Leave a Comment

52 Comments
  • I hope you keep all the data from the survey including the comments which I’d love to read! Some lucky people major in fiber arts ( I don’t even know all the names of what they are majoring in) and could turn this into a research project- acknowledging MDK as the days source of course. You got a great response. Very cool. The comments would be a form of qualitative research and could give us interesting insight into us knitters in 2019.

    • I agree and would add that next survey, you could ask how long the said pair of socks survived. I am guessing that after two years, the mode of washing and drying matters less, but that could be researched, too. It would be good if there were some correlation between, say, no dryer and longer lived superwash merino 80/20 nylon socks, but as we all know, mere correlation does not imply causality, so room for even more research. Thank you for adding to the sock research literature.

      • Good idea, Susan. This would be interesting.

  • I’d love to know what percentage of respondents had: made 12+ socks, launder after each wearing in a machine on a regular setting with warm or hot water using regular detergent followed by machine drying. –I might be finishing my first really wearable pair –how carefree can I be? –Actually I’m probably several pairs away from carefree!

    • I meet some of your criteria. 🙂 I have over 12 pairs and wash after each wearing. I don’t use a regular setting or hot water…that is really asking for trouble. Delicate wash on warm in my top loader is no extra effort. Mostly I use Woolite but occasionally just regular Tide.

      I can’t recommend drying in a dryer (for anything, really but that’s not practical). Hanging them on a sock octopus takes two minutes.

      It’s pretty carefree, really.

      • Soctopus! I knit for others I have no idea how they get washed! I don’t dare ask in case I get lumbered. Also here in the uk my washing machine holds 10 kg, which for the non metric is oodles of socks!

    • How carefree depends on the yarn. Indie dyed loveliness? Blend with silk or bamboo? Be gentle. Regia, Kroy, Jahwoll, or the like? I treat them as I would other socks, but try to remember to take them out of the load if it’s going into the dryer. However, I have dried that type of sock with no discernable problems.

      • Same here.

      • I, too, try to rescue them from the dryer, but when my husband does laundry all bets are off, so my fanciest yarn ones are hand washed. The others seem to be fine with some dryer experiences.

    • Don’t use hot or warm water! Superwash means it won’t felt and won’t shrink as much, but it will still shrink.

      A lot of it depends on what yarn you use. If there’s cashmere or alpaca in it…you should handwash. If it’s German sock yarn like Regia or Opal…meh, you’re fine, that stuff’s like iron. If it’s an indie dyer, you want to be careful with it for at least the first few washes, until you know how it behaves.

      Also, a lot of pretty indie dyed yarn will release a lot of excess dye in the first few washes, so be careful what you wash them with.

    • I have several pair and mostly treat them like normal socks. Into the wash with normal load and most of the time into the dryer. I have felted one pair that I thought were super wash but weren’t and I have knit my husband a pair of argyle socks of wool, alpaca, and Buffalo that he knows under no circumstances go into the washer or dryer. You can take them out when they are slightly damp and put them on sock blockers if you want but most of the time they are folded and go in the drawer.

    • Hear! Hear! Kathy Bell. I’m an academic librarian and you better believe students/ researchers/faculty and industry will want this resource.

    • I meet most of those requirement. I have knit more pairs of socks than I can remember. I wash in a front loading machine in warm water with Tide free and clear and, if they are superwash wool and contain 15-20% nylon, put them in the dryer with other things. If they are all wool and hand dyed I hand wash with eucalan or shampoo and air dry.

    • I have made many many pairs of socks for my S.O., all using Opal or Regia sock yarn. I started making socks for him more than 15 years ago, and he now wears my handknit socks exclusively. He throws them in a regular wash, hot water, regular detergent, and then the dryer after every wearing. It is only in the past year that the very first pair I made for him has started to wear out, and I think that is more due to him taking off his shoes and walking around in his socks indoors for several hours at every wearing than the washing. As someone else said, Regia and Opal wear like iron!

    • I’m one of those! I’ve found that the cheaper the sock yarn, the better it wears. Patons Kroy yarn wears like iron. I have pairs I’ve been washing and drying for years, and they’re still in great shape. I just wish it came in more solid colors.

      • I totally agree! Kroc socks last forever with minimal care!

