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What Is The Best Yarn For Knitting Socks? The Ultimate Sock Yarn Guide Updated For 2020

Knitting Socks is a very popular knitting project choice. Sock knitting can become very addictive! At time of writing, I’m knitting socks 🙂

In this post, I share my guide to sock yarn.

What is the best yarn for knitting socks

What Is The Best Yarn For Knitting Socks?

So many gorgeous sock patterns, stitches for socks and beautifully dyed yarn to knit up into socks.

Knitting socks gives you an opportunity to explore color, different stitch techniques and great satisfaction!

In this post I 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

Table of Contents

What is Sock Yarn?

Sock yarn refers to a yarn, usually super fine and labeled Sock Yarn.

The American Yarn Council places it in the Super Fine category with the symbol number 1.

Sock Yarn refers to both a particular type of yarn and a category. It’s usually knitted on small needles such as 2.25mm or US needle size 1-3.

Tanis Fiber Arts Hand dyed yarns
Superb hand-dyed yarns by Tanis Fibre Arts perfect for socks.

This type of yarn varies in thickness or yarn weight such as super bulky or worsted weight. These thicknesses are best suited to bed socks or outdoor socks to go hiking in.

It’s often a blend of fibers, making the finished fabric more durable. Sock yarn isn’t only for socks. It’s often used in knitted blankets and shawls.

Arne and Carlos using Self Striping Yarn To Knit The World’s Easiest Socks!

Watching this video you will learn how Arne’s techniques for knitting a toe up sock. The yarn they use is Regia Pairfect Design Line 4-Ply by Arne & Carlos Sock Yarn. A self striping yarn, you can see the how the colors create different effects.

What To Consider In The Best Sock Yarn:

Socks Should Hug The Leg

Most people prefer a tight, non-floppy sock. They should hug the leg. No joy in constantly having to pull up your socks! Uou need tightly plied and less yielding yarn

Socks Need Washing

Socks are worn every day during cooler weather. They need to stand a high degree of wear and washing. Avoid yarns that pill, felt, or get visibly discolored with regular washing.

A machine-washable yarn saves time. If you don’t mind hand-washing, you can choose many other types of yarn.

Thin or Thick?

If you like 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 such as DK weight will make bulkier socks. Keep in mind the amount of space in your shoes!

Tanis Fiber Arts Lavanderia Socks
Follow @tanisfibrearts for more knitting sock inspiration and visit her website tanisfiberarts.com for gorgeous hand-dyed yarns.

Who Is Your Sock Audience?

Will the socks be for friends, partners, teenagers, little ones? It’s easier to start out with someone in mind. Think about their favorite colors.

Would they like one color or self-striping yarn? Would they prefer plain or fancy stitch patterns? What sort of thickness? Long or short? Think about this to make sure your lovingly handmade socks are worn 🙂 They are sure to love your knitted gift!

FELICI SOCK YARN IS BACK!!
SHOP THE COLORFUL GOODNESS AT KNIT PICKS

What Knitting Equipment You Have

Your knitting equipment – 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. It’s crucial when working with any sock pattern to check your gauge.

How The Yarn Feels

How a yarn feels on the hand often feels utterly different against the calf and foot. Some people have heightened sensitivity to scratchy wool.

Others have a greater tolerance for rough yarns in socks they’d never bear as scarves or sweaters.

Softness will be a consideration for some. Remember softer yarns don’t stand up to abrasion well. They’re more likely to pill and get holes quicker.

Socks on knitting needles in scallop pattern in teal blue yarn
For more sock knitting inspiration follow Louise Crowthers on Instagram @boo_biloo or visit her Esty store for great knitting patterns.

Do You Want Your Stitch To Shine?

Are you a fan of intricate stitch patterns? If so, 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. Choose lighter colors if you want the pattern to stand out.

Self Striping Yarn For Color

Self-striping yarn is fabulous for 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 expensive yarn, you’ll want something that lasts. Only you can determine the best affordable yarn, depending on how much you’re willing to spend.

Yarn Blends

Avid sock knitters don’t 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 don’t stand abrasion well.

If you live in a warm climate, you’ll want to stick with cotton or cotton-blend yarns. These are the best summer sock yarn.

Pure synthetics won’t provide 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 it makes your feet sweat.

If you’re new to knitting socks, start with yarns labeled sock yarns. These are more durable and easier to wash than similar weight yarns not made for socks.

For the best non-wool sock yarn consider blends of cotton/nylon and bamboo/cotton/nylon. The best value yarn if you are allergic to wool.

@GiddyHelen on Instagram. Sock Knitting with self striping yarn in purples and blues
@GiddyHelen Sock Knitting Follow @GiddyHelen for more sock pics

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. 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. Cotton, angora, and alpaca have less elasticity. If you’re fond of less elastic fibers, your best bet is a blend of wool and nylon. This has the best stretch yet warm sock yarn.

