Thursday, August 17, 2006

not that i've made any socks lately, but...

so i've decided to rip off stariel's post about the sock yarns she's tried and what she thought of them. i mean, i was inspired to creatively borrow her idea. yeah, that's it. btw, go read her post. very informative.

i've resigned myself to handwashing most socks. it seems kind of unsanitary, considering how dirty feet are, and i don't like doing it, but i decided it is better to handwash than to live with the incredible shrinking socks. on some pairs i machine wash (in a lingerie bag) with abandon, and i generally hang to dry on a drying rack. i've been known on occasion to miss a few loose socks.

1/2 Boyfriend SocksDalegarn Baby Ull: pretty much the same as shepherd's baby wool--soft and cushy, but kinda splitty. i wish that it had more yardage. I'm knitting a pair of boyfriend socks and i'm already worried about too short cuffs. the pattern is a rib and cable, and the yarn shows stitch definition very well. the shade i have is a lovely heathered grey.

Spicy's Boston Red SoxLouet Gems Fingering: my new favorite. bouncy, a little overplied (one of my yarn cakes kept twisting up on itself--annoying, but i'll deal), very soft but seems strong, comes in many colors and weights. crisp stitch definition, though i used it for a mostly stockinette sock with some purled columns. I would prefer more yardage as i don't think that there's enough for knee highs, but it's fairly inexpensive for the quality, so i could spring for 3 skeins per pair. i'll report back on wear.

Best Foot Forward SocksCascade 220 Superwash: I knit boot socks for a men's size 10.5. i used #3 bamboo dpns, and working at such a tight gauge with worsted weight yarn did make my hands ache. the yarn doesn't feel very soft in the skein, but it relaxes significantly in the wash. the finished socks feel very warm and cozy. i would use this yarn again for socks. i have no details on wear since i haven't gifted them yet.

S'Mores socksLane Cervinia Calzetteria: I knit a pair of size 9 men's socks and only got about 9" of cuff, using every last inch of yarn. I also hated the way the colors pooled, but the boy liked it, so whatever. this yarn seems like a heavy fingering weight. This was souvenir yarn. I don't know that i'd purchase it again, but i'm guessing it will wear very well, being a typical superwash nylon sock yarn. UPDATE: Spicy says these are his favorite, most comfortable socks, as they are both cushy and soft. who knew?

Momma Monkeys finishedSome Assembly Required: This superwash sport-weight yarn feels very similar to knitpicks bare merino, which kind of worries me. it feels cushy and medium soft, but i'm mostly worried about how it will wear. these socks are a gift, so i won't be able to monitor their use. the skein took dye very well and the socks knit up nicely with minimal splitting and no knots.

Wick socks finally finishedK1C2 Wick: This is a weird yarn. it's soy/propelene worsted weight in a cabled construction. if my hands are dry, it snags the yarn. the rough spots on my feet seem to snag the yarn. it's thick, for socks, but lacks the forgiveness of wool. yet it's not hard, like cotton. i made a sad attempt to knit on #3 needles but the fabric was bulletproof. i had more success on #4s. i am still waiting for a report on how the socks wear. i didn't particularly like knitting with it, and i wouldn't use it again unless requested to do so. i machine washed on cold and dried in the dryer, and the socks came out exactly the same as they went in.

Child's French SocksSocks that Rock mediumweight: meh. it's a soft, cushy yarn that is fairly thick (probably on par with bearfoot but not fuzzy). i handwashed and there was no bleeding. i think that the yardage is pretty light for the cost. the colors are gorgeous in the skein but just so-so knitted up. if i were to use it again, i would probably pick a skein with fewer colors. i am willing to try the lightweight, but i probably wouldn't make socks with mediumweight again.

Widdershin ankletsArtyarns Ultramerino 4: my boyfriend bought me one skein at my LYS because i was having a bad day. i knit up a pair of plain stockinette anklets the following Sunday. the yarn is very cushy on the foot, similar to a thinner Aurora 8. the yarn is silky and shiny and the colors did not pool for me on these socks. i'm not so sure i am really that in love with the took me a really long time to pick out one that i liked, but perhaps it just had to do with the selection at the lys. i machine washed these on cold and laid flat to dry, and there was no shrinking or felting. this is a really nice yarn and i would use it again, except that it's a bit expensive for the yardage, and my aforementioned beef with the colors.

