A Sock Experiment

I love hand knit socks and I am passionate about exploring the materials that I choose to work with. What better way to combine the two passions by exploring some alternative sock yarn options! I posted about this on Instagram a few weeks ago and the response was huge. I really enjoyed reading all your comments and thoughts, some really interesting ideas and lots of questions. It really got me thinking …

When I teach about socks I always talk about them in three ways: fit, durability and aesthetics. As a knitter we can make choices about which of these three aspects are most important to us and where we are willing to make trades in one area to make gains in another. The other key discussion here is ‘fit for purpose’ – what are you going to do with your socks and how can you make your socks and yarn choices work for you.

While there might seem like an awful lot of decision making around these topics, it really is a matter of personal choice, exploring your options and experimenting. The question for me at the moment is about sock yarn and durability. While I am not anti-nylon, I knit, design and wear socks that are made with nylon blends and plan to continue to do so – I am interested in exploring alternatives and naturally strong fibres suitable for sock yarns.

So I have decided to conduct a little sock experiment of my own …..

The Plan

Earlier this year I released Lanson – a beautifully simple pair of socks designs for maximum durability and a great fit (the two things I always looks for in my hand-knit socks). I designed the pattern in 11 sizes so that you can find a size that fits you, rather that trying to bridge the gap between two sizes as is often the case. I also chose to use the Blacker Mohair Blend as I have heard great things about mohair as a natural strengthener and I wanted to explore this lovely yarn.

I created two samples – one for me and one for my very first sock muse (she has grown a bit since the Sock Anatomy days). My plan is for us to wear these socks as much as we can on during up trip to the UK in November and over the course of the month to document how they wear.

I am also planning to knit another pair of socks in some Blacker Tamar yarn that I have to see how they wear and if I have time (I am expecting my knitting time machine to be delivered any day now) I plan to make a pair for the little one in Blacker Classic 4ply with some of the mohair blend for heels and toes.

My plan is to document the process as we go throughout the month and post on Instagram and here on my blog. I would be very interested to hear what you think and if you fancy doing your own I will be using the hashtags #exploringsocks and #tuffsocksnaturally (as suggested by @rebeccaspindle on Instagram).

I also hope to explore more options for great sock yarns as I travel in the UK – which a specific focus on ‘fit for purpose’ breeds. I have heard great things about Suffolk and Ryeland not felting so I want to track down some of these in 4ply yarn so I can knit some socks with them.

If you have any suggestions or favourite yarns for socks with no nylon I would love to hear from you. You can find me on Instagram as @knitsharelove or you can email me HERE.


Fancy knitting your own pair of socks?

All of my socks on Ravelry are part of a 3 for 2 offer to celebrate Socktober and the joy of hand knit socks! I am going to extend the offer of 3 for 2 as part of this exploration series.

You can find all my socks here.


Blacker yarns sent me the yarn used for Lanson as yarn support for my design work, they also sent me the skein of Tamar and a ball of Blacker Classic 4ply so I could experiment with alternatives to sock yarns with nylon.

Neither this post or this series are sponsored by Blacker Yarns and I plan to add other sock yarn options as I travel. 

Additionally, I think it goes without saying but I want to be very clear, all opinions expressed are my honest opinions and I aim to give a fair and balanced reflection of the yarns I use for this exploration into sock yarns without nylon.