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

Knitting Socks is a popular knitting project choice. Sock knitting becomes addictive! Here’s my guide to sock yarn. There are many yarn types, but some good yarn for knitting suits socks more than others.

What is the best yarn for knitting socks? Felici Yarn by Knit Picks with Rainbow options interchangeable knitting needle

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What Is The Best Yarn For Knitting Socks?

Here is the best yarn for knitting socks.

Many gorgeous sock patterns, stitches for socks, and dyed yarn to knit up into socks.

Explore color, different stitch techniques, and have great satisfaction!

I reviewed and updated this post on Aug 13, 2022.

Table Of Contents

Yarn Knitters Recommend

Most big brand yarn companies offer it. Knitters recommend.

Reena at Knit Better Socks is an expert yarn reviewer. Reena has shared her sock knit experiences for many years.

Where can you see the best places to buy yarn? Find out in my guide.

What To Consider In The Best

Socks Should Hug The Leg

Most people prefer a tight, non-floppy sock. They should hug the leg. No joy in having to pull up your socks!

You need plied and less yielding yarn, though you still need stretchy yarn for socks.

A blend of wool and nylon gives elasticity. Try KnitPicks Stroll yarn. It’s lovely and soft and an affordable price.

It’s amazing how elastic wool is, but reinforced with nylon adds strength.

Socks are given a workout being worn in shoes. The friction created means sock fabrics need to be sturdy.

Socks Need Washing

Socks are worn every day during cooler weather.

They stand wear and washing. Avoid yarns that visibly discolor with regular washing.

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

Want something to wind your new yarn for you? Check out an automatic yarn winder.

Thin Or Thick?

If you like thin socks, choose fingering weight sock yarn (400m/100g). (396 yds/3.5oz)

The first step is to think about what type of socks you want to knit or might like to knit.

  • Thick?
  • Thin?
  • For the office?
  • Wild and fun?

Thicker wool like DK weight or sport weight yarn makes 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 tanisfiberarts.com for gorgeous hand-dyed yarns.

Who Is Your Sock Audience?

It’s easier to start with someone in mind.

  • Favorite colors?
  • One color or self-striping yarn?
  • Plain or fancy stitch patterns?
  • What thickness?
  • Long or short?

Think about this to ensure your handmade socks are worn. They’ll love your knitted gift!

What Knitting Equipment You Have

Use

  • DPN (Double-Pointed Needles)
  • Circular knitting needles

Knitters recommend these needle options:

The best yarn bowls keep your lovely fibers free from rolling all over the floor.

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 your hands often feels different against the calf and foot.

Some people have heightened sensitivity to scratchy wools.

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

Softness is 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
Follow Louise Crowthers on Instagram @boo_biloo. Visit her store for great knitting patterns for sock inspiration.

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

My Bed socks knitted with self striping yarn - Felici by Knit Picks - orange, blue and purple stripes

Self-striping yarn is fabulous for colorful, wild sock patterns.

Remember, the heel you choose in your sock impacts the stripes.

If you get this, use the leftovers for a best yarn for scarf that’s super colorful!

Knitted socks using Regia yarn that look like they use colorwork techniques. it is just how the yarn is dyed to make it look like patterns. Colors are turquoise, yellow, pink, white, green, orange and grey
A clever way yarn is machine dyed to make it look like stranded colorwork

Think Of Your Budget

If you can afford expensive yarn, you want something that lasts. Only you can determine the best affordable yarn.

Yarn Blends

Avid sock knitters don’t recommend yarns containing silk, bamboo, angora, cashmere, or alpaca, even in blends.

Fairy Maiden socks on my feet that I knitted in a lilac color - merino/silk yarn blend
My fairy maiden socks are made from left over merino wool/silk blend. They are super soft but I know they won’t stand up to abrasion long term

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.

Want to discover the best soft baby blanket yarn? Let me show you the contenders.

Pure synthetics won’t provide much long-lasting warmth.

This type of yarn holds moisture against your feet, making them cold and clammy with wear.

There’s 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. They are more likely to have nylon to reinforce the yarn.

For the best non-wool sock yarn, consider blends of cotton/nylon and bamboo/cotton/nylon.

This is the best value yarn if you are allergic to wool.

Want neat sock yarn cakes? A ball winder yarn tool is essential.

Yarn For Socks Needs To Handle Rubbing

Yarn used for socks needs to be abrasion-resistant.

There’s a lot of pressure on fibers in knitted socks because they rub your foot, shoe, or ground.

If you are making socks to wear when you sleep expect pilling. The movement of your feet rubbing against the sheets over time will cause the pilling.

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.

Some knitters prefer cotton sock yarns, but these don’t absorb moisture.

Socks Need To Be Washed

Consider superwash yarns, (like superwash merino wool.) Toss these in the washing machine in cold water.

The best washable wool sock yarn is labeled ‘superwash.’

However, for non superwash wool, washing by hand isn’t difficult.

