Below are a few personal recommendations, by no means comprehensive, compiled for new sock knitters and students of my “My First Socks” class at Craftsy.com.
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With many dozens of wonderful yarns to choose from, it is hard to decide which handful to suggest! Most yarn stores will have a good selection of yarns specifically blended and spun for socks. Pick one with a well defined ply and some elasticity in the yarn. For the longest sock wear, choose a yarn with a blend including nylon (up to 25% is common) and use smaller-than-usual needles. A wool blend is warmest and easiest to handle for a first sock; cotton is cooler but trickier to handle. Luxury blends, including fibers such as cashmere and silk, can also be found and are lovely to work with.
All the class samples for my Craftsy class My First Socks are worked in hand-dyed Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted (100% Superwash Merino, 225 yds = 4 oz). This is a little heavier than usual for a sock (giving a thicker sock) but is ideal for practice and experimentation. From here it is easy to move on towards finer yarns.
My line of fingering weight, luxury sock yarn (hand dyed in Nova Scotia, Canada) is available in 8 hand-paint colourways and in 20 mottled solids. It is a blend of premium merino, cashmere and nylon, making it both luxurious and practical. Suggested needle sizes for sock knitting purposes 2.25 – 2.5 mm / US#0 – 1.
80% Superwash Merino wool / 10% Cashmere / 10% Nylon 100 g = 351 m / 384 yds
For more of the yarns carried at LucyNeatby.com: http://lucyneatby.com/index.php?department=Yarns
Biscotte & Cie
The colourways in the Felix self-striping series are so much fun. There is no way to tell exactly how it’s going to turn out until you knit it! Hand dyed in Quebec.
(With the common-heel sock shown in My First Socks there will be a variation in the stripe width after the heel.)
80% Superwash Merino wool / 20% Nylon 100 g = 351 m / 384 yds
Socks That Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts
100% Superwash Merino wool with a beautiful springy ply, hand dyed in Oregon.
Available in Heavy, Medium and Light weights.
Crystal Palace Bamboo dpns, 6”
Addi Turbo circulars
River John dpns
Lucy’s Sock Knitting Patterns
My single patterns are available at Craftsy, LucyNeatby.com, Patternfish and Ravelry.
The patterns listed here all use the common heel construction used in this class. These socks are a little more complex than the sock shown in your class, but start with the same basic construction. For five more simple (mainly one-yarn) socks with additional types of toes and heels try my sock book, Cool Socks Warm Feet (paper and digital).
Bicycle Socks (#312)
Intermediate. Two-colours-per-round knitting with complex charts. This pattern is also included in the Knit Companion – Knit with Lucy app pattern collection.
Fiesta Feet (#314)
Advanced. A sampler in sock format featuring an unusual sideways cuff and a variety of different stitch patterns in different areas of the sock.
Gingham Socks (#316)
Intermediate. A very warm sock worked with medium weight yarn in simple two-colours-per-round knitting.
Tug Boat Socks (#318)
Advanced. Sideways sock cuff with intarsia patterning in the leg and a rope cabled heel flap. Two-colours-per-round knitting with charts for the foot.
Godiva Socks (#322)
Basic. A simple ribbed sock with optional cuff beading and turn over top. A good first fancy sock!
Camelot Socks (#328)
Intermediate. Two-colours-per-round knitting, with charts.
Double Diamond Socks (#347)
Intermediate. A faced beaded cuff with textured and lace knitting options.
Harlequin Socks (#349)
Intermediate / Advanced. Leg worked flat in intarsia technique and seamed. Foot worked in a textured one-colour pattern.
Zig Zag Socks (#338)
Advanced. A conventional two-colours-per-round stranded, top-down sock with a conventional heel and a method of creating a two-colour double layer sole. Kit available.
Pinstripe DK Sock (#389)
Advanced +. An elegant, straightforward, warm first double-layer sock. Worked in the round. Once the pattern is established it is easy to follow, the project involves double-layer knitting, decreases and grafting.
