We are living in a golden age of sock yarns.
I think one reason it took me so long to get my current bad case of loving socks is that when I was a younger knitter, sock yarns were kind of … pasty.
Some were clever as heck, with self-patterning ways. (I remember calling one Fair-Isle sock yarn “unintentional Ikat” because of the way the colorwork pattern kind of vagued out, but I thought it was cool nonetheless.) Most of those yarns had, to my eye, wishy-washy, sprayed-on color.
There was certainly no mark of the human hand on these yarns, and they felt kind of coarse to the touch. I didn’t see the point of knitting socks with them, let alone bigger garments.
Indie dyers changed all that. Sock yarns are now among the most beautiful yarns you can find. Their variety is infinite. I bet if you think about the impulse purchases in your stash, those single skeins that simply had to come home with you, most of them are sock yarns, and what you love about them is the color, be it speckled or saturated right down to the core of the yarn.
Now that we have Jillian Moreno’s permission to use sock yarns to knit patterns that are not socks, I say: let’s go for it.
Admittedly, Jillian’s permission slip has a caveat. She urges swatching to make sure that a sock yarn will work well for the project you have in mind. That makes sense. I encourage everyone to do that.
But also: what if the non-sock pattern is designed to be knitted with sock yarn? What if the photography sample was knitted in sock yarn?To me, a designer opting for sock yarn is as good or better than my own assessment of a swatch; it’s certainly persuasive evidence.
I called on the team to go forth and find some real nice non-sock patterns calling for sock yarns, and they delivered. Here you go, and please don’t forget to shout out others in the comments.
Not only is the sample knit in a sock yarn, but among the 4,300 (!) Tegnas on Ravelry are stunning examples in yarns we carry in the MDK Shop: Lichen and Lace 80/20 Sock and Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock. So: other Ravelers have done the legwork for us on this one.
Squee! Eole is a go-to unisex baby gift that will hardly take more yarn than a pair of socks. Things we love particularly: the “pinwheel” style increases at the shoulders and the tidy and continuous i-cord edging. Is there a sock yarn this would not be cute in? No there is not.
An easygoing buttonless cardigan with polished details. Garter ridges! Staggered eyelets!
From the May 2019 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, a sporty, versatile tee using three shades of Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Sock. Yeah, it’s intarsia, we can see that. But it’s reasonable intarsia: orderly, long sections of color, with straight edges. Worth it!