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Topic: Sock yarn help?  (Read 438 times)
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meriellyn
« on: June 21, 2006 01:38:08 PM »

I'm a sock newbie and I'm having a difficult time choosing a sock yarm. I don't have a yarn store nearby so I've been looking online but it's difficult to judge yarns I've never come into contact with by online descriptions. Especially since I have never worked with sock yarn before.

Ideally I'd like something light, highly breathable, soft to silky-ish, and stretchy. I'm pretty darn warm-bodied (I've been called a 'human space heater') and I live in coastal South Carolina so I need something that won't make my feet melt off. I'm thinking 100% wool might not be for me and that seems to be what I find the most of. I guess I'm concerned about a blind purchase since of course most sock yarn is intended to be toasty warm which is not exactly what I'm looking for.
And of course I want something that won't drive me insane trying to work with it.

I really love the colorways of the Opal Rainforest collection. I've researched this yarn a lot but still can't get a good feel for it. If someone could describe it for me (thickness, softness, ease of working with it, needle size to get generic sock gauge, etc).

Also, I'm considering ordering some 5" Brittany Birch DPNs. Any thoughts on these?

Any insight that might help me on my (thus far rather confusing) search would be *greatly* appreciated!

Thanks!
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Fozziebear54
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2006 08:33:33 PM »

Grumperina has a list of non-wooly sock yarns here. And by non-wooly, I mean that there is absolutely NO wool in those yarns whatsoever.

As for the needles, I have no input for you. I prefer metal needles, so I'm obviously biased against anything else.  Tongue
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2006 10:26:43 PM »

Wool sock yarn helps keep feet cool in the summer, warm in the winter. I find my wool socks keep my feet cooler than wearing my store-bought ones in the summer. I assume because the wool breathes.

I haven't used Opal yarns yet, so I won't be any help there, but I know the people on the Socknitters Yahoo! Group swear by it. It's also machine washable and very durable. Another good sock yarn is Regia. There's lots of choices. I suggest you check out that group. I think it's over 10 000 members now, so you're bound to get lots of good information.

I haven't used the Brittany needles yet either, though I've been getting tempted to get some. Whether you'll like them or not depends on if you like shorter needles.

Actually, if you want, I have a lot of Bernat Sox yarn that I got on sale after they discontinued it. I'd be happy to send you a couple balls so you can try that. It's acrylic with a bit of nylon for strength. PM me if you're interested.
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2006 05:12:36 AM »

I'm a sock newbie and I'm having a difficult time choosing a sock yarm. I don't have a yarn store nearby so I've been looking online but it's difficult to judge yarns I've never come into contact with by online descriptions. Especially since I have never worked with sock yarn before.

Ideally I'd like something light, highly breathable, soft to silky-ish, and stretchy. I'm pretty darn warm-bodied (I've been called a 'human space heater') and I live in coastal South Carolina so I need something that won't make my feet melt off. I'm thinking 100% wool might not be for me and that seems to be what I find the most of. I guess I'm concerned about a blind purchase since of course most sock yarn is intended to be toasty warm which is not exactly what I'm looking for.
And of course I want something that won't drive me insane trying to work with it.

I really love the colorways of the Opal Rainforest collection. I've researched this yarn a lot but still can't get a good feel for it. If someone could describe it for me (thickness, softness, ease of working with it, needle size to get generic sock gauge, etc).

Also, I'm considering ordering some 5" Brittany Birch DPNs. Any thoughts on these?

Any insight that might help me on my (thus far rather confusing) search would be *greatly* appreciated!

Thanks!

I prefer the 7" needles.  The shorter ones dig into your hands, depending on how you hold them and stitches can slip off easier on the shorter needles....which is a lot for a new sock knitter to keep track of. 

Wooden needles are very nice to start with because they have a little 'grip' which hleps to keep your stitches on the needles.

I use both -- wooden and metal, just depends on what I have available.  *grin*

Lorna's Laces yarn is WONDERFUL.  I use the sport weight for socks but there is also a fingering weight.

I second the point that wool keeps one cool in summer, warm in winter.  The quality of the yarn and how it feels on YOU is very individual, so I say jump in, buy one or two yarns, and see how they feel.

For Opal yarns, provided you have an 'average' foot, ankle and calf (IE not plus size or petite), you can use a size 1 needle (smaller needle gives a finer fabric, which is more comfortable to walk on).  I like Opal yarns and think they would be a good choice to start with. 

Another good yarn is my new favourite:  Trekking XXL.  Beautiful, can be worked on a size 1 or 1 1/2 -- but the yarn is wool. 