Wool is the best fiber for spinning sock yarn. ’

In general, knitters have found the best, long-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. The best sock yarn for stretchy and longevity.

Yarn For Socks Needs To Be Able To Handle Rubbing

Yarn used for socks needs to be abrasion resistant. A lot of pressure on fibers in knitted socks because they rub your foot, your shoe or the ground as they are worn. Choosing a super soft yarn is not a good idea.

Socks Need To Absorb Or Wick Away Moisture

Feet sweat, socks need to absorb or wick away moisture to feel (and smell) good. Nothing beats wool. It absorbs up to one-third of its weight in moisture before it feels moist.

Unless Your Feet Always Smell Like Roses, Socks Need To Be Washed

Consider superwash yarns. When knitted these can be tossed in the washing machine. The best washable wool sock yarn is labeled ‘superwash.’ However, for non-superwash sock yarns, washing by hand isn’t difficult.

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.

You can knit socks in worsted-weight yarn at gauges up to 4 stitches per inch.

Sock Yarn That Knitters Recommend

Most big brand yarn companies offer sock yarn. Knitters highly recommend Sock-EaseTM Yarn by Lion Brand Yarns, KnitPicks Stroll Handpainted Sock Yarn, Regia 4 Ply, Schoppel Zauberball and Lang Jawoll.

So Many Yarns To Choose From At Knit Picks

Mohair is a wonderful 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 a wool sock boosts its heating capacity significantly.

What Is The Best Self Striping Sock Yarn?

Self-striping sock yarn creates fabulous wild stripes when knitting socks. Sock knitting experts suggest the best self-striping sock yarn are those that have long color changes.

What Is The Best Worsted Weight Sock Yarn?

Worsted weight refers to yarn thickness. Worsted weight sock yarn is thicker than ordinary sock yarn. Great for making thicker, bulkier socks.

Knit Picks Chroma a wonderful worsted weight yarn – 70% wool / 30% nylon.

Best Sock Yarn Review

Reena at Knit Better Socks is a expert sock yarn reviewer expert. Reena has been sharing her sock knitting experiences on the blogosphere for many years.

Her writing is a wealth of knowledge and her expertise is second to none!

Key Takeaways and Top Recommendations

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.

Now It’s Your Turn…

I’d like to hear what you have to say.

What did you think about today’s guide?

Or maybe you have a question. Either way let me know by leaving a comment below right now or send me a message on twitter.

You can also contact me here

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m a real person :) ) Thanks for being here.

I created Knit Like Granny to help show 1,000,000 people the benefits of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

I love knitting and have met so many other fabulous knitters through this site. I enjoy learning and helping others discover the joys of working with yarn.

Please say hello!

17 thoughts on “What Is The Best Yarn For Knitting Socks? The Ultimate Sock Yarn Guide Updated For 2020”

    • Hi Jalene. Great to hear that you are wanting to learn to knit. Blankets and socks are certainly projects to aspire to. If you’ve never knitted before perhaps start with simple garments like a scarf for beginners, this will help build your confidence and give your practice. There are some great suggestions for Knitting Books for Beginners in our post https://knitlikegranny.com/knitting-books/ and books for learning how to knit socks and blankets. Hope you have lots of fun learning to knit and let us know how you get on. 🙂

      Reply
      • Hi Jalene
        Further to this, one of our wonderful featured Knitting Bloggers; Claudia from https://theknittingblogbymrpuffythedog.blogspot.com had this amazing guidance for your question about knitting socks…
        “I would suggest a pattern with ribbing which will help get a good fit even if your gauge isn’t perfect such as Glenna’s free ribbed pattern: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/a-nice-ribbed-sock. However trying to do ribbing and learn sock techniques might be biting off more than you can chew. If you want a solid basic sock pattern without fooling around with ribbing then Susan B. Anderson’s free basic sock pattern is also probably a good choice: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/how-i-make-my-socks. But all sock patterns have an assumption that you know a few sock techniques, such as turning the heel. Your best bet is to learn missing techniques is when you come to a part of the pattern that is confusing is to look on Youtube for a tutorial. If you the money and is completely new to socks you might like Crafty tutorial ($19) https://www.craftsy.com/knitting/classes/my-first-socks/35235. But there really is no need to pay to learn socks as there are lots of free tutorials. Hope this helps!!!
        Thanks very much Claudia 🙂 All the best Jalene.

        Reply
  1. I am new to knitting socks but love doing this. As I had a hard time reading the pattern I took lessons at a knit shop. Had so much fun and learned so much on my fourth pair and can’t wait to start next pair.

    Reply
  2. I am wondering if a blend of 40 cashmere, 40 Brushtail Possum down, 20 mulberry silk would be good for socks? My daughter wants very light weight socks. Recommended needle for this yarn is 1.

    Another option is Autermann Kid Silk. 75 mohair 25 silk. Very fine yarn. Would I need to add a yarn with nylon or some other addition because this is so fine and socks often need a strong fiber?

