Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Yarns I've Had and What I Think of Them!

I had a request-by-comment to add stars or something to indicate my favorite sock yarns that I've worked with. I'll do that but I thought I'd do a little post now about the yarns I've used thus far and what I thought of them, and then start doing updates when I use a new yarn. :)

I've linked the name of the yarn to the finished socks wherever possible.

4-ply Soft (Rowan)

I liked this yarn a lot, although it is not machine washable. It's soft and shows lace especially well.

Alpafina

This yarn (a 50% wool 50% alpaca blend) was a little scratchy and hairy and not machine washable. Not what I would personally choose for socks, but I didn't pick it. I also didn't like the color. ;)

Handpaints by Artsygal

I really enjoyed working with this yarn. The base is 50% Tussah Silk and 50% Merino. The colors were gorgeous and the yarn has a lovely sheen. It's a bit on the fuzzy side (to be expected from the silk) and a little splitty, but really not any worse than many of the other sock yarns I've tried.

Austermann Step

I was intrigued by this yarn because it contains aloe and jojoba. The yarn is similar to Regia or Opal, while the color reminds me of Opal since it is not evenly applied to the strand. It knits up nicely and feels a little odd while knitting - like you just put lotion on your hands.

Artyarns Supermerino (last picture)

I started knitting these socks for a gift and contemplated stealing them a few times! The yarn is very soft and "sproingy" and the colors are beautiful! A word of caution - I bought three skeins at the same time and one was very different in color so be very careful to compare skeins and make sure they're all similar in color. However, that was really my fault and I still LOVE this yarn! Since I gifted the socks I'll have to check with the recipient on how they wear, but I do have a couple skeins to knit socks for myself sometime soon.

Black Bunny Fibers

I really liked working with this yarn. It has a nice tight twist and "sproingy-ness" similar to Koigu. The colors are beautiful as well, although mine pooled somewhat strangely.

BMFA Sock Candy

I received this yarn as a gift and I love it! The colors were gorgeous - and very vibrant on the cotton yarn. It's slightly stretchy, but nowhere near as stretch as Fixation. The ends of the yarn unravelled quite a bit into very thin threads, but I didn't find it too splitty while knitting. It's very soft!

Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport

This yarn made beautiful finished socks. It is also not machine washable. I liked that I could knit it up on slightly larger needles (3s) so it went quickly.

Chinese Mystery sock yarn

I generally prefer washable sock yarn, but I have to admit that this yarn did give an amazing finished product. Unfortunately it was a RAK and the label was entirely in Chinese and I have no idea where I would ever find it again.

Crystal Palace Maizy

I bought this yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar during the Philly Knitty Fest because it sounded interesting. It was, although it's very splitty, that's not really a problem for me so I didn't mind. I first started a pair of socks in stockinette, but it was pooling in a really ugly way so I decided to break it up by using another stitch pattern. Overall the yarn is nice, very stretchy, and one of the few vegan options out there for sock yarn. The colors it comes in aren't really my taste, but I'm sure there will be more colors available if they keep the yarn, and how cool is it to have socks made mostly of corn?

Dorchester Farms Sock Yarn

It's a little heavier than the yarns I usually use - more suited to a size 2 or 3 needle. The base yarn itself is a fairly standard superwash wool/nylon blend. I guess what make this yarn different, other than the slightly heavier weight, is the fact that it's hand-dyed. It seems like most hand-dyed yarns are a superwash merino base instead of this wool/nylon one.

Fabel

The yarn itself was not really all that different from other yarns I've worked with, although I was surprised by the striping since from looking at the ball I thought it would be variegated. Overall a nice and durable yarn that makes comfortable and hard-wearing socks.

Fearless Fibers

Gorgeous colors, and very soft. The yardage is amazing - I had 75g left after knitting a pair of socks. Unfortunately the socks didn't hold up too well to washing. After one wear-and-wash they were about as fuzzy as the pair made with Patons Kroy that are a year old.

Cascade Fixation

This is a yarn that many knitters hate. Personally I like it a lot and have made a few pairs of socks - anklets with one ball and taller socks. It's another that can be knit on larger needles (3-4) and is great for warmer weather. It holds up quite well through the wash and even the dryer, although I wouldn't recommend machine-drying the socks as they do shrink a bit.

Gloss

This yarn was easy to work with and I really liked the final result. It was a bit thicker than some of the fingering weight yarns I'm used to, and very soft.

handspun

Knitting socks with handspun (this was a single ply) was an interesting experience because it's more uneven than commercial sock yarn. This particular handspun was a little rough and not machine washable, but I'm sure the socks will be comfy after washing and especially warm.

