Help me find the right non-wool sock yarn!

My favoritest new shoes.

I needed these shoes. I was teaching at Yarnover in Minneapolis [which was super-fabulous, by the way] and needed a little footwear-based oomph to make my super-teacher powers fully activate.

You understand, surely.

These are Dr Martens 1461 Oxfords in the unbelievable-but-true color they call Blueberry. The leather is softer than the usual Doc oxford style [which could probably be used as the outer skin of a tank].

They fit great, with super-thick socks. For two reasons. 1: Docs don’t come in half sizes. 2: Even though the leather is softer than their usual, I have wussy baby princess feet and need the protection of a thicker-than-usual sock fabric.

That said, they’re SUPER comfy with the right socks and my trusty Birkenstock insoles [I put these in everything I wear, unless they’re already Birkenstocks]. And as you can see in the pic above, the Thorlo light hiking socks I had worked. But man, I’m a knitter. They’re embarrassing. I need to knit me some beautiful socks that will give me cushy protection.

Challenge: I’m allergic to wool, and most non-wool sock yarns aren’t thick enough to make a sock that will work with these shoes. Sock Candy, for example, my usual go-to sock yarn, is great for regular wear. But it’s not enough. Two strands? Not quite what I was thinking.

So I put it to you, dear readers. What wool-free yarns have I not considered [or may not be aware of] that are more likely sport- or even light-worsted-weight, that will make a comfy, cushy, pretty sock? Maybe you’ll see something at Maryland Sheep & Wool this weekend? Maybe you know of an indie who’s using an unusual base? I sure would love a handpaint for these.

Fill the comments with your ideas. I’ll be super grateful.

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(100 Posts)

53 thoughts on “Help me find the right non-wool sock yarn!

  1. TravelingAnn

    No sock yarn advice, but I love the shoes.

    I have a pair of Electric Blue high leg Doc boots. They are US 5, so I can squeeze into them, but they aren’t really comfortable.
    sigh

  2. Seanna Lea

    This might not help, but have you considered doing a pair of socks with double knitting? You would then have a smooth stockinette sock facing you and they would have the option of being reversable.

  3. Beth Collins

    I like Berroco Comfort Sock, which is really a sport weight; you can knit it on size three needles. I use it for socks I’m giving to anti-wool wearers. It is 50% acrylic, 50% nylon. They have four new colors that are nice and bright.

  4. Abigail

    I have knit a couple of pairs of socks with Comfort Sock, but none for myself. They seem the same thickness as Sock Candy socks to me. Comfort also comes in DK, which might make the right weight socks. I was also going to bring up Fixation, which isn’t exotic by any means, but makes fairly thick socks in my experience. Thicker than Sock Candy or Panda Cotton (which has been my go-to sock yarn in the past).

  5. Ashley

    You could try Cascade Fixation if you want something elastic enough to stay snug. But with a little swatching I think Berroco Remix might work? A nice soft tweedy non-wool blend, I think it would hold up fairly well… Comes in a great color range too.

  6. Jenn

    I made a pair of socks out of Trendsetter Kashmir worsted weight. They were absolutely delicious.

    You might also look at a bamboo-silk blend, like Ella Rae Bamboo Silk.

    Or you could be utterly decadent and look at 100% silk. It’s an excellent insulator and kind to delicate feet.

  7. Amy Post author

    Update: thanks to the tips so far, I’ve found two (very old, since it’s long discontinued) balls of Artful Yarns Candy and ordered them.

    Also looking at:
    Knit One Crochet Too Wick (only one variegated colorway, but it’s a pretty one!)
    https://www.shopatron.com/products/productdetail/part_number=YRNWICK-429/703.0

    Crystal Palace Cotton Twirl (to be hand dyed by a goddess of color)
    http://www.straw.com/cpy/yarns/cotton_twirl_card.html

    And have asked Berroco about their Comfort Sock possibly coming out in a heavier weight. It’s the only sock of all non-wools I’ve seen that has the printed look you get with Regia, etc. But it’s too fine for this purpose.
    http://www.berroco.com/shade_cards/comfort_sock_sh.html

    Keep the tips coming!

