Returned to Sock Knitting

For several years I lived in a part of California where most of the year we baked in dry heat.  Winters were short, and I rarely needed wool socks so stopped knitting socks.  After moving back to the Pacific Northwest I needed wool socks.  Shamefully, Thor and I each bought several pairs of Smartwool© socks.  Despite their not inexpensive price, we were dismayed to see that the heels and toes wore out quickly.

So, both because of need and shamed by the sock knitting prowess of  Wei S. Leong of Kiwiyarns, I bought some wonderful sock yarns at last summer’s Black Sheep Gathering.  I picked up my sock needles and have been knitting in between various other projects.

First pair:  Using John Q Earth Wear (85% possum/merino blend, 15% nylon, 100g, 361m – thank you WSL!), I pulled out my knitting notebook, measured my feet and jotted down the measurements.  After making the necessary calculations for a basic sock, I provisionally cast on and knit the first sock.  I used a provisional cast on as I have long feet and calves:  I wanted to ensure I had sufficient yarn.  After weighing the first sock, I knew I had enough yarn to lengthen the leg, add a fun ruffle, and knit the second sock.

LaceySecond pair:  Using sock yarn (50% alpaca, 40% sw merino, 10% nylon, 3.9oz=400y) I bought from Marit of Las Flores del Altiplano at the Black Sheep Gathering, I knit a pair of Seadragonus socks from Lacey’s (right) fleece.

DaphneThird pair:  Using alpaca sock yarn from Daphne’s fleece (also from Las Flores del Altiplano), I knit Anemone.  (Pic of Daphne on the left)

SprigFourth pair:  When I saw Sprig, I instantly knew what yarn I wanted to use:  a skein of Fibre Alive’s beautiful four-ply, hand-dyed Merino Mania (110g, 350m/385y, sadly now discontinued), that I received eSprig_yarnarlier as a gift.  (Thank you, WSL!)  I loved the yarn the minute I felt it.  Though I’m at the (tail end) of a knitting hiatus, at least Sprig is on my needles!  Sadly, I don’t think the beautiful colors show off the lovely pattern well.  (Oh well, I’ll still have a great pair of socks.)

Future pairs:  In my stash to knit enough socks to have a week plus one day’s worth I have:

  1. Anzula’s Cloud (80% sw merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon, 100g=525m);
  2. Artesano’s Definition Sock Yarn (75% wool, 25% polyamide, 100g=400m);
  3. Zealana’s Kiwi (40% NZ merino, 30% organic cotton, 30% possum, 40g=124m/135y);
  4. Zealana’s Cozi (58% merino, 22% nylon, 15% brushtail possum down, 5% baby alpaca, 50g=170m/186y).

No, I haven’t forgotten about Thor’s need for good wool socks.  Because he is so sensitive to wools, I thought the best thing would be for me to knit a bunch of socks for me first.  Thor can try on my socks and see if he can handle any of the wools.

Hey, it may seem selfish, but I’m knitting all mine first FOR HIM! 🙂

PersephoneZinniaSo far it seems Thor can wear my socks made from yarns from John Q Earth Wear and Las Flores del Altiplano.  I have two more skeins of sock yarn from Persephone (left) and Zinnia (right) – both from Las Flores del Altiplano – with Thor’s name on them – that is, when I finish my 8 pairs!

I thought I’Possumd include a picture of the source of New Zealand’s possum yarn, the Brushtail Possum.  Definitely not as cute as the alpacas.  (Because this possum has no natural predators in New Zealand, it causes great harm and destruction on NZ’s environment and ecosystem.  Click here to read more.)

Have you tried knitting socks from possum or alpaca yet?!

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Knitting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Returned to Sock Knitting

  1. I have also washed them successful in the machine – zipped in a lingerie bag – in cold water on the gentle cycle and dried flat.

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    Liked by 1 person

  2. Belinda O says:

    I’m still getting used to the idea of sock yarn that requires hand washing, although obviously alpaca would, and you’d be choosing that yarn for its special qualities. I’d remember to hand wash them!

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  3. The alpaca blended with merino and nylon works great. I have knit several pairs from the yarn (am wearing a pair right now!) and hand washed each several times. Great for cold days/nights.

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  4. Belinda O says:

    That was my question — I love alpaca, but I can’t imagine it’s practical for socks. Merino wool, however, with nylon, would work.

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  5. The wonderful sock yarn I’ve been using is alpaca blended with merino wool (adds durability and elasticity) and nylon (increases durability).

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    Liked by 1 person

  6. salpal1 says:

    we have a local alpaca farm and I love their yarns for hats and scarves. I have a couple of sweaters as well – but not sure it was a good choice, as it tends to grow and pill. Has made me leery of making socks with it. But maybe I will check it out and see if they make a different yarn that would be better fro socs…

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  7. Yes indeed! Coincidentally I am wearing a cabled slouch hat I knit from possum in a deep wine. Warm!!! >

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kiwiyarns says:

    Thank you for your reply Marit! I appreciate it! It is lovely yarn.

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  9. I’m off socks for the summer but I have knitted a possum beanie, Tasmanian possum. Was gorgeous, so soft and warm.

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  10. In addition to socks, I knit a hat, a winter head band and a pair of fingerless mittens from the possum … Amazingly warm with an impressive halo!

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    Liked by 1 person

  11. And my feet have been enjoying wearing socks knit from yarn spun from their fleeces!

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  12. I love the PNW though my daughter is constantly trying to get us to move back to Northern California! The alpaca socks I knit were not 100% alpaca … Glorious to wear!

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  13. I believe it was spun by a local, commercial spinnery. I am glad you’re enjoying it. I’ve been wearing socks made from the yarn – lovely and warm. Has a definitely halo.

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    Liked by 1 person

  14. writeknit says:

    I was going to knit socks using the possum yarn, but once I started I realized it was too soft/fragile to use for socks. So I made a wonderfully soft shawl with it instead. Which I love – it is warm and cozy 🙂

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  15. Thank you, Ms. Sweaty Knitter 🙂 for your kind words about Daphne, Persephone and Zinnia!

    They and we love you!

    XOXO-
    Marit

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  16. Hello, kiwiyarns!

    So happy you like Zinnia’s yarn. It’s mill spun! We use a wonderful family owned mill, Spring Harvest, out of Sunnyside, WA. They do a great job for us.

    Would love to see what your create from Ms. Zinnia!

    Best,
    Marit
    Las Flores del Altiplano Alpacas.

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  17. Marilyn F. - Russian River, CA says:

    Looks like you have been doing a lot of sock knitting!!! Thanks for sharing the yarns you’re using and sources. Its a real inspiration. I have some 100% Alpaca I picked up in Idaho last year that might make wonderful socks. I too will most likely be moving back to the Northwest from northern CA in a couple years. Heading to Portland for Christmas with family next week. Happy holidays!

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  18. kiwiyarns says:

    Yay for socks! 😀 I started knitting the beautiful skein of Zinnia’s fleece sock yarn you sent me this week. It is very lovely and squishy. Do you know if it is handspun? I’m imagining it must be if it can be sourced back to the alpaca it came from?

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