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.
Second 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.
Third pair: Using alpaca sock yarn from Daphne’s fleece (also from Las Flores del Altiplano), I knit Anemone. (Pic of Daphne on the left)
Fourth 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 earlier 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:
- Anzula’s Cloud (80% sw merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon, 100g=525m);
- Artesano’s Definition Sock Yarn (75% wool, 25% polyamide, 100g=400m);
- Zealana’s Kiwi (40% NZ merino, 30% organic cotton, 30% possum, 40g=124m/135y);
- 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! 🙂
So 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’d 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?!