Some of My Favorite Sock-knitting Fingering Weight Yarn

hand knit socks

When I first began knitting again last year I was getting serious about using fingering weight yarn, sometimes also called “sock yarn”. I really didn’t know why some fingering weight yarn got that label.

Here’s the difference: Yarn labeled “sock” can also be used to knit other items, but to knit socks you want tougher yarn, usually with a small amount of nylon (or other durable material), so they won’t wear out as quickly. You may also want washable wool (often labeled “superwash”) so the socks can be thrown into the washing machine.

To knit shawls and / or socks you will need to use around 400 yards of yarn, on average.

Skeins of yarn
Yarn stash

To be honest with the reader, I am very new to knitting socks. I have not tried any of this yarn mentioned to knit a pair. After searching online, and making notes for this page, I do have some favorite brands to try soon! My favorite places to buy yarn online are Simply Socks, Wool and Company, Miss Babs, WEBS and Jimmy Beans Wool. Some links on this page take you to these stores. Some of these shops have yarn from England, Ireland, Scotland and other places. It’s exciting to knit with fibers grown on animals living across the ocean!

Finding Beautiful Sock Yarn That Will Hold Up to Wear

Train Case by Mrs. Crosby

Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play, “Train Case” fingering yarn for socks is made of superwash merino wool, Outlast viscose and nylon. The description at Wool & Co. says this, “Outlast viscose, a fiber created by NASA to absorb, store and release heat for optimal comfort.”

In general socks will use 300-400 yards of yarn. It depends on the yarn weight, needle size, and sock length and pattern. Check the yarn calculator at Jimmy Bean’s Wool for a better estimate. I mention this because in some cases you will need more than one skein of the yarns mentioned below.

Madeline Tosh (approx. $26.50 / 420 yds)

Madeline Tosh has “Sock” yarn and Tosh Twist Light. The latter is made up of 75% wool and 25% nylon and has more yardage at 420 compared to Tosh Sock which has 395 yards. The Mad Tosh Sock has no nylon, just 100% Superwash merino wool. I’m thinking I would go with the Tosh Twist Light for a pair of socks. Prices seem to be about the same for both.

Malabrigo Yarn (approx. $20.00 / 420-440 yds)

Some of the first fingering yarn I bought was Malabrigo, but as I look around to write this article, I only see their “sock” yarn as being made up of 100% Superwash Merino. Without any nylon added, I wonder how long it would last. I’m picturing holes in the heels here.

And don’t be confused by the word “superwash”. It means the wool is washable – even in the washing machine – but it may need a gentle cycle, and will probably still need to lay flat to dry. Hand washing is always best to keep garments looking good.

yarn stash
My yarn stash

Manos del Uruguay (approx. $25.50 / 445 yds)

Manos del Uruguay has beautiful yarn and they do have one for socks called Manos Alegria. It contains 75% superwash merino wool and 25% nylon. This yarn is so pretty and it comes in semi-solids, which have slight variations in color, or blocks of color which will create stripes when knitting socks.

Hedgehog Fibres (approx. $28.00 – $30.00 / 437 yds.)

I never knew much about Hedgehog Fibres (located in Ireland) and I have never purchased their yarn. But I want to very soon! The online stores mentioned below carry this yarn. I’m sure there are others as well. HHF sock yarn is 90% superwash merino wool, and 10% nylon.

Simply Socks is an awesome yarn website and they do sell Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn in loads of colors, including whites / off-whites that have just a touch of color. Those are hard to find.

Wool and Company also sells Hedgehog Fibres Sock, and for a bit less, and they ship in the US for free, no matter the size of the order. AND they will wind skeins for free! I love this place. The Malabrigo Rios yarn for my Umpqua Sweater came from Wool and Company. In fact I just purchased some new yarn for sock knitting. How could I resist? I will still have to get my “white speckled” from Simply Socks.

HF Skinny Singles (fingering in Merino wool- no nylon in this) at Jimmy Beans Wool are loaded with awesome colors. (400 yards each) These colors would be great for shawls.

