Yarn Advice: Socks

I’m interested in trying my hand at sock knitting in the relatively near future, so I’ve been looking around at various sock patterns, yarns, etc. I’ve noticed that the vast majority of sock weight yarns out there are wool/wool blends … is there a reason for this?

Unfortunately my skin is rather sensitive to certain fibers, and I’m not able to wear wool or any other animal fiber next to my skin. Because of this, I would rather knit socks using a yarn that does not contain wool so that I would actually be able to wear the socks that I make (although I suppose I could knit them to be gifted to someone else) :knitting:

Anyways, I guess my question is whether there is a reason that most sock yarns contain wool? Do they hold up better than say, cotton or acrylic blends? Any insights would be appreciated … as would any yarn recommendations from all the sock knitters out there! :muah:

I’m very sensitive and can’t usually wear wool either, but I CAN wear wool socks. The feet and hands don’t seem to be as sensitive as the neck, shoulders, and chest area. I wouldn’t rule them out till you’ve tried them. There are other socks yarns, but wool is strong, has good memory, breathes and it’s warm. Acrylic doesn’t breath. The ones I made make your feet feel clammy. Cotton can stretch out and not return to shape w/o washing. If you do choose another fiber a blend would be best to counteract these tendencies.

No matter which fiber you choose though I’d recommend that you choose one with nylon or polyester in it. I’ve made socks out of various yarns and the ONLY ones that lasted are the ones made with actual sock yarn with nylon/polyester. The others got holes in the heels/toes.

Thanks for the tips Jan! I knew there had to be a reason why most of the sock yarns out there are wool/wool blends!

I think I’ll follow your advice and stick with a wool blend, at least to start with. If I find that the wool still bothers me, then some lucky person will be getting the gift of socks! :rofl:

my handknit socks I do not use like my little cotton socks. Handknits I do not wear as “primary socks” but over my cotton socks (in shoes or around the house in the colder times). I LOVE my war socks over the others. I do not like slippers or shoes in the house and would die of cold feet without warm socks. That is one of the reasons why I am getting back into sock knitting after many years of absence. I did start about 20 years ago and have not made any for about 8 year now, maybe? (I do not count baby socks here).

So, tonight the new project will go on my needles. I just don’t know it “sockweight” or thick wool against cool feet. But I do have a nice pattern that I steal the technique from and that by stitch count I will blissfully ignore anyways. You find it here:

I bought that today and will love the diagonal heel. No edges to step on, smooth underside of the foot… I am particular about that, really. Probably I will do grafted toes to avoid that pointy tip I used to have in the old days.

Thanks for the pattern link!

I have not tried it yet but I read it after purchase and I really like the sound of it. I will try it tonight, actually, I will start right now!

edited one hour and 15 min later: I have made some sample with my yarn, re-worked the pattern (like no effort) for my yarn and made the short sock-top that I was intending (just keep my feet warm) - 40 stitches for about 20 rounds. Now I am around the heel and into the foot.
The technique is really nice! Once you know it, it turns into a no-brainer.

The one side of the heel looks better than the other but I think I can work that out on the next sock (yes, they will be different then but my feet will be warm and futurely I will know what works best.

OK, I made dinner and ate in between - and my sock is done right now. (no 3 hours total, not 2 hours working).
My yarn is losely spun sheep wool in a mix of brown and white. 15 stitches were 12 cm, I worked 40 stiches around. Simple ribbing for 8 rows on the top.

Perfect for a foot warmer and a quick test knit.

Result: I really recommend this pattern!

hi, K! :waving:

I’ve fallen in love with sock making and my friends and family are grateful for it. There were lots of toasty warm toes last winter and I’m already working up a few pair for this year.

Sock knitting is just super. All it takes is some persistence through the learning and practicing part. Once it all clicks into place then it’s just :doh: “Who knew it was so easy?” :woohoo:

I use wool mostly and have found no problem wearing it. I always hand wash the socks gently and lay them flat to dry (in shape) before wearing or giving them as gifts since it usually really softens them.

A nylon content will really help them last a long time (with proper care) but there are so many beautiful yarns that have no nylon content. But they do need re-inforcing. For those I use the following…

Just work this along with your sock yarn starting with the heel flap through the heel turn and then pick it up again when you start the toe decreases. It comes in lots of great colors and I always get two spools of each color since I knit socks two at a time on one long circ. (Melissa Morgan-Oakes has a book on it, great to try out once you’ve learned the basics and have knit a pair or two). I always have reinforcing yarn left over on each spool.

Good luck with your sock adventure! Persist and you’ll have a treasure chest full of wonderful knitting experiences!

Happy Knitting,

Ruthie :hug:

2 things just quickly, both not yarn related:

do you know the [B]Silver Sock Class[/B]? There are 3 documents, I believe, and they walk you through learning to knit socks (in one way of doing it, or 2 I belive … I have read one but not worked any).

The second thing: :woot:
O now have 2 toasty feet. The socks are done. I have about 2 yards of my yarn left (good estimate or shere luck… I leave that to you)

The issue on the heel look I have figured out. The pattern was totally clear to me. But when figuring out how to fix it on my own and looked back at the pattern, the pattern said just that. Well, pattern work, I guess. Now I have it.

Great, I will make more of these.

Here are the pics (edited on Saturday):

grafted toes… :slight_smile:

more pics and link to the pattern in my ravelry profile (hyperactive there too)

I’m very sensitive to fibers and dyes, and the only way I can figure out which is trial and error. I highly recommend Regia for wool socks. I’ve knit quite a few in just the past year and not had one bit of problem with it at all, and the colors are exciting.

Acrylic fibers are the worst for me. Red Heart can cause me to break out, but their sock yarn never bothers me. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Check out Socketta. I think it is mostly cotton and wears fairly well. I got mine at DBNY but I think it is available elsewhere.

I just checked it is a yarn from Plymouth and is 40% wool with cotton and nylon.

I REALLY recommend the Deborah Norville sock yarn, it contains bamboo which makes it SUPER soft! It does contain some wool (see www.premieryarns.com). It’s in my Ravelry page.

However, if that’s not acceptable, I’ve made socks with 100% bamboo yarn called MeiMei Silk Bamboo (I found it on eBay) & their site is www.meimeicrafts.com. I made the bamboo socks for a friend who is allergic to animal fibers. She loved them. Pattern is called Twinkleberry from Knitty:

Thanks for all the suggestions … you guys are great! :muah:

Have you tried Alpaca? Very warm, and stretchy, and it is supposed to be less of a allergy problem then wool.