        • That was meant to say “Kroy “

    • I’ve probably knit 30 pairs of socks at least since over the past 12 years. They all go in the wash machine in cold water with regular soap with the rest of the laundry and then the dryer. All superwash yarn and no problems. The socks were all for my daughter starting at 4th grade and she just graduated from undergrad. She wears them all the time in the winter and none of them have worn out yet.

  • I do occasionally put socks in the dryer. I’m a little backwards. I handwash all of the socks, and normally just hang them on a drying rack. However, some of them were knit with bases that stretch out over time. So, every 3-6 washes, I’ll toss them in the dryer so they can tighten up again.

    • Why mine go in the dryer! Unless the weather permits drying on the line. Good point 🙂

      • I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who washes their socks in the shower. I just toss them on the shower floor in a pile and squirt some shampoo on them and step on them while I shower. I rinse them at the end, toss them over the shower wall into the sink after squeezing out water. I dry them on the clothesline or a rack. Ihave been known to us the washer on delicate, but the shower is so handy.

  • If you ever can’t sleep, email me and I will tell you my tales of woe about the sock washing in my household. I don’t do the wash. (lol but not lol to me)

  • While I did say I dry them in the dryer it is often one sock that accidentally makes it through the dryer.
    However they never seem worse for that mishap!

  • Well You Two! You got my husband and I chatting first thing today! I showed him the data, and before we got to the drying question, he commented. “I just know when you launder your socks they are all over a towel on the guest bed for a few days!”
    Yup. Machine wash, air dry. In my old house I had beloved radiators and they dried there….

  • I guess there should have been a drier category that read: Only when I accidentally miss getting them separated from the rest of the delicate wash! Very informative info, thanks for posting.

  • you all are making me want to try knitting some more socks…i’ve only made 3 pair…first pair (way too huge) i frogged and found stitch markers left in the toe area (not comfy) second and third pairs made for my husband rarely get worn but i have handwashed the wool pair. he has chronically hot feet so i was trying to find a way to make socks that had no fiber content other than what comes from nature…it’s exasperating to make things that don’t really get used because i’m a pretty slow knitter but i’ll try a pair for myself and see how it goes. thanks for the inspiration.

    • Cheryl i had to knit several pairs before I was knitting socks that fit! Reading the books by clara parkes and kate atherley helped (got those from the library)- found that I needed to be knitting at a tighter gauge and making a longer heel flap. Things could be different for you.
      Nowadays I really like to make a sport or DK weight socks (or fingering held double)- they don’t fit in the snuggest of shoes, but the knitting goes so much faster, and they hold up really well.

  • Always fun to read your letters. Thanks for the data collection and distillation. I keep telling my husband that knitters are smart people.

  • How do people who DON’T launder their socks get them clean? My local dry cleaner thought I was crazy when I asked their price for cleaning a pair of socks! It would also be interesting to know if anyone said they use chlorine bleach and/or a vintage wringer washer for their socks.

    And, has Kay gotten to the point that she’s finally lost count of the number of socks she’s knit?

    • Lol! I love that you asked the dry cleaner about them! I don’t think that’s crazy at all. I might do the same thing. We are bold when it comes to keeping our beloved handmade socks well cared for.

  • How on earth do y’all keep track of which yarn your socks are knit from? Once they’re done, I’m done with ’em except to wear them. Surely you don’t look on Ravelry for your own notes every time you put in a load of laundry? I toss them all into the laundry (front loader, regular ol’ detergent from Costco) and dry them on a rack and just hope for the best.

    • Hi Judy! I guess I must have a little OCD because I do (mostly) remember where my sock yarn came from. Lol! And I do toss them in a top loader washer along with other small, lightweight things and regular detergent. Mostly, they dry on the bannister, but sometimes one or two end up in the dryer. With Regia, Kroy and Diamond brands that doesn’t seem to matter much, but with indie yarns, I usually knit a couple extra rounds before starting the toe to make allowances for the potential shrinkage in either the washer or the dryer. Otherwise, I hope for the best too.

  • Well, it’s nice to know I fell into the majority categories on all questions!

  • This was great information because I am about to make my first pair of socks. It’s good to know how you all keep the clean or not as the case may be. Thanks for taking this survey!

