then leave at least one third of your stitches on needles and use Kitchener seam for smoothness

Use a non wool, or slippery type of yarn like a silk or soy silk and perhaps a cotton element. they breathe well but are also softer

Wear shoes a couple of sizes bigger than necessary (even then you can get into difficulty, I wore my shoes into the evening last night and they got stuck on my feet and I thought I was going to have to cut the shoe off!)

1 comment:

Sarah-Hope said...

What a great, information-packed post. Thanks for taking the time to write everything up!