  8. Amy Post author

    Oh, dear. K1C2 Wick is discontinued. If you want some, grab it while you can. Such is the way of the yarns.

  9. Beth

    Mohair is perfect for socks. It’s soft, hard-wearing, and has anti-bacterial wizardry built in. Allegedly, truck drivers are fond of mohair socks as they don’t wear into holes on the sole of the accelerator foot.

    I’m afraid all my sources are UK or Euro-based but I just found this one via Google…
    http://www.localharvest.org/mohair-sock-yarn-C14135

    good luck in your search

  10. Vismajor

    I’m a fan of Cascade Fixation: DK weight, 98% cotton, comfortable to knit with & wear, and sturdy for socks. They’re my go-to boot socks.

  11. Raymonde

    Have you thought of wearing a thin pair of socks, also called liners, under your thick socks? Sock liners are thin, lightweight wicking socks designed to be worn right next to your skin. These liners wick sweat away from the surface of your foot to keep you dry and more comfortable. Liners also limit the amount of abrasion between your outer sock and your skin. They are designed to be worn under other socks. I also have VERY sensitive feet, or should I say very sensitive skin on my feet and wearing two pairs of socks allows me to walk for miles without any discomfort, or blisters! :-)

    1. Amy Post author

      it’s a good idea. are there socks made specifically as liners? can you share any links? this might work with regular non-wool fingering weight sock yarns for me!

      1. AmberSchiwi

        outdoor equippers might stock on silk sock liners and there are socks for people with skin conditions like neurodermitis who wear undies and socks with silver ions

  12. Janelle

    How about Cascade Pima Tencel? Not normally a sock yarn but it would feel fabulous on the feet.

    One of my favourite non-wool sock yarns is S.R. Kertzer On Your Toes Bamboo. Maybe used doubled?

  13. Christine

    Hands down… Berroco comfort. Comes in lots of different weights, wears like iron, completely machine washable. And you can get pretty much any color your heart desires. Have fun!

  14. Elizabeth Risch

    I was wondering if something like Rowan Calmer, or Knit Picks has some new non-wool yarns would be acceptable. I love your new shoes, BTW.

  15. Michelle

    Ooo – I wish I’d looked earlier. Successful trip to LYS for materials for UK size 14 knee highs. Saw v.v. lovely recycled cotton + acrylic that wd fit the bill (I think). It knits as aran, but can’t remember the name. Oops!

  16. Emma (Kesal)

    It’s fignering weight, but I definitely recommend Ixchelbunny’s bamboo/bunny/nylon (and sometimes silk) blends. http://www.ixchelbunny.blogspot.com.au/
    It’s gorgeous to work with – I have several projects with it that need updating.

    See the cable socks I made here http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kesal/lady-man-cable-socks
    They feel thick and cushy, but are neither too hot or cold. My feet always feel amazing while and after wearing them.
    They’ve also gone in the washing machine (cold only) on several occasions, no harm done.
    They don’t seem to wear through as other bamboo sock yarns I’ve used (ie Wendy Happy), and they don’t droop as you wear them. The bunny gives it more ‘memory’.

  17. Emma (Kesal)

    Oh, and thank you for this thread, I have a wool allergy too, and finding suitable sock yarn alternatives has been interesting. I don’t always want to use the same two yarns!

  18. Emma (Kesal)

    My comment with links and suggestions went missing. Here’s what I can remember:

    My favourite sock yarn is Ixchelbunny’s Bamboo Bunny Nylon (sometimes with silk). You can find her blog here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kesal/lady-man-cable-socks I bought some more off Charly last weekend, so I’d say she still has some in stock. It’s definitely worth contacting her to find out what colours she has.