Heartfelt thanks to my sock-knitting friends for assistance with sample knitting for My First Socks:
A few classic sock resources:
Cool Socks Warm Feet Lucy Neatby
Folk Socks Nancy Bush Interweave Press
Socks, Socks, Socks XRX
Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles Cat Bordhi
The Magic Loop Hauschka/Galeskas Fiber Trends
The Knitter’s Book of Socks Clara Parkes
Getting Started Knitting Socks Ann Budd
Sock Techniques 1 DVD Lucy Neatby
Sock Techniques 2 DVD Lucy Neatby
I’ve been knitting of my own volition since I was 17. (I’m in my 50s now.) Knitting was never intended to be a serious career option. However, I have been self-employed as a designer, writer, filmmaker and teacher on knitting subjects for the last 20 years. I discovered my passion for teaching whilst giving my first evening class in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Fleece Artist (then a regular yarn shop, now a dyer of extraordinary yarns) had asked that I teach an in-store class and I was a little taken aback that the students found intarsia, stranded and mosaic stitches all a little too much to absorb in one evening session. I didn’t see the difficulty. Since then I have revised my approach and have regressed to the roots of knitting and love to encourage knitters to think about the welfare of their stitches. If you understand your stitches, you can do anything. I’ve learned most of what I know from making mistakes and then analyzing them, and the rest from having to be able to explain and justify anything that I wish to share with students.
I have tried almost every kind of knitting. I’m not keen on twined or mosaic, but love everything else, especially double-knitting and socks. I get into periods of different fascinations and treasure my freedom to explore them. Holes have been an ongoing obsession for several years and my new eBook, A Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-Knitters, explores them extensively, but sock knitting always lures me back. Its variety, affordability, and portability are hard to resist for long!
I’ve been teaching knitting for the last 20 years. The list of places I’ve visited and classes I’ve taught now runs to 5 pages of 6 point font. Still, I have a couple of States unaccounted for, as well as one Province and one Territory in Canada.
I’m really excited to be teaching for Craftsy! It is a wonderful way to reach so many far-flung knitters and crafters without any of us having to fly (or deal with airport security).
Over the years I’ve dabbled in spinning, felting, bobbin lace, sewing, cross stitch, and am currently showing an unanticipated interest in quilt making! Knitting, however, has been a constant throughout. These other crafts have all made contributions to my knitting techniques; I love the cross-pollination of ideas.
Cool Socks Warm Feet (TKD, 2003) Paper and PDF.
Cool Knitters Finish in Style (TKD, 2010) Paper and PDF.
A Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-Knitters (TKD, 2014) PDF only.
Foundations of Double Knitting
$20 discount link www.craftsy.com/ext/LucyNeatby_202_H
Learn With Lucy DVDs (available as discs or digital video):
Knitting Essentials 1
Knitting Essentials 2
Sock Knitting Techniques 1
Sock Knitting Techniques 2
Knitting Gems 1
Knitting Gems 2
Knitting Gems 3
Knitting Gems 4
Finesse Your Knitting 1
Double Knitting Delight 1
Intarsia Untangled 1
Intarsia Untangled 2
Finesse Your Knitting 2
Knitting Venus 1
Knitting Venus 2
The Brand New Knitter
Lucy’s Blog: https://happystitches.wordpress.com/
Facebook: Lucy Neatby and Tradewind Knitwear Designs
Ravelry: Neatby Knitters
Knit Companion – Knit with Lucy (Apple)
A collection of 7 of Lucy’s patterns including Bicycle Socks presented in the popular Knit Companion format; includes several hours of embedded video help. ($19.99 US)
Lucy’s Patterns (Android)
A digital version of an old-fashioned pattern catalog. (Free)
Lucy’s Patterns Plus (Android)
Browse Lucy’s extraordinary patterns, add to your Wish List, download your PDFs from your Notebook, and more.
Also makes a handy reference when buying yarn at your LYS. (Free)
Subscribe to Lucy’s Spunyarn News
Lucy’s informal periodic newsletter about knitting, life and the universe. To subscribe please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.