Hope this helps. 
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meriellyn
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2006 07:20:22 AM »

Thanks so much for your responses!!  Smiley
From your consensus I think I'll definitely try a pair in wool. Perhaps not first (or not 100% wool first) but what's the worst that could happen? I end up with some cool wool I could reuse if I don't like them. Or the more likely outcome is they'd end up on the similar sized feet of my cold-natured handknit snatchin' momma. Lol. It's not like I've been able to keep anything I've finished yet anyway!
I guess I've just feared that wool would be too warm and maybe a tad rough on my sensitive feet.

I was considering the shorter needles because when using DPNs to finish hats I have had a hell of I time with the extra length gettin' all up in my way. Maybe I should go with a 6 or so to start though.
I'm definitely going wood for now because I have a set of plastic DPNs I'm not fond of (don't like plastiv in general, really) and a set of aluminum that nearly made me want to impale myself on them when one slipped out just as I was finishing up my hat. I usually put protectors on all of the needle tips not in use but that's a huge pain in the rear and definitely hinders progress. Then again, so does dropping a while needle's worth of stitches! Tongue

I'll definitely check out the Yahoo Group. I'm sure I'll need all the assistance I can get once I get down to actually knitting the socks! I hate to admit that I was initially scared of attempting sock knitting. That seems so silly since it's not like it'll take my arm off if I mess up but I've been intimidated by the idea for sure. But I'm bored with hats and can't afford to buy enough yarn for a sweater yet so socks seem like a good solution even though I know I'll likely be a severe sufferer of the second sock syndrome. Plus I haven't made anything that would be considered a garment"rather than an accessory so I think this is a good place to start. I actually kinda hope it's as addictive as people claim.

I think I want to try fingering weight beacause I don't mind if it takes longer to knit up (I love doing plain stockinette in the round because I dont' have to look at it so I can pay attention to other things), I really prefer thin socks, and I have yet to use a fingering weight yarn for anything. I'm excited about trying the tiny needles. Smiley

I do have an average foot. Slightly chunky calf but I'm a shorter sock fan anyway.
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2006 07:43:31 AM »

I made my first pair of "real" socks in opal rainforest chameleon (it matched my blue and lime green chucks perfectly!)  with the shorty brittany needles. They are an absolute dream to wear, I'd take a pic of them for you, but They need to be washed, yet again. They are very breathable and I wear them in the hot muggy va summer with comfort.  Opal seems scratchy on the ball, but once you put your feet in them you don't want to take them out.  As for the shorter needles, yes you do have to be more careful about not losing stitches, but once you get a groove with them it happens less and less. It's nice to not have extra needles ends flopping in the way.

Good luck with your socks!
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2006 07:51:21 AM »

I love shorter needles - and I made mine from the smallest diameter dowels I could find (1/8? i think) some sandpaper and some paste wax (wax paper works too)

much cheaper than buying nice wood ones - and you can try out different lengths economically

I think mine are 4" and while I can use them without, I tend to keep point protecters on the ends of the needles - it keeps things from slipping while my knitting is in my bag - as it often is . . .

That said, my mom thinks I'm nuts - and thinks that longer needles without point protectors are the way to go - she thinks that everything all close together with the pp's would get in the way.

Your comment about hats though - makes me think you might be in my camp.

Knitpicks has some nice sock yarns.  They have merino and some cotton blends and some wool blends (patterned and plain) If you want soft - merino yarn is the way to go. [hint however: don't wear 100%merino socks on a plane from the US to Europe unless you don't mind some felting - the socks are still great, just a bit smaller . .. .] We dyed some of the undyed merino sock yarn with koolaid and I knit my roomie a pair of socks - they're really funky but nice and soft.
However, knitpicks site seems to be down Sad  [that was the reason I logged on here right now - i wanted to see if anyone else had the same problem]

I just made a pair of lane cervinia forever jacquard socks - and I like them too.

Right now, I'm making baby stuff (hats and socks) out of Henry's Attic Silk and Ivory [http://www.discountyarnsale.com/pd_henrys_attic_silk.cfm] [http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/2298399-AA.shtml] but I can't report on long term use or anything - but ooooooooo soft!!!!!!! I figure it's ok for newborns - since there's not much wear and tear on socks at that age.

Oh, and noone kick me for this please . . . Lion Brand Magic Stripes may not be the quality of Lorna's Laces, but I think it's more economical - and after 1 washing - is soft and comfy . . .

Good luck - and btw - once you start making socks - you won't stop . . .
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