Self-striping and Fair Isle Yarn to Try

I have not tried any of this self-striping yarn, but the idea of knitting along and seeing stripes emerge sounds interesting. There are lots more than this, but I thought I’d give you a place to begin. You can always use two (or more) skeins of different colors and make your own stripes! Some companies have dyed their yarn to resemble “fair isle” knitting without having to change yarn colors. This can look very pretty knit up as socks.

Lorna’s Laces – Shepherd Sock

Berroco Sox (find at Webs)

KnitPicks Felici Sock Yarn (cheap, self-striping)

Schachenmayr Regia Nautical Color 4-ply

Regia (Fair Isle stripes) Machine wash and dry!

 

striped socks
Black and red striped socks (photo credit: Pixabay)

Search Online Yarn Stores For Free Shipping and Discounts

It can pay to search for deals when ordering yarn online. I would love to drive to a local yarn shop and give them my business but I don’t have one nearby. On the other hand, I can spend hours browsing yarns on my computer. I can compare prices and even order colors that are out of stock everywhere else (Wool and Company does that by offering “custom orders”).

Some online stores offer free shipping (Wool and Company) and others want you to spend a certain amount to get the free shipping. Some places give discounts for ordering so many skeins (Webs). Some places will wind yarn orders for free (Wool and Company!) and some will do it for a small fee (Miss Babs – this place also gives out little gifts with orders, like stitch markers and small samples of yarn.) Who doesn’t like free stuff?

I’ve never been unhappy with any order placed online. Selling yarn is a competitive business, and it’s important to stand out in some way.

Miss Babs mini skeins of yarn
Hot Shot Toes Mini skeins from Miss Babs

Don’t Forget Etsy & Small Yarn Businesses (Local if you have them)

I’m all for helping out entrepreneurs and that includes small yarn shops. Many people like to try their hand at yarn spinning and dying or whatever. Some have farms where they raise their own sheep, alpacas, or whatever and then use their wool to sell. However they do it, I like to give them a try.

Recently I bought some of Emma’s Yarn from a Florida Yarn Shop called Four Purls. They have a yarn truck which they take to places that don’t have local yarn shops and it’s where I bought my yarn. The yarn is beautiful and silky. I am in the middle of making the Dewdrops Shawl with it.

I’ve purchased yarn from shops on Etsy as well and I have never been disappointed when buying from small shops. Now I just need to knit something using all that yarn!

yarn café creations skein of blue
Etsy store: Yarn Cafe Creations

Cheap Sock Yarn and Yarn Without Wool

Sock yarn can also be cheap, like Cascade Heritage Sock, or Borroco Comfort Sock (around $8.00 for 447 yards) and Self-Striping Sox. It is not hand-dyed and sometimes is part acrylic or other manmade fibers. These brands are made in China and Turkey.

People who are allergic to wool will appreciate hand-knit socks without any wool. Alternate choices would be cotton, linen, or man-made fibers. Many of the links to yarn sites I have provided on this page also offer some type of wool-free yarn. Just search the sites.

This type of yarn can probably be machine washed and maybe even thrown into the dryer. Read the labels, but it may work well for anyone who refuses to hand wash items. If your socks are a gift, be sure to add a tag, or tell the person to wash with care.

hand knit socks

More Info About Buying Yarn and Suggested Projects

Check out the Love Knitting site page: “What are the Best Yarns for Knitting?” I learned some new things about ply and grams and that silk can replace nylon for strength when it comes to knitting socks!

All I Need Is A Good Sock Pattern!

Just the other day I cast on and began knitting a sock. I used a size 1 US needle – or should I say 4 double-pointed needles. What a pain in the neck! I was following a free pattern that quickly got confusing. Then I made a very big mistake that couldn’t be fixed and I ripped the whole thing out.

I found a pattern called Pedestrian by Veronica Parsons which seems easy enough to understand. Follow the link to Ravelry where you can download the pattern for free. I will try it next.

I followed the pattern for knitting Basic Socks in my Dummies book, and made a pair in worsted weight. I can’t wear them with shoes, so I want to knit socks in fingering. I’d love to be able to convert that pattern to a smaller yarn and needle size. OR, find a pattern like it that I can understand.

Photos of socks on this page came from the Pixabay free images site.

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