Jarbo Raggi (2nd picture)

I knit a sample sock out of this so it hasn't been worn. The yarn is a wool nylon blend and washable, and since it's worsted weight it knits up very quickly. It's nice and soft and would be great for thick socks.

Jknits

The yarn was a little splity, but overall I enjoyed working with it. The colors blend beautifully and the yarn is very soft.

Koigu (a better picture of the yarn at the end of this post)

I love the colors of Koigu and it's definitely an enjoyable yarn to work with!

Kona Superwash

This is the sport/DK weight that I dyed myself. It's a nice soft yarn - very fluffy and makes cushy socks because it's a bit thicker. It was a little splitty while knitting, but the finished socks turned out well.

KP Essential

This is the old version of Essential, I've heard that they're now using a different base yarn which is softer. This reminded me of Paton's Kroy - rough while you're working with it but it softens after washing.

KP Merino
The KP Merino (this was the Sock Garden, now discontinued) is quite soft. Not machine washable, though, and I didn't like the way the colors came out very well. It's very comfortable to wear, though - as expected with non-superwash yarn - there is a bit of felting in the heel and on the bottom of the foot.

KP Palette

This yarn is a little rough to work with but softens after washing. Also not machine washable, and the color bled a lot on the first washing. However I love these socks - the yarn is definitely beautiful.

Limbo

The yarn is a sportweight (so it knits up quickly) and very nice to work with, and the color kind of reminds me of Trekking. The two balls I had in the same dyelot were quite different - one striping and the other more mottled - so if you're not a fan of fraternal socks it would be better to alternate balls.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock

This is one of my favorites. I love the colors that this yarn comes in (not especially the Bee Stripe, but these were not for me) and it's a joy to work with. Definitely one of my favorites.

Macek Designs Superwash Merino

I had this yarn custom dyed and was very happy with the customer service as well as the yarn itself. It is a similar base yarn to other indie sock yarns out there - a 2-ply superwash merino. It is very soft, fluffs up nicely, and the dyeing was great.

Magic Stripes

This is the first pair of socks I knit. This yarn is a little thicker than Shepherd Sock or many of the other fingering weight sock yarns, and knits up well on 2s or 3s for quicker socks. It's not the softest yarn, but it wears like iron! I've had these socks for nearly 2 years now and I wear them often, put them through the washer and dryer, and they're holding up really well.

Microspun

These were a test knit so I have no idea how they wear. The socks were very soft and had a nice feeling on the feet, though.

Nature's Palette

I picked this yarn up in Portland since I had never seen it before. I really enjoyed working with it except for the fact that the dye came of on my hands - a lot. However when I washed them to block not much dye came out. The yarn reminds me a bit of Koigu, although it is handwash only. The finished socks looked great, and the slight variation in color depth gave a nice almost solid effect.

Opal

I'm personally not a huge fan of Opal because of the colors. They're applied sort of unevenly with white showing through, which just isn't what I like. However the Opal socks I have wear very well and are quite comfortable. The yarn is a little rough when knitting.

Paton's Kroy

This yarn is one of the best for solid colors in my opinion. It's a slightly heavier weight than the Opal or Lorna's Laces. It's quite rough while knitting, but washes up fairly soft and wears very well through machine washings and even the dryer.

Peru DK (1st picture)

This yarn was soft and the finished socks looked great! The label had no washing instructions, but I'm assuming it's handwash as it's merino, alpaca, and silk. I can't say how it wears, but even if it doesn't hold up longterm the socks sure would be comfy while they lived.

Peruvian Quechua

This yarn was quite fuzzy, a bit splitty, and I'd be concerned with how well it would wear as socks. However, the pair I knitted was a gift (the recipient picked the yarn) and the socks were intended to be bed socks.

Regia Bamboo

I'd heard mixed reviews about this yarn. Some people said that it didn't hold shape well and didn't have enough stretch - there were complaints that the ribbing was floppy. I didn't have this problem, in fact I love how the sock came out! I knit it on 2.5mm needles and the ribbing is fine. Even the stockinette has quite a bit of stretch.

Regia Cotton I didn't especially like knitting with this yarn because it was not stretchy at all. I'd definitely recommend a ribbed or cabled pattern to give the socks the necessary spring. The finished socks did come out nice, but they weren't for me so I can't speak to how they performed.

Regia Strato

This yarn belonged to a friend. I enjoyed knitting with it and the colors remind me of Trekking. The socks were comfy when I tried them on, but I haven't actually worn them. Jessica says they're doing great through quite a few wear and wash cycles. :)

Ruby Sapphire

My Sockapalooza pal MJ knit me a pair of socks in this yarn, then sent along the extra so I could have the experience of knitting with it too. I love the socks she made - they're very comfortable and have held up well so far. The yarn was a little splitty while I knit with it, but the end result is worth it.

