The search for non-wooly sock yarn continues because the Mata Hari socks must be mine :). I have such a crush on them!

Thank you, everyone, for continuing to suggest yarns, both by leaving comments and sending e-mails. I’ve started to compile a list of non-wooly yarns which can/might work for socks, based on personal knowledge and your suggestions. I hope that it will be helpful to other knitters, and also it will allow you to see which yarns I already know about. The list, which I intend to update as I learn about new yarns, is here.

In my quest for Mata Hari yarn, I came across the Greenwood Fiberworks site on etsy. I was intrigued by the hand-painted cotton/lycra sock yarns offered, and decided to place an order for the Penelope colorway as soon as I learned that the yarn is fingering weight, and 96% cotton, 4% lycra.

My yarn arrived on Saturday, and I was immediately impressed by everything.

First, everything was packaged with the utmost care – the yarn was carefully wrapped in tissue paper, the free sock pattern was enclosed in a plastic sleeve, and Carolyn included a business card, and a hand-written letter. That’s right, a letter! Not just a little scribble on the invoice, “thanks for your purchase, I hope to do business again,” but a letter addressed to me, expressing her gratitude for my purchase, asking for suggestions, offering a discount on future purchases (he!).

Second, I’m very impressed with the yarn.

It’s thin, I like the colors, and I think it will make great socks (I’ll report more once I actually knit with it). The yarn is highly textured, so I don’t think it will work for anything more complicated than stockinette, ribbing, and possibly Mata Haris. Plus it’s kind of self-striping*. That’s a bummer for what I have in mind at the moment. BUT if I need to knit a simple sock, yeah, this yarn is highly promising.

And two more heart-warming tidbits – the yarn smells really good… fruity? maybe like cherries or something. Also, Carolyn has enviously beautiful handwriting.

I’m such a sucker! Spritz anything with some body spray and have a third-grade teacher write me a letter, and I’ll just hand over my wallet. Okay, not really, but the little things do make this generally depressing experience of looking for non-wooly sock yarns better :).

*I had e-mailed Carolyn with some suggestions earlier today, and she just wrote back – she seems receptive to dyeing some of this yarn in solid colorways! Yay!


22 thoughts on “Heart-warming

  1. Christina

    Dear Kathy,

    Have you used WiseNeedle.com as a resource for finding thin cotton blend yarns in solid colors? I use the site for reviews on yarn. I hope your quest becomes fruitful!

  2. Christina

    I was looking on Elann, and there are two yarns that might work by the same company: Silk City Soft Stretch and Bounce. Both are mostly cotton; Soft Stretch has 4% elastic and Bounce has 25% nylon. The only problem is that Elann only has Soft Stretch in a dark green and both yarns only come coned, so you have to buy a lot of yarn at once.

  3. Erin

    I am planning on making Mata Hari socks too! I actually just finished another of craftoholic’s sock patterns. I look forward to seeing how yours turn out.

  4. Agnes

    This is just great. I went to her etsy shop a while ago and was interested in her cotton yarn … just not in need enough to buy any. Now I know I am going to get a scientific report on the yarns! 😉

  5. Beth S.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pair of socks knitted from such highly textured yarn. This is going to be fascinating to observe. 😉

    Fantastic color, too–it doesn’t get any more springlike than that splendid lady-slipper pink!

  6. Jennifer

    I bought some yarn from her as well, and was similarly impressed and happy with the purchase. You say she may dye in solid colors? Yay!!!

  7. debra

    Gorgeous yarn! Would it help at all to break up the self-striping tendency by knitting from two skeins at the same time, ie. alternating the skein every row or second row? Looking forward to seeing this develop.

  8. Edna Hart

    The Cotton