Sock Yarn Report

First of all, watch here for a stash sale soon… I have lots of yarn I’ve decided I’m not going to use up, and very soon it will go up for sale here!  Now onto today’s post…

Socks and I have a complex relationship.  I’ve never been one to enjoy wearing socks, but handknit socks are, I must admit, a wondrous thing.  I have knit a few pair in my time, and I’m feeling the pull to knit a few more now that Fall is here.

But one thing I always wonder about… how well is that lovely sock yarn going to wear on my feet?  After all, socks get more abuse than any other handknitted item.  I don’t want to put hours into one, only to have the heel blow out a month later.  So I present to you my reviews of the sock yarns I have used, I hope you find it helpful.

My sock wearing habits:  I generally wear them with boots from September to however late I can get away with it in the spring.  I don’t really wear tennis shoes, and I rarely consider wearing them with other shoes.  So my socks are subjected to very warm situations, but probably to less rubbing on the heels than would occur with other shoes.  I used to knit my socks on US 1 needles, but I switched to 0s last year to see how that affected the wear.

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote

Needles: US 1

Notes: These were my first socks, and as such I knit them too loosely and too big.  I hardly ever wear them, but even so they are pretty pilly.  I do machine wash this pair, and the yarn has no issues with that.  I didn’t enjoy knitting with this yarn.

Yarn: Claudia Handpaints

Needle:US 1

Notes: The yarn was lovely to knit with, but it has not held up.  Claudia’s uses (or did at the time, I’m not up on the current base) Louet as the base, as do many other yarns.  I have learned to avoid this yarn, because in my experience it felts!  The yarn says you can put it in the washer, but mine shrank terribly (luckily I can still get it on, but it isn’t wearable.)  I have never used Koigu because I have heard it is the same or similar.

Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot

Needles: US 1

Notes: Bearfoot is nearly a sport weight, so knit on US 1 needles it makes a nice firmfabric.  They have fuzzed, due to the mohair, but the pattern is still clear.  No felting, and they haven’t stretched.  I wash these by hand, because they still bleed dye.  They do attract lint.  Love this yarn, I would highly recommend it.

Yarn: Interlacements Tiny Toes

Needles: US 0

Notes: Not impressed.  I don’t know what base yarn is used here, but it has the same springy feel as Claudia’s.  I prefer firmer sock yarn.  These socks have actually felted a hard little line across the heel, and the toes are looking thin.  Pretty colors, but the wear isn’t great.

Yarn: Austermann Step

Needles: US 0

Notes: Wears like iron, absolutely.  No felting, only little tiny pills.  They don’t even stretch out.  I complained about knitting with it (it’s rather splitty and thin,) but I’m starting to think that devotees of German sock yarn have a point.

Yarn: SeeJayneKnit 100% Merino superwash

Needles:US 0

Notes: My favorite socks.  The yarn is thicker than the usual fingering, but not especially springy, resulting in socks that wear surprisingly well for a yarn with no nylon.  I would have expected it to felt, but unlike many of the nylon yarns it has remained soft.  I do get lots of pills around the ankles, but I’m okay with that.

Yarn: Mama Llama merino/tencel blend

Needles: US 1

Notes: Another suprise.  I wear these socks all the time, and they have not a pill or a bit of felting.  The yarn was inelastic to knit with, but the finished socks are pretty and shiny.  The only bad thing is that they may stretch a bit.  I’m quite impressed, and want to try other tencel sock yarns.

So… what conclusions do I draw?  Nylon doesn’t necessarily make socks wear better.  Harder sock yarns are better wearing.  Knit with a small needle (except for the tiny toes, all my socks knit on size 0 needles are holding up better.)  I also will note that I think the eye of partridge heel holds up really well.

So now I want to knit new socks, to replace the two that are unwearable.  I have paired some yarn with patterns, hopefully I will get through these this winter!

Little Pumpkin socks, using Wollmeise in Kurbis

Ruffled Garden Socks using Yarn Chef “Pretty in pink” (this yarn is self striping)

Pillar Socks using Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Damson.

I’m leaning towards the pumpkin socks first.  I actually have a few half finished socks lying around – I have finally realized that stockinette socks are boring to me, and I never finish them…

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7 thoughts on “Sock Yarn Report

  1. This was so helpful! I am always trying to keep track of this kind of information. I have knitted two pairs of socks with Fearless Fibers merino sock yarn (etsy shop) and both pairs have felted terribly, though the colors are lovely.

  2. Hand knit socks are the best! Thanks for the yarn reviews, it’s really helpful. My favourite is the MCN hand painted fingering from The Plucky Knitter.

  3. ellebee says:

    This info was so helpful! Thanks! I had a question though. On your socks knit on 1s vs 0s, what was your gauge of each? I’m relatively new to knitting socks, and I’m still trying to figure out what the best gauge is, and your info on wear vs needle size helps so much!

  4. AnnH says:

    A much needs and appreciated report! Thanks. Socks are one of my favorite knits –portable, quick, so comfy and great gifts. My all time favorite for both knitting and wearing is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. On 0’s it is practically indestructable and very warm and soft. The only drawback is that none of the shops in Louisville carry it; I look for it when I travel or order it from The Loopy Ewe. Incredibly beautiful colors, too.

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