Yarrow Rib socks modeledLana Grossa Meilenweit: i knit man-sized socks with 11.75" cuffs and ran out of yarn right at the second toe. this yarn seems comparable to regia or even elann or knitpicks self-striping. it will probably wear well, but it doesn't feel very soft. my verdict is kind of, "meh" on these.

Knittyboard Sock Pal Socks RevealedFearless Fibers Merino Sock: fearless fibers yarn is soft and squishy. it has occasional bits of uneven fluff, and it may not hold up as well as some more tightly spun sock yarns, but it was great to work with. the yarn is very thin, perhaps as thin or maybe thinner than trekking. i probably should've knit on #0s, but i did not. i cannot adequately express how nice the colors are. the pinks have a nice variation that adds depth and richness to the socks, but doesn't obscure the pattern stitches. i will certainly be using this yarn again, as i have 3 more hanks in the stash. and you just can't beat the price. i have maybe 200-ish yards leftover of the pink. once i finish the set of 3 coordinating yarns that i bought, i should have enough leftover to make a fourth pair. this pair of socks was for a sock exchange, so i only soaked them once in eucalan, but i did not notice any bleeding or fading. i'll probably handwash the next socks i make from FF.

Widdershins from knittyBriggs and Little Durasport: i used this yarn to make a stranded mitten, and i thought that the yarn would not be very good for socks. there's a strangely high amount of vegetable matter for being a superwash nylon blend, and the yarn is pretty rough to work with. however, after knitting this pair of socks, i've changed my mind. washing the socks really changes the fabric to be much softer. the socks are cushy and thick. i think they would make great winter socks. i used plain stockinette, but i think that it would work very well for stitch patterns. there are only a few colors, but you could buy the natural and dye it. there's a ton of yardage in the skein for a sportweight yarn, making it really inexpensive. i would definitely use this yarn again.

Country Socks modeledSunshine Yarns NSS: --UPDATE: more bad news with this yarn. my boyfriend washed his socks in the machine and the cream parts are now nasty faded blue. so the dye continues to bleed. ugh.-- i did not have a very good experience with this yarn. it is soft merino wool, but it is pretty thin and isn't spun very tightly for sock yarn. the plies split occasionally--about on par with trekking. it also fuzzed a great deal while i was working with it and i frequently had to pull bits of fluff off the yarn. i have doubts that the sock will wear very well. there were a couple of knots and the dye surrounding the knots was very uneven (more so than the rest of the skein even though it is "not so solid"). i would've cut off these uneven parts, but i was worried about running out of yarn, so there are some odd undyed horizontal lines running through the socks. but my biggest beef was the dye. it rubbed off on my hands a little bit while i was working with it, but when i washed the socks, the water remained clear. my hands however, turned a vibrant shade of blueberry and stayed that way for 2 days. because the water stayed clear, i have no way of knowing if i rinsed the socks enough times to get out all the excess dye and since these socks are a gift, i hope to god that the recipient's feet don't turn blue. the dye also bled onto the white parts very noticeably, though the flash of my camera did not render it visible in the photo. it is very unlikely that i will use this yarn again, which is disappointing because i had such high hopes.

Baudelaire from knittyMountain Colors Bearfoot: i FINALLY finished the pair. i loved working with the yarn--soft and ever so slightly fuzzy. it also comes in so many pretty colors. the yarn is a little thicker than what i am used to, but very cozy on the feet. i handwashed originally but have since thrown them in the machine and laid flat to dry. they still look fabulous. i'd use this yarn again in a heartbeat.

Chevron socks from Sensational Knitted SocksVesper Sock Yarn: --UPDATE:the bottoms of the socks are pilling like mad, but at least with handwashing they don't shrink. they do not look very pretty anymore.-- coveted and finally purchased from knitterly things. i love the stripes, i love that the yarn is cushy and soft, but the handwash only bit is rather annoying. the only bad thing is that the stripe repeat is regular and somewhat boring to knit after awhile. no surprises. the yardage is very good. i have a significant amount of the tartan leftover, probably enough for a pair of footies with contrasting heels and toes.