Wool blend yarns may need to be washed by hand.

I always hand wash the socks that are not superwash wool. It doesn’t take long and it keeps the socks looking great.

Sock Yarn Weight

Fingering weight yarn, sport, and DK weight ranging in gauge from 6 to 8 stitches per inch.

The finer the gauge, the more form-fitting the sock.

Knit socks in worsted-weight yarn at gauges up to 4 stitches per inch.

What is Sock Yarn?

It’s a super fine yarn. The American Craft Yarn Council places it in the Super Fine category with the symbol number 1.

It’s knitted on small needles like 2.25mm or US needle size 1-3.

In the US it’s referred to as fingering and 4 ply in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

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

This type of yarn varies in thickness or yarn weight, like 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. It isn’t only for socks. The fiber content varies.

Wool yarn is popular for warm and cozy socks. Use it in knitted blankets and shawls.

Arne & Carlos Use Self Striping Yarn To Knit The World’s Easiest Socks!

YouTube video

You’ll learn Arne’s techniques for knitting a toe-up sock.

The yarn product they use is Regia Pairfect Design Line 4-Ply by Arne & Carlos.

This self-striping yarn creates different effects.

It’s a blend of 75% superwash wool and 25% polyamide (for reinforcement). Giving it stretch and durability and it’s machine washable.

Q&A

Mohair is a wonderful durable fiber when blended with merino and nylon.

Have cold feet? Nothing beats angora’s heating power.

Even a small amount of angora in a wool sock boosts its heating capacity.

What Is The Best Self Striping Sock Yarn?

Self-striping yarn creates fabulous wild stripes when knitting socks.

Sock knitting experts suggest the best self-striping has long color changes. Felici Yarn is a great option, and the cost is affordable.

Pair of socks I made with Knit Picks Felici Yarn in stripes of purple, orange, and blue and Knit Picks Interchangeable Rainbow Options knitting needles

What Is The Best Worsted Weight Sock Yarn?

Worsted weight refers to yarn thickness.

Worsted weight sock yarn is thicker than ordinary yarn. Just the thing for making thicker, bulkier socks.

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

What Is The Best Sock Yarn For Knitting Socks?

Experts on yarn like the author Clara Parkes say the best yarns for socks are elastic.

Socks need to stretch around a foot, clinging to the foot while wearing, and hug the calf.

Yarns of a wool and nylon blend are great.

Read her excellent 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

The Knitter's Book of Socks Check Price On Amazon

Why Wool and Nylon?

Wool has the best bounce and fiber memory. Cotton, angora, and alpaca have less elasticity.

Fond of less elastic fibers? Your best bet is a blend of wool and nylon. This has the best stretch yet warm.

Wool is the best fiber for spinning sock yarn.

The best, long-lasting yarns are wool and contain at least 20% nylon.

This is the best sock yarn ever and the most popular.

The essential ingredient for durability is nylon, acrylic, or some form of synthetic material.

The best for stretchy and longevity.

That’s the best sock yarn for knitting socks. I know you’ll find a gorgeous, quality yarn to suit your needs.

I’d love to hear about your preference. Please leave a note in the comments section below.

Enjoy your knitting 🙂

Next > Black Friday Yarn Sale 2022

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Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

Jodie Morgan Profile Pic

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

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

  1. 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. I asked some experts on Ravelry and their responses will hopefully help. 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
  2. Hello I would like to start making socks. I am very allergic to wool. What is a good blend or type of yarn that would work for me? I have no idea which yarn to start with. Everything has wool in it.

    Thanks 🙂
    Annie

    Reply
  3. I’m making a triceratops, which is a stuffed animal so I don’t want it to stretch and they recommended using yarn #1. Where can I buy it?

    Reply
    • Hi Lannie. This yarn is fingering 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. To buy yarn online, I recommend Knit Picks. You can find fingering or sock yarn online if the label says #1. This yarn might make a good stuffed animal. It’s Pima cotton and acrylic. Have fun making your triceratops. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
  4. Hi! Love your website, so I thought maybe you could help me. I’ve made a gazillion socks from one particular pattern. It’s called bed socks and I use worsted weight. I wear them as slippers but they tend to wear out fairly quickly. I’m also diabetic so I need something that won’t bind around the ankles. Any ideas for a fingering yarn (using a regular sock pattern I have) that would make it loose enough without binding? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Judi. I’ve knitted socks in superwash merino/nylon blends from Indie Yarn dyers. I’ve also knitted socks in 100% wool like Schoppel Wolle Zauberball. If price is not an issue, do you have a local yarn dyer who offers merino/nylon blends? It would be wonderful to support them and I’m sure you’d find the colorways beautiful. Or if you have a local yarn store, pop in and see their range of sock yarns. Feel them in your hands, as I know when I knitted with the Zauberball wool it wasn’t as soft as the superwash merino/nylon blend from the indie dyers. Let me know how you get on and what you ended up choosing. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Cheers Jodie

      Reply

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