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In this post, we share our guide to sock yarn.
Looking for something specific? See our table of contents below.
In a hurry? Check out our Key Takeaways and Top Recommendations at the bottom of this post.
Something we forgot? Leave a question or comment at the end.
What Is The Best Yarn For Knitting Socks?
Knitting Socks is a very popular knitting project choice.
To be honest, sock knitting can become addictive 🙂
There are just so many gorgeous sock patterns, knitting stitches for socks and beautifully dyed yarn to knit up into socks.
In this post we explore what is the:
- Best yarn for knitting socks
- What is Sock Yarn?
- What to Consider in The Best Sock Yarn
- Some of the Most Popular Sock Yarns that Knitters Swear By
Updates - This post was last updated on the 30 September 2018.
What is Sock Yarn?
Sock yarn refers to a yarn that is usually super fine and labeled Sock Yarn.
The American Yarn Council places it in the Super Fine category with the symbol number 1.
So Sock Yarn refers to both a particular type of yarn and a category. It is usually knitted on very small in diameter needles such as 2.25mm or US needle size 1-3.
This type of yarn varies in thickness or yarn weight such as super bulky or worsted weight. For these types of thicknesses, you’d be looking at bed socks or outdoor socks to go hiking in.
It is often a blend of fibers that make the finished fabric more durable. Sock yarn is not only for socks; it is often used in knitted blankets and shawls.
Arne and Carlos using Self Striping Yarn To Knit The World's Easiest Socks!
What To Consider In The Best Sock Yarn:
Socks Should Hug The Leg
- Most people prefer a tight, non-floppy sock - socks should hug the leg. This means you need a yarn that is more tightly plied and less yielding.
Socks Need Washing
- As socks are worn every day during the cooler weather, they need to stand up to a high degree of wear and washing. Yarns that pill, felt, or get visibly discolored with regular washing are those you’d want to stay away from. A yarn that is able to be machine washed is an advantage for those of you who need to save time. If you are up for some handwashing, then you can choose many other types of yarn.
Thin or Thick?
- If you like the feel of thin socks choose - fingering weight only (400m/100g).
- Think about what type of socks you like to knit or might like to knit. Will the socks be thick, thin, for the office, or wild and fun?
- Thicker wool will make bulkier socks, so keep in mind the amount of space in your shoes!
Who Is Your Sock Audience?
- Who is your sock audience? Will the socks be for friends, partners, teenagers, little ones? It is easier to start out with someone in mind, think about their favorite colors. Would they like all one color or self-striping yarn. Would they prefer plain or fancy stitch patterns? These are the questions to think about to make sure your lovingly handmade socks are worn 🙂
What Knitting Equipment You Have
- Your knitting equipment - needle gauge, DPN (Double Pointed Needles), circular knitting needles. Knitters recommend 6 inch double pointed needles, using 2 circular needles, the magic loop using one long circular knitting needle to knit 2 socks at a time or 9-inch circular knitting needles to knit socks.
Tension Of Knitting
- Consider what type of tension you have, tight or loose.
How The Yarn Feels
- How a yarn feels one way to the hand often feels utterly different against the calf and foot. Some people will experience a heightened sensitivity to scratchy wool. Others find they have a greater tolerance for rough yarns in socks that they’d never bear as scarves or sweaters.
- Softness will be a consideration for some. Be aware that the softer yarns don't stand up to abrasion well. They are more likely to pill and get holes quicker.
Do You Want Your Stitch To Shine?
- Are you a fan of intricate stitch patterns? If so you need to think about the color of your yarn. Plain or ‘kettle dyed’ yarn, the best solid color sock yarn, allows intricate stitch patterns in socks to shine.
- Dark colors mask textures and cables so choose lighter colors if you want the pattern to stand out.
Self Striping Yarn For Color
- Self-striping yarn is fabulous for more colorful, wild sock patterns. Remember the heel you choose in your sock will have an impact on the stripes.
Think Of Your Budget
- Think of the amount of money you want to spend. If you can afford more expensive yarn, you’ll be wanting to get something that lasts. Only you can determine what the best affordable yarn is, depending on how much you are willing to spend.
- Avid sock knitters do not recommend yarns that contain any silk, bamboo, angora, cashmere or alpaca; even in blends. The best silk sock yarn is more for shawls or delicate knitted items.
