The Best Yarn to Use For Knitted Socks You Can Actually Wear

I’m hard on my socks, guys. I wear them 24/7. Literally day and night. And I wash them in the washing machine and dry them in the dryer. If I can’t wash it, I don’t want it. Anyone else?!

Over the past year, I have found so much joy knitting socks. It’s so amazing to use tiny needles and yarn to create something so beautiful AND practical. Because of this, I have tried a lot of different sock yarn. As someone who actually wears their handmade socks AND washes and dries them, I have strong feelings about the type of yarn that’s actually best for socks. Since they take so long to make, I think they should be able to last a long time as well!

I’m sharing my absolute favorite sock yarn that I believe is beautiful AND high quality, won’t break the bank and will last for a long, long time. I’m also sharing some that did not work for me and I won’t use again. These are all just my own opinions, and you’re welcome to disagree if you’ve had other experiences. My only hope is that this helps anyone wanting to dive into sock knitting and is trying to pick out yarn!

Enjoy!

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Sock yarn yays

KnitPicks Hawthorne. This yarn is my number one recommendation for socks. It may seem a bit stiff at first but it softens up with each wash. I have been wearing these socks for a long time and they have not faded, shrunk or thinned at all! This is the Peach Melba color. There are also tonal colors here.

KnitPicks Stroll and Stroll Tweed. I love these yarns and used them to make gifts for my family for Christmas. The tweed gets a little fuzzy but you can use a fabric shaver if it gets bad. It’s also silky soft so it’s more of a lounge around the house sock because it slides on your foot a bit. It’s not slippery for walking, though. These are both very affordable and quality sock yarns.

KnitPicks Stroll Tonal. This is the nicer yarn from the Stroll line and is more expensive. I love how soft and pretty it is. The tonal colors knit up so beautiful in the socks. I made this one with the Eucalyptus color!

KnitPicks Felici. This yarn is a close second for me after Hawthorne. I made a pair of shorties with this yarn and they have not gotten fuzzy or shrunk at all. I’m also really impressed that they haven’t faded because the yarn is pretty dark. Last but not least, it’s a GREAT self striping yarn that comes in a lot of colors! Unfortunately this one is discontinued – sorry! There’s also a worsted version with the same fiber makeup here, and the Rustic Cabin colorway is available.

Patons Kroy Socks. You can find this yarn at Michaels, Joanns, Amazon, etc. It’s pretty similar to Felici and is a great, sturdy sock yarn. I have made my husband a couple pairs with this yarn and the colors work up really neat. It’s also a great, affordable price.

Sock yarn nays

Capretta Superwash from KnitPicks is 80% Fine Superwash Merino Wool, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon. It is suuuper soft and comes in gorgeous colors, so I had to try it for a pair of shorty socks. They were nice for one day and then started to get incredibly fuzzy and pill like crazy. After washing and drying like the yarn says you can, it’s almost embarrassing how bad they look. I’m not exactly sure why this yarn is called “superwash” or why the description mentions that it’s perfect for socks. It’s a beautiful, delicate yarn that I think would be nice for a sweater that you ONLY hand wash very gently. I will say it didn’t shrink and has not thinned, so I do wear these to sleep in.

Hand-dyed yarn. I cringe even having to write this because if you know me, you know my love for hand-dyed yarn and indie dyers are sooo talented. However, I’ve had a couple experiences of it fading badly on the soles and getting holes, all within a month or two. If you are going to use hand-dyed, I suggest making sure it’s the high twist base and nothing too soft. Just a tip!

Any yarn that is not specifically sock yarn. I made a cute pair of DK shorty socks but the yarn was 100% merino instead of a wool/nylon blend and they ended up felting really bad and also just didn’t feel great on my feet. If you want to make thick socks, I highly recommend pulling double sock yarn. Summer Lee Knits has a great pattern called the Thicksgiving Socks that are written exactly for that. 🙂 The only worsted yarn I can think of with the same fiber content as sock yarn is Felici Worsted that I talked about above.

One more thing…

Need help blocking your socks? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soak
  • Blockers
  • Towel

Blocking socks is so much easier and faster than blocking other garments. There’s no pinning or mats required if you have sock blockers! I use this plastic set from KnitPicks. It’s affordable and smooth so your socks don’t get snagged.

You’ll also want a wool wash for soaking them, and if you choose to hand wash your socks. I use this brand, unscented.

Simply fill a bowl with warm water (I use my bathroom sink). Squirt a small amount of soak in the water and add the socks. Let them sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. I’ve accidentally left mine for a couple hours so there’s not really a max. Gently squeeze as much water out as you can and then place flat on a towel. Roll the towel up and step on it, squeezing out more water.

Next, slip the socks onto the blockers. I like to hang mine outside (there’s a hole on the top) on the porch so they’ll dry quickly but you can hang them inside or lay them flat on a towel too. Whatever works for you!

So what’s your favorite sock yarn?!

XO, Kalley

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2 Comments

  1. 2.18.21
    Kay said:

    I really enjoyed this blog post. I, too, have been trying to find sock yarn that meet the criteria you mentioned. I’ve used Knitpicks Stroll, Felici and Hawthorne. The socks made from Felici felted a bit and shrunk a small amount, the ones made from Stroll felted a lot. The Hawthorne did fine. Most of the socks I made were for my grown kids and grandkids. They say they wash them in the washer with cold water and then lay them flat to dry. I put mine in a lingerie bag, wash in cold water in the washer and lay them flat to dry. Do you have any suggestions on what else I could do to prevent these issues? I love the yarns – cost, color and feel are great! Thanks so much, Kay

    • 2.24.21
      Kalley said:

      I’m honestly not really sure! I wash all of mine at the laundromat with no special settings and haven’t seen any felting from those yarns. I’m sorry that happens! I guess stick with Hawthorne. Thank you for reading!