Socka Color (Fortissima Colori)

This yarn isn't particularly soft and there were a few knots in the ball I had. It's also fairly splity. Not too bad to work with, but not a favorite either. It seems very similar to Opal or Regia in fiber content/feel so I think the socks will wear well.

Sockotta

I have a pair of Sockotta socks that I received in a swap, but the linked pair is the first time I've knitted with it. From my swap socks I know that it washes very well (even holds up through the dryer) and is comfy and good for warmer weather, as one would expect from the cotton content. Knitting with it was a pretty good experience as well. The fabric is not quite as stretchy as a 100% wool or wool-nylon blend, but the socks are soft.

Socks That Rock

I have to say that this is my favorite of the yarns I've tried. It is so soft and cushy, it's amazing to knit with and the finished socks feel great too. And this yarn has the amazing ability to make me like, and even buy, colors that I usually hate. (I bought red. Really!) I've worn and washed my socks a few times and even after walking around in them a lot they look very good.

Star (Classic Elite)

I probably wouldn't knit socks with this yarn again. It's pretty similar to Cascade Fixation, but a heavier weight and much more thick and thin, which totally obscures any stitch pattern. The socks pictured are a rib pattern, and when on you can barely tell that the socks are ribbed, let alone that it's something more than a simple 3x3. Since they were the prescribed pattern for Socks Wars I had to knit them that way.

Sunshine Yarns

This yarn has become another one of my favorites. It has my top two qualities (soft and superwash) and the colors are gorgeous. I loved working with it!

Supersock - Cherry Tree Hill


I really enjoyed working with this yarn, which stood up well to the frogging it encountered in the first incarnation. The colors on the sock look even more lovely than in the skein or ball, and it has a surprising amount of stretch (great for Jaywalkers like these!)

Trekking

I'm in love with the colors of Trekking - especially the blues. It's an overall nice sock yarn I think. I didn't find it too rough while knitting, and I've heard it wears well although I have no personal experience with that.

Wick

This yarn is not actually sock weight, it's more of a worsted. However, my Summer Sock Party pal used a sock pattern that calls for this yarn and so I got the chance to knit with it (the 2nd sock, that is). It's an interesting blend of soy and polypropylene - very different but I really like it!

Wildfoote

I love this yarn! I don't know what it is exactly - probably the colors. I had a lovely time knitting with it. The socks have only been worn once or twice because of the weather changes, but they seem to be holding up well.

Wool Ease

I don't have a picture of these socks, which I knit for my mom. I wasn't a big fan of the Wool Ease for socks, although the sport weight might work better - I used worsted.

Whew! If you got through all of that congrats!

Labels:

10 Comments:

Blogger aija said...

Very cool writeup!

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

I've worn the Regia Strato socks probably about 3 times before the weather became just too warm to wear them (they're pretty warm). They have survived being washed and dried multiple times with no weirdness, and I walked all over Boston one day in them and they were quite comfy.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous fiberfool said...

Good to know for future SP's. Thanks for the info!!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Could you please tell me how you made those line drawings in your sidebar that track your knitting progress? I'd love to do that too (my codeing knowledge is zero...)

I'm at www.blossomparkknits.blogspot.com

5:11 AM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

I made some wool-ease socks in worsted. They were very soft and quick to knit but the bottom did disintegrate -- but that could be considered a good thing because I used them so much!

7:32 AM  
Anonymous sprite said...

You're very thorough. Thanks for the feedback on the yarns!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

I definitely trust you when it comes to sock yarn. You are the authority when it comes to sock yarn.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Lynette said...

very nice yarn review. i have many of the yarns in my stash and you summed them up very well. STR and Sunshine are high on my list as well.

thanks again for sharing.

5:45 PM  
Blogger donnac368 said...

Great write-up. I made some socks with wool-ease and they're pilling and losing their shape. I'm teaching myself 2 socks on one circ and using lion wool, and so far I like it better. I love Wildefoot handpainted.

11:03 AM  
OpenID caitirin said...

I noticed that you said you were going to consider Spinning Bunny Yarns on your list of future choices. I just ordered from them and I have to say that I am very disappointed. The color I ordered and the color I got were ENTIRELY different colorways and I've had a lot of trouble getting in touch with their customer service and with trying to get a refund.