    My Cable socks on Ravelry were made from it: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kesal/lady-man-cable-socks

    While it’s definitely a fingering weight yarn, I continued the cable down the front of the foot, and they are quite a bit more bulky than normal socks.
    With the bunny added, they have more memory than your average bamboo socks (in fact I don’t think these droop at all), and mine look good as new despite several trips through a (cold) washing machine.

  19. Gwendolyn

    Hey, you might try http://whimzypinzycreations.biz/
    Her cotton sock yarn is heavier than most others I’ve seen/worked with. I don’t know about her current base, but it sounds similar. We used to sell her yarn at the LYS I taught classes at. And pretty hand dyed colors too!

  20. Diane

    It’s not an indie yarn, but I really like Knit One Crochet Too “Wick”. I’ve made a few pairs out of this; it’s essentially a worsted weight and the breatheability of the yarn is great. Nice elasticity so it stands up to being a sock. Mine were simple ribbing, short row heel. Enjoy!

    1. Amy Post author

      I like it too, but just learned it’s discontinued. Maybe go hunting and stock up before it’s gone.

  21. Johnnie Boughner

    For years now, on the advice of my dermatologist, I have double-socked it. The inner sock is a thin bamboo blend with an anything I want sock on the outside. Comfy, my feet stay dry and I haven’t had a blister in forever.

  22. mollysusie

    I have no sock yarn advice but I’m lurking with great glee … I must have wussy baby princess feet too because although I’m usually fine with the wooliest of wools, my feet are not. Which I did not find out about until after painstakingly knitting my first pair of socks in super expensive (I believe $32) sock yarn and wearing them for approx 2.2 seconds. Still meaning to pull those babies apart and make a shawl.

  23. Booklish

    Check out SRL on your toes bamboo by Kertzer. It’s 75% bamboo 25% nylon. I used it to make a pair of socks for my Mom who is allergic to wool. She loves them, and it was nice yarn to knit with too! http://www.kertzer.com

  24. Catherine

    Kollage Yarns Luscious. 63% cotton/37% nylon elastic. It’s the only cotton yarn I can stand to wear, and I’ve tried a LOT of them. It’s 345 yds to 100 grams, so the heavier side of fingering weight, and I’ve found it plumps up a bit after washing. Doesn’t fit in my regular shoes. Comes in lots of nice solid colors, and some multis, too.

  25. quinn

    I like Fixation, and it makes quite a thick and cushy sock…sounds like just the thing for your gorgeous Blueberry Shoes!

  26. Erika

    Here’s another fiber to consider:corn!

    I think Kollage’s Corntasic is quite soft. It would make great socks! (DK weight)

  27. Zelda

    Couple of knitters at my LYS have made beautiful socks with Pediwick from Knit One Crochet Two, a bamboo/nylon blend. Only solids, but a decent color range. It’s surprisingly squishy for the fiber profile.
    Hope you find a winner!

  28. Susan

    Its nice to see so many nice comments about Fixation; I made socks out of it and they shrank when I washed them. What is the secret for avoiding shrinkage? Thanks.

  29. Krysta

    Another vote for Cascade Fixation here! Such a lovely sock yarn. Cotton and elastic, and is nice and thick and cushy

  30. SarainBrooklyn

    I love the sock-liner idea, and it could look amazing with the shoes and some fabulous lacy hand-knit sock – even if the liner colors are limited. Great idea for the nonwool knitter, but also would permit the wool-enabled to extend the lacy-socks season.

    Can’t wait to hear which of these yarns you try/love!

  31. Janice D

    No suggestions, just a big thank you! I have really flat feet and have been wearing orthotics since I was 12 (that means 40 years). The prescription ones are pricey, even with health insurance, so I’m always looking for alternatives. I couldn’t wear sandals for years until I found out about Birkenstocks. I had no idea they made insoles. Huzzah! Good luck with your sock yarn selection.

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