What makes a good sock yarn?

O.K. I finally wore my new socks out and about this weekend and they are warm - dead of winter warm - the kind of warm I only need a few weeks out of the year. Yes they're wool, fine and dandy but I want to make socks that are comfortable year round. I'm really frustrated trying to find cotton sock yarn even on the internet. I don't want my socks to be all colors of the rainbow - a nice gray or beige marl would be great but I can't find it anywhere at least not using "sock yarn" for the search. So what makes a sock yarn a sock yarn and can I use any cotton in the right guage for socks?



MMario's picture

Knitpicks does have a cotton blend that might be cooler, that comes in solid colours.
. AND it gives us a reasonable yd/lb figure to work with. Using that, there are several cotton blends (usually cotton with various artificial fibers, but also cotton alpaca, and cotton/silk) in the same weight range at WEBS.

Happy hunting!

You might want to search on "fingering weight" rather then sock yarn.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

teejtc's picture

You might consider looking for bamboo sock yarn. I read somewhere that bamboo was 2-degrees cooler than cotton -- and with the "natural antibacterial qualities" that seem to always be touted, it sounds like a great fiber for socks. (Although the one time I knit with bamboo I wasn't particularly fond of it while I was knitting it... kept coming untwisted... I liked the finished product though.)

Take it for what it's worth I don't remember where I read it... :-)

Grace and Peace,

RareSteek's picture

I always like a bit of fake stuff mixed in with it -- say 15 -25% nylon or acrylic or whatever along with the cotton or wool. I imagine that they wear a lot better that way. I tend to put the toes out of socks rather quickly and it seems to help. Also 'Jawoll' brand yarns, in plain colours, includes a spool of reinforcing thread inside the ball in a matching colour. When you do the heels and toes you knit the two threads together which strengthens those part of the sock so they wear better. Also look at the 'knit picks' site under fingering weight. There are various blends there. They have one called "Risata" which is about half cotton, some wool, and fake stuff, in plain colous. Never used it , but it might be something worth trying. Here is the url for that yarn. Inexpensive, as well.



Two I've got in my stash are #1"Sockotta"45% cotton, 40% superwash wool, 15% nylon and #2 "Tofutsies" 50% superwash wool, 25% soysilk fibers, 22.5% cotton and 2.5% chitlin. Sockotta makes a nice sock, I've never used the other. I don't know whether or not either variety comes in earth tones, since I'm not Lutheran any more.


ulf's picture

Traditionally the wool where blended with goat wool for a stronger sock with a longer life. And if you have freinds with long hair you can knit the heel with a human hair following the thread. That makes the heel stronger. I have knitted socks with all kinds of cotton socks and I think it makes a much better sock if you use a much smaller needle than recommended.

scottly's picture

Great information guys. Now that I know what to look for I'm starting to find more yarn that I like. I'm wondering how much cooler a cotton wool blend will be.


Bill's picture

I'm using Trekking, right now...75%superwash wool-25%nylon...medium grey with speckles of colours...very nice.

Kerry's picture

I often use wool/nylon 80/20 or superwash wool but almost always in what I call a light fingering weight. It can be cool enough to wear in the summer, but is still warm for our winter. I like the Trekking which Bill mentioned, also Patonyle for plain colours. I also buy from smaller online shops such as The Knittery, Brooklyn Handspun, and for something special Socks That Rock.

grandcarriage's picture

For winter socks, I have to admit, I love Plymouth Encore... It machine wash/dries very nicely...and even though it's 75% acry and 25% wool, it feels far more wooley and behaves as such. I bought a lot of brownsheep dk superwash, with which I'll knit some winter work socks (with nylon/wool bits for the heel and toe). Since I work outside for a living in the wet, wool is really what I want, cheap wool... maybe a little scratchy to exfoliate my poor leathery feet whilst I work (kidding).

grandcarriage's picture

I re-read your message...Unfortunately summer socks for me tend to be of the cheap cotton types, because they get permanently dirty-ruined at work. I wish I had the type of job where I could wear cool handknit socks in summer (but then again, in Portland, if you can, you wear Birkenstocks, Teva's etc...and people spend their money on pedicures rather than cotton socks. :)

Bill's picture

I have to admit......
yes...I'm using Trekking...but two strands plus one of alpaca...they're heavy socks....LOL
...I wear them year round, with boots...in San Francisco....