6:41 AM  

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Sock Yarn

    A quest to use sock yarns:

    Yarns I've had:
    * means I really liked it

    4-ply Soft
    A Piece of Vermont*
    Alpafina
    Artsygal*
    Artyarns Supermerino*
    Austermann Step
    BMFA Sock Candy*
    Black Bunny Fibers*
    Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport
    Chinese Mystery sock yarn
    Claudia's Handpaints
    Conjoined Creations Flat Feet
    Crystal Palace Maizy
    CTH Supersock
    Dicentra Designs
    Dorchester Farms
    Fabel
    Fearless Fibers
    Fixation*
    Gloss (KP)
    handspun
    Inspinknity*
    Interlacements Beibi Seda
    Interlacements Tiny Toes
    Interlacements Toasty Toes
    Jarbo Raggi
    JKnits*
    Jojoland Melody
    Koigu*
    Kona Superwash
    KP Essential
    KP Merino
    KP Palette
    Limbo
    Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock*
    Macek Designs
    Madelinetosh
    Magic Stripes
    Mega Boots Stretch
    Microspun
    Nature's Palette
    Noro Kureyon Sock
    Opal
    Panda Cotton
    Paton's Kroy*
    Peru DK
    Peruvian Quechua
    Regia Bamboo*
    Regia Cotton
    Regia Strato*
    Ruby Sapphire
    Sockotta
    Socks That Rock*
    Star (Classic Elite)
    Stitch Jones
    Sunshine Yarns*
    Three Fates Cauldron Sock*
    TOFUtsies
    Trekking*
    Wick
    Wildfoote*
    Wollmeise*
    Wool Ease
    Yarn Pirate*

    In Progress:

    Perchance to Knit
    Regia
    Vesper
    Yarns in the stash:

    All Things Heather
    Ancient Threads
    Apple Laine
    Araucania Ranco
    Artyarns Ultramerino
    Autumn House Farm
    Baby Ull
    Ball and Skein
    Baywood Yarns
    Bearfoot (Mountain Colors)
    Briar Rose Fibers
    Brooklyn Handspun
    Cavyshops Handpaint
    C*eye*ber Fiber
    Cervinia Calzetteria
    CTH Superglitz
    Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks
    Chewy Spaghetti
    Classic Elite Alpaca Sox
    Colinette Cadenza
    Colinette Jitterbug
    Country Classic Yarn for Sox
    Crash Into Ewe
    Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop
    Curious Yarns
    Done Roving
    Dream in Color
    Duet (A Swell Yarn Shop)
    Dye Dreams
    Ellen's Half Pint Farm
    End of the World Farm
    Fashion Trend Sportivo
    The Fiber Denn
    Fleece Artist
    The Flock Bransonas
    Fortissima
    French Hill Farm
    Froehlich Blauband
    Fyberspates
    geeyouknit!
    Gjestal Silja
    Great Adirondack Soxie
    Greenwood Fiberworks
    Jaeger Matchmaker
    Jarbo Mini Raggi
    Jawoll
    Jawoll Cotton
    Just Our Yarn
    Knit Purl Natural Collection
    Kona Superwash
    KP Dancing
    KP Essential Tweed
    Lime & Violet
    Lisa Souza
    Louet Gems Pearl
    Luxe
    Mama Llama
    Merlin the Cat
    Meilenweit Cotton
    Meilenweit Trend
    Mind's Eye Merino/Tencel
    Mirasol Hacho
    Misty Mountain Farm
    The Natural Dye Studio
    Neighborhood Fiber Company
    Over the Rainbow Twinkletoes
    Peterle
    Pigeon Roof Studios
    Pine Woods
    Posh Yarn Lucia
    Prism Saki
    Pucker Brush Farm
    Regia Surf
    Reynolds Swizzle
    Reynolds Soft Sea Wool
    Rio De La Plata
    Royale Hare
    Roz Houseknecht
    Schaefer Anne
    Scout's Swag
    Sheep Shop Wensleydale
    Shelridge Farm
    ShibuiKnits
    Sockenwolle Unipo
    Spirit Trail Fiberworks
    Spunky Eclectic
    Steinbach Wolle Sockenwolle
    Sundara Yarn
    Sweetgeorgia
    Tess Designer Yarns
    Twisted
    The Unique Sheep
    Universal Ditto
    Valley Yarns Franklin
    vanCalcar Acres
    White Oak Studio tvyarn
    Wisdom Yarns Marathon
    Wool in the Woods
    The Woolen Rabbit
    Yarn Botanika Radiance
    Yarntini
    Ysolda Yarn
    Zen Yarn Garden


    To check out:

    Pippikneesocks
    Sophie's Toes
    The Spinning Bunny Yarns BFL

WIPs and FOs