Sock Yarn Is a Big Decision

Edited to add – I took out the embedded polls; they didn’t work. But the links should both work now. ~Rebecca

Interruptions of the scheduled Lenten program may become a regular feature, because things keep coming up that I want to share. This week at least, I need your help!

To date, my sock yarn base for sock yarns has been the excellent “Happy Feet” from Plymouth Yarns. It’s great stuff, but for complex reasons you don’t care about, I need to change.

Another small dyer, the excellent Erin, turned me on to Kraemer Yarns. This small mill, located in Nazareth, PA, makes some terrific yarns that I have played with in the past. And even better, they make it possible for small indie dyers to have a wholesale account.

I’ve thought about it, I’ve prayed about it, I’ve played around a little… and I’m ready to invest. But the problem is… I have to choose!

So I need your opinion. Take a gander at the following three sock yarns; I’ve given you all the info I have right now short of knitting them all into socks. I took pictures of both the pre- and post-dyed hanks; i died them all fairly solidly with black beans to see how they take. They are all beautiful and would make excellent additions to the OFS line, and of course I will make my own decision in the end, but I’m rather curious about what you think.

Candidate #1: “Wilma.” The label says: 100% Superwash Merino. 100 grams, appx. 420 yards; US 2 needle. It’s an 8-ply and on the thinner side (for a tight sock weave you’d need US 2s or smaller for sure); it took the dye fairly well. Pros: very sprongy, lots of yardage. Cons: Odd, rumply texture in the skein; no nylon.


Candidate #2 is “Lesley.” The label says: 100% Superwash Merino, 4 oz, Fingering Weight, appx. 400 yards; 8 st.=1″. This beautiful 2-ply is most like the Happy Feet base, though it has a little less yardage (still way enough for a pair of socks) and no nylon. It is also quite thin; I’d not make socks with larger than a US 2 and would probably prefer US 1s. It looks a little flat before dyeing, but plumps up perfectly after. Pros: Clearly takes the dye the best; most similar to previous base. Cons: no nylon.


Candidate #3 is “Jeannie,” says the following on the label: 80% Superwash Merino / 20% Nylon, Sock weight, 100 grams, appx. 420 yards, 6.75 to 8 stitches = 1″. This 3-ply is what Erin called a meatier sock yarn; it’s the only one you could knit socks from on 3s, though you could of course still go down to 1s if you prefer super-tight sock knitting. It took the dye pretty well (the green-ness of the final yarn is from dyeing it in a pot that had turmeric residue, not a characteristic of the yarn). Pros: Lots of yardage, “meatiness.” Cons: Boring texture (though maybe you don’t care…)

They are lined up below for a direct color comparison; it was difficult to get the balance equal in each picture (I’m sure someone with a little more skill and patience than myself would have found a way to fix that). The one on the far right is “Sterling,” which I’ll deal with below. Vote away, and leave comments if you have things to say.

To vote among these three yarns, click here.

There is a fourth option, which would be an additional, special edition yarn. Kraemer makes the beautiful “Sterling” fingering weight yarn, which is 63% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon, and 2% “Silver” (which I suspect is not actual silver, but some sort of rayon or nylon thread to give the pretty metallic sparkle. It is 400 yards and 100 grams; a 3-ply, very soft but strong, perfect for special socks, but would be fantastic in a lace shawl that needed some extra zing. It’s a truly luxury sock yarn. Here’s the question – it costs me a lot more, and would be priced accordingly. If I were to sell this yarn at 35$, would you buy it?

To vote, click here.

Thanks for your thoughts. you know I aim to please, and I’m excited about getting to do some larger quantities of sock yarn, opening the door to maybe wholesaling sometime before my hair goes much greyer. If you’re mostly here for the theology, return tomorrow for some deeper content.

4 thoughts on “Sock Yarn Is a Big Decision

  1. I think for socks you HAVE to have nylon in it. I pick the 3rd one, Jeannie. I also think it’s a big plus that you can knit it with size 2’s and 3’s.

    As for the special yarn with the silk, I’ve got special yarn in the worsted weight too. But it would cost more than the Kirby Woolpaca. I ask the same question. How much do you all want a specialty yarn that would be more expensive (ie. having silk in it)? Or should we just stick with the gorgeous but more affordable wool/alpacas/merinos?


  2. I couldn’t get the poll to work for the second question (link wasn’t working either) but I wouldn’t buy the special yarn. Sparkles are not my thing and that’s a lot of money for socks. Even if I were going to make a shawl, I would probably go with something else like Linda suggests.


  3. I would pick number 3-larger needles and nylon. If I’m going to spend all the time knitting the socks, I want them to last. I wouldn’t buy the yarn w/silver-too pricey, and wouldn’t be seen. I think the silver is supposed to be anti-bacterial.


  4. I’m not going to formally vote, since I do not knit and follow your blog only because I love you. 🙂 However, if I had to choose between these yarns, based solely on which one I would reach for first because it appeals to me the most, it would be #2: Lesley. Not much help, but there you have it. 🙂


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