    Crazy but she loves silk in her socks. Any advice appreciated.
    Thank you very much.
    Evelyn

    Reply
    • Hi Evelyn. Thanks so much for your questions. Being no expert in sock knitting, I have asked some experts on Ravelry and their responses will hopefully be helpful. Cheers Jodie:)

      From Anita-
      There are plenty of lovely sock yarns (i.e. fingering or light fingering weight, with a tight twist that wears well) with 10, 20 or even more percent of silk. But, I wouldn’t suggest making “socks for wearing in shoes” with either of those you suggested – the one with possum down and cashmere being 80% will be too soft to wear well, and the mohair silk will wear well but has no stretch/recovery and will make baggy socks, because you’ll have to make them a tad larger so that they can be gotten on.
      If she wants “light” socks, consider a merino/silk blend, with or without mohair or cashmere, and use a lacey (holey) pattern for the socks. Also choose one of the sock yarns that’s on the thin side (450 or more yds per 100g), in the Ravelry database those would mostly be in the “light fingering” category if you want to do a search. Here’s one: Serenity Silk plus which is 500 yds/100g. However, when I search projects done with it, they are nearly all shawl-y and only a very few socks, which makes me wonder about its longevity.
      Another thought – when she wants “light” socks, does she mean thin, or cool? there are non-wool sock yarns, too.
      Recommended needle size on yarns for socks is often not what the ball band suggests (which may be for shawls or other drapey things) but several sizes smaller. I hope you’re ok with knitting on multi-zero size needles ‘cause that’s almost certainly what you’re gonna end up with 🙂

      From Michelle-
      You can consider doing most of the sock in a stronger yarn (or at least the toe/ball of the foot and heel), and use the softer yarn for the rest of the sock. Knees Up is an example of using a different yarn for part of the sock (though this specifically makes more legwarmer socks).
      I don’t think either of those yarns are going to work well for a sock otherwise, unfortunately. Both are too soft for the wear you need socks to go through.
      ETA: There’s also Zimmerman’s Moccasin Socks (November), which I haven’t knit but which have replaceable soles. You might be able to get away with a good sock yarn for the sole, and one of your softer yarns for the rest).

      Reply
  3. I want to knit socks for everyday use for my other half which will be worn in rough boots and need to be hard wearing what type of wool would be best ? The last pair I did only lasted few days and went into holes , wool felt soft as far as I remember ,

    Reply
    • Hi Caroline
      So frustrating when socks get worn out only after a few uses.
      Can I ask what sort of wool weight you used? and would your other half be happy in a pair of what would traditionally be known as hiking socks, as in very thick? If you happen to have the brand of yarn that would be helpful.

      Reply
    • Great to hear Maureen! I am currently knitting another pair of socks which I love to make. Please feel free to send me a pic of your favorite socks, so I can share them with my readers. Contact me here Cheers Jodie

      Reply
  4. Hello I would like to start making socks. I am very allergic to wool. What is a good blend or type of sock yarn that would work for me? I have no idea which yarn to start with. Everything has wool in it.

    Thanks 🙂
    Annie

    Reply
    • Hi Anatasia
      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve done some research and found a blend that is 72% Cotton, 18% Poliamide, 10% Polyester works well for socks. This sock yarn is made by Regia. Here’s a link for you to take a look at. https://knitlikegranny.com/recommends/regia-cotton-blend-sock-yarn/
      Just cotton yarns will stretch too much so the blend is a better option for knitted socks. Non wool socks may not last as long, but if you love knitting socks, it just means you get to knit more 🙂 Cheers Jodie

      Reply
  5. I am making a a triceratops, which is a stuffed animal so I don’t want it to stretch and they recommended using sock yarn #1 where can it be purchase at?

    Reply
    • Hi Lannie
      With the yarn they recommend it is either known as fingering or sock yarn with the number symbol #1 The number one is on the label and this is from the Craft Yarn Council’s standard weight system. I’d recommend Knit Picks to purchase yarns online or Amazon. If you search for the words fingering or sock yarn online, just check the label has the number #1 on it. Perhaps this might be a good yarn choice for a stuffed animal. It is a blend of Pima cotton and acrylic. https://knitlikegranny.com/recommends/knit-picks-comfy-yarn/ Have fun making your triceratops. Cheers Jodie 🙂

      Reply
  6. I love knitting socks!! I’m so happy to find your site. What’s your thoughts on heavy fingering 65% merino wool & 35% Tussah silk. I could also knit a strand of nylon or polymide with it. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Hi Sheila. A big welcome from me 🙂 How wonderful that you too love to knit socks. I think that blends sounds lovely and with the nylon you would think that would provide a bit of strength and greater wearability. I’ve not had a great deal of sock knitting experience. I am on my 4th pair now. I hope your socks using this blend turn out beautifully. Please feel free to share a pic with us. Cheers Jodie

      Reply

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