Saturday, October 31, 2015

I love socks

This is not aimed at any one specific company or dyer. Do not take it as such.

Dear Indy Yarn Dyers and Companies/Mills who make sock yarn.

I would like to bring a few things up for your consideration.

The first one is that while Merino wool is all the rage right now (again), it is a fine wool. Most Merino is soft and rather short. Soft and short ultimately means that it was wear out, pill, and fuzz horribly. It is not really a good choice for socks. Now I understand, that’s a generalized statement and some merino is just fine for socks. I have a pair of handspun, hand knit socks that is 50% merino. It was much less fine merino and while I wouldn’t want it as a cowl wrapped around my neck, it is FANTASTIC for my socks. 2 years down the road, and they haven’t fuzzed a bit. However, the merino has felted slightly, which is another drawback to a fine wool. Even though I’m careful when washing, fine wools felt just by wearing.

So Merino is really not that great a choice for SOCK yarn. Nylon added or not, not really a great choice.

Item number two for your consideration. Socks are items that are in constant contact with things on both sides. Your foot on the inside and your shoes/slippers/sandals/the floor/whatever on the outside. This adds to the speed at which your socks can wear out, fuzz, or pill. This means that not only is a fine wool not a great choice… neither is a frickin’ 2 ply yarn!! 2 ply yarn opens up when knit and put under tension (like, say WEARING said sock)… Which means that more of the yarn surface is exposed to abrasion. This would be why sock yarns have often been made with 4 or more plies of yarn. These plies are generally plied very tightly to keep the yarn together. This reduces the surface abrasion, decreases the speed at which the sock yarn wears out, breaks, pills, fuzzes, and ultimately needs replacing. It also reduces the knitters frustration with the socks that wear out so fast that they are only slightly better than store bought socks.

So, in summary, please use multiple plies of a non-fine wool to make your sock yarns. Please, I’m begging.

I adore the colors that so many companies and indy dyers use in their sock yarns. I want to knit all the socks with all these colors and patterns. I would also like those socks to be for more than just looking at. I wish to be able to actually wear these socks.

Which is why, from this time until such time as the construction of your sock yarns change, I will not be buying your sock yarns. Please do not hesitate to let me know when you have yarn that is good for socks. I will immediately drop the big box store yarns and come rushing back.

Sad sniffles, but staunch resolve,

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