- Cotton-blend yarns are also more fragile than pure wool ones. These fibers do not stand up to abrasion well.
- If you live in a warm climate, you’ll probably want to stick with cotton or cotton-blend yarns. These are the best summer sock yarn.
- Pure synthetics will not provide as much long-lasting warmth. This type of yarn holds moisture directly against your feet, making them feel cold and clammy with wear. There is no best acrylic sock yarn because this type of thread makes your feet sweat.
- If you're new to knitting socks, you'll probably want to start with yarns labeled sock yarns. These tend to be more durable and easier to wash than similar weight yarns that aren't made for socks.
- For the best non-wool sock yarn consider blends of cotton/nylon and bamboo/cotton/nylon. This will be the best value yarn if you are allergic to wool.
What Is The Best Sock Yarn For Knitting Socks?
Experts on yarn like the author; Clara Parkes, says the best yarns for socks are elastic. This is because socks need to stretch around a foot but then cling to the foot while wearing and hug the calf. She discusses sock yarn in her excellent and informative book; The Knitter's Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover's Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime,
Why Wool and Nylon?
Wool has the best bounce and fiber memory, while cotton, angora, and alpaca have less elasticity. If you’re fond of any less elastic fibers, your best bet is to pick a blend of wool and nylon. This has the best stretch yet warm sock yarn.
Wool is the best fiber for spinning sock yarn. On more about spinning sock yarn, people often ask ‘what is the best type spin and ply for sock yarn?’ If this interests you, read more here
In general, knitters have found the best, longest-lasting sock yarns are wool and contain at least 20% nylon.
This is said to be the best sock yarn ever and is the most popular sock yarn.
The essential ingredient for durability is nylon, acrylic, or some form of synthetic material. This is the best sock yarn for stretchy and longevity.
Yarn For Socks Needs To Be Able To Handle Rubbing
Usually used for socks needs to be resistant to abrasion. There is a lot of pressure on fibers used in knitted socks because they rub on your foot, your shoe or the ground as they are worn. So choosing a super soft yarn is not a good idea.
Socks Need To Absorb Or Wick Away Moisture
As feet sweat, socks need to either absorb or wick away that moisture to feel (and smell) good. Nothing beats wool. It can absorb up to one-third of its weight in moisture before it begins to feel moist.
Unless Your Feet Always Smell Like Roses, Socks Need To Be Washed
Socks will need to be washed. Consider superwash yarns. These yarns when knitted up can be tossed in the washing machine. The best washable wool sock yarn is labeled ‘superwash.’ However for sock yarns that are not superwash, washing by hand is not a difficult task.
Sock Yarn Weight
The most common best sock yarns are fingering, sport, and DK weight ranging in gauge from 6 to 8 stitches per inch. Normally the finer the gauge, the more fluid and form-fitting the sock. It’s entirely possible to knit socks in worsted weight yarn at gauges up to 4 stitches per inch.
Essential Knitting Supplies
Looking for some great knitting supplies? The right Knitting needles, Beautiful Yarn, Yarn Swifts and Yarn Winders can make your knitting experience so much easier.
What Are Popular Yarn Blends for Knitting Socks?
Mohair makes a wonderfully durable fiber when blended with merino and nylon.
Wool/Angora - If you suffer from consistently cold feet, nothing beats the heating power of angora. Even a small amount of angora in an otherwise wool sock boosts its heating capacity significantly.
What Is The Best Self Striping Sock Yarn?
Self-striping sock yarn creates fabulous fun and sometimes wild stripes when knitting socks. Sock knitting experts suggest the best self-striping sock yarn are those that have long color changes. When shopping for the best self-striping yarn, keep this in mind.
Looking For Some Craft Inspiration?
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Best Sock Yarn Review
Reena at Knit Better Socks is a guru when it comes to sock yarn reviews. Reena has been sharing her sock knitting experiences on the blogosphere for many years. Her writing provides a wealth of knowledge and her expertise is second to none!
Key Takeaways and Top Recommendations
So there you go, all you need to know about best sock yarn for knitting socks.
We know you will find a gorgeous yarn to suit your needs.
Enjoy your sock knitting 🙂
Something we forgot? Leave a question or comment at the end.