    • I put my knitted bamboo & silk socks in a laundry bag. Washer set on delicates, cold water wash & rinse & Tide original HE or Eculan..low spin cycle..but I wash all my lingerie the same way too…they seem to last longer. Hand knitted socks I lay out on a towel to dry…other delicates go into dryer on low setting only. This routine works well for me.

  • I machine wash in a laundry bag and then hang them to dry. My sons are not so particular. I was horrified when my son told me he always put his in the dryer – treats them like regular laundry. I had to check them out. He’s been doing this for 2 or 3 years now and his socks look just fine. They’re made with superwash yarn.
    Interesting survey. I enjoyed seeing the results.

  • I have knit at least 20 pairs of socks. I always knit with superwash merino and nylon, either 15 or 20%. The one pair I knit with non-superwash merino got a hole very quickly. I put all my socks in the washer and dryer and I use regular detergent. I like the way they fit snugly after they come out of the dryer. They seem to last and wear very well.

    • I meant to say that the one pair that got a hole was knit with 100% merino, without any nylon.

  • Dear Kay & Ann, The 1,100 responses to question 11 & your lovely pie charts deserve compilation into an addenda of socks book. (Pie. It’s almost cool enough outside to work pie crust dough without disaster & turn on the oven. Peaches are in season. Maybe a cobbler. I’ll let you know.)

    • Peach cobbler with a cream cheese pastry too happened yesterday, a freak day with a high of 86 rather than the seasonal 99 expected today. I have only worn cheap work socks for a few months and look forward to cooler weather and wearing some new ankle length socks I knit this year, say, in 6 weeks or so when real shoes rejoin my daily wardrobe! They will make a weekly trip through the HE top loader loose in the water with free and clear type detergent and air dried, with a monthly dose of fabric softener.

  • So far, no one has mentioned the use of sock blockers. I just purchased my first pair and am wondering how often they are to be used. Any observations from sock blocking knitters?

    • Your foot is the best blocker. Block by wearing your socks. They will adapt as the day goes on. Sock blockers might be nice to make the socks look good before gifting.

    • I use my sock blockers for my very first pictures of the knitted socks. Then I might block them occasionally when I want to air-dry them but I want it to go a little faster. I -usually- just throw my socks in the washer and dryer with regular laundry (all my laundry is washed on cold), but sometimes I’ll pull the socks from the wash and lay them out to dry while the rest of the laundry goes in the dryer. Sometimes I’ll use a sock blocker. Just depends on how much time I have that day.

  • “I wear them in the shower to wash them.” OK, I’m dead. Laughing so hard!

  • That made me laugh so much that I’m actually considering dipping my toes in the sock-knitting water!

  • I darn the socks I knit for my daughter when she brings the socks needing be darned (toe holes and heels) home with her. As she isn’t fussy about the hole being in the same sock colour, her socks can be quite colourful, as I generally use whatever sock yarn I have about to darn the holes. Sometimes, I even darn her commerical wool socks!

  • Hand knits, including socks, go in the ‘wool’ cycle on my front loader where they are gently tossed through lukewarm water and either Eucalan or Forever New. Socks get hung on the ‘sock octopus” to dry and then are tucked lovingly back in the drawer when dry. I have only had two pairs wear out over time and both had gauge and material issues that were unknown to me when I was a beginner knitter of socks. Now tight gauge and either silk or nylon is a must. The rest of the socks wear like I bought them at Costco for 10 bucks!

  • I mend my socks — and sometimes repeatedly until I find out that the yarn just doesn’t stand up. Unless the area needing repair is small, I make a patch: pick up stitches below and wider than the area, knit back and forth (stockingette) tacking down on the right and left sides on the knit row; kitchner when I pass several intact row.

  • Simply hilarious! Thanks for the levity – my life, my husband, and my diet applauds you.

  • Don’t confiscate my socks! I only machine dry the ones that are a bit too big. Made for my brother but kept for myself Not to worry – he still gets his yearly pair of socks

  • All of the other comments were awesome. Laughed at some, found some very interesting and some very educational. Thank you to all of the commentators who made my day.

  • As a veteran sock knitter, I find that turning them inside out prevents a lot of pilling. They stay brighter also.