Mixed Berry Waffles socksTwinkletoes Sock Yarn: i bought this ages ago from ebay. it comes in very large hanks, definitely enough for two pairs of socks. i heard a rumor that the dyer changed her base yarn, so it may be better now, but the batch I have is super scratchy. i can't recall the fiber content, other than to say it has mostly superwash wool. the colors blend very nice in a subtle sort of way. no ugly pooling here. but because of the itch factor, i don't think i'll use it again.

Clock detailTrekking XXL: i heart the colors of this yarn. i want 100, and 105, and 106, and 107, and...but i digress. the yarn is pretty splitty. i would recommend non-metal needles. the socks also soften up a lot with washing. the yarn is on the thinner side, and i was tempted to knit with #0s, but i decided not to go that route to save my sanity. the colors show simple stitch patterns well, but i would avoid anything lacy or cabled. the skeins are very large. go buy some.

Mom's birthday socksOnline Summer Supersocke 100: this yarn is similar to sockotta (cotton/wool/nylon), but thicker. i like that aspect. however, in my opinion, the colors suck in comparison. i did not like this colorway at all, but it's what my mom picked out for her birthday socks so, *shrug* the socks machine washed just fine. i can't comment on wear.

Elongated corded rib stitch patternKnitpicks Sock Landscape: merino wool--not supposed to be machine washable, but i've washed them 3x on cold, laid flat to dry. they haven't felted, but the stitch definition is getting hazy. these socks pill a lot. they are cushy and feel nice on the foot, but i probably won't use this yarn again. here is another pair from the color-your-own yarn, essentially the same but kool-aid dyed. i gave this pair as an xmas gift, so i have no info on how it has held up. i would guess about the same as mine. Update 09/2006: Um, yeah. so i was warned but i chose to ignore it. i've machine washed in cold 4 times now, and the socks are shrinking. a lot. like, i'm not even sure i can wear them anymore. so take the handwashing advice seriously on this one, folks. or don't use it for socks.

BGS detailLorna's Laces Shepherd Sock: it's a soft yarn that wears very well. i hate it. this pair was created by alternating skeins. here is what that same yarn looked like without alternating skeins. and here is another pair knit with two skeins from the same dyelot which not only pooled, but the skeins were also not close to being the same colors. it's safe to say i will be sticking to LL nearly solids in the future.

Sock Scrap AnkletsCascade Fixation: I love this yarn. it's stretchy, it's cushy, it's warm but not stiflingly hot. i've made anklets galore from this yarn and knee high socks. I've also made 2 pairs of anklets using elann esprit, which i really think is the exact same yarn. affordable (especially if you buy the elann) and durable--i haven't tried to make patterned socks from this yarn yet, but someday i will.

LL shepherd sport Lakeview ankletslorna's laces shepherd sport: more LL. i categorize this one differently b/c the base yarn is 100% merino wool (no nylon content). the sport socks are softer, and they wear not as well. my anklets are quite pilly. i like the thickness of these and the color pooling on this particular pair doesn't bother me quite as much. but i'm still not buying any more.

1st completed socks from KOTRKnitpicks Essential: The old kind. very scratchy, pilly, and downright linty. my pretty canada socks now look like crap. i'm willing to try the new version of essential though. maybe.

Holiday Detour Socks ModeledKnitpicks Simple Stripes: I know that logic says that the base yarn for these is the same as essential, but i swear they are different. these socks wear like iron and are not super soft, but they don't bother me nearly as much as the canada socks. it's like for whatever reason, these socks softened in the wash, but the canada socks are resisting.

Toasty Toes SocksInterlacements Toasty Toes: i freaking love this yarn. i bought it at a lys and it cost me an arm and a leg, but it was so worth it. the colors are fabulous, the yarn is soft and thick and super super warm. toasty indeed. the socks are looking a bit pilly these days so if i'd taken the time to knit a complicated stitch pattern i'd probably be sadder about the way they've worn. the colors are so bold though, i don't think they need it. i would definitely buy more of this yarn in a heartbeat if it didn't cost so frickin' much.

Finished Sockotta AnkletsPlymouth Sockotta: i hated knitting these. i used #0 metal dpns and it nearly killed me. the cotton made my hands hurt. but they are among my most comfortable socks to wear. so comfortable that i would someday use this yarn again. but not anytime soon, and definitely not on #0 needles.

Chutes and LaddersLionbrand Woolease Worsted: scratchy acrylic, but they softened in the wash and make decent bed/slipper socks. they actually aren't terrible, though i'm not rushing to make more. i made my brother a pair too. he wears size 14 shoes. i couldn't handle anything less than a worsted weight or i would've gone batty.

O'socks March from The Sock JournalPatons Kroy: a decent yarn. i've made quite a few socks from this yarn like these, and these, + several more pairs i gave as gifts. the two pairs i made for me haven't worn terribly well, but i was kind of a new sock knitter and my gauge was not tight enough. i like this yarn better than the old kp essential, but i haven't bought any more after my intial purchase.

Band Heel SocksElann sock it to me: feels almost identical to kp simple stripes. wears very well while not being very soft. i knit this pair on #00 metal dpns b/c i am crazy. i never made that mistake again.

1st 2 color socks from Socks X 3Shepherd's baby wool: i am assuming this is similar to baby ull. very very soft, comes in pretty colors. my first sock tragedy. i wore a hole in the big toe. i still haven't fixed it. again, the price of knitting at a too-loose gauge. the socks are also very pilly.

Koigu FootiesKoigu KPPPM: ahhhhhhh, koigu. soft, durable, again with the too-loose gauge on these anklets, but next time i will know better. most beautiful colorways. i made my mom a pair of anklets from this same color. still my favorite sock yarn so far.

Mom's Fast Florida Footies by LynnHLionbrand Magic Stripes: very afforable, wears well. slightly thicker than kp simple stripes/elann, but otherwise similar. doesn't come in very good colors, however.

i have a few others that i don't have accompanying pictures for.

i've used regia 4-ply in clown to make some baby socks. it seems hardy and i plan to make myself a pair one of these days. i also used sirdar acrylic for baby socks. it felt sticky and generally gross to me.

there is probably more from my pre-digicam days, but i can't think right now. most of my gift stuff gets sent on its way before i ever remember to take a picture. i'll end with a list of sock yarns i have in my stash but haven't used yet.

meilenweit cotton
austermann step
painted skeins superwash merino
opal tiger
trekking xxl in candy colors
fearless fibers merino sock in thoroughbred, and green
Sknitches syncopation sock yarn in dayspa
Brown Sheep Wildfoote in black
yarntini in home stripe
wollmeise sock yarn
more shepherd's baby wool (4 colors)
more fixation
more regia


  1. Yay! I'm so glad that everyone didn't think my post was stupid, and hey you even creatively borrowed it!

  2. WOW, what a great Sock Yarn review! I'm about to venture out into the world of Sock Making, and I really appreciated the advice.

    I totally love this blog.

  3. yay! socks!

    I love socks, sockyarn, spinning sockyarn!

    I like the reviews, thanks!

    Makes me want some Fixation!

  4. Oh, the socks are so beautiful. Should I knit one for the winter time.

  5. I enjoyed reading this and Stariel's sock yarn review. I'm with Sarah though, Fixation is intriguing to me now!!!

  6. And now you have some Trekking to try!

  7. Have you machine-washed the koigu? I've just knit my first koigu socks, and I'm daunted by the handwashing (i.e. I can't be bothered).


  8. yes, i've machine washed (and dried a few times) the koigu. my culprit is that i knit at a too-loose gauge, so they have pilled quite a bit and felted on the bottoms. my mom's pair has held up much better.

  9. What a great sock yarn review! Thanks!

  10. Great reviews! I'll have to steal Stariel's idea too - this is incredibly useful information.

  11. Thanks for the review, it's highly useful! Also, as far as I'm concerned, anything sock-related stariel does is de facto brilliant and deserves imitation.

  12. Thanks for taking the time to put all the sock info up for the rest of us! I trust your judgment on the untried yarns for me, because we are in total agreement on the yarns that I have used too.

  13. Whew, that was long! I'll sure be referring to this next time I pick a sock yarn! Thanks!

  14. Thank you for the yarn comparison! It's so useful, I love seeing what people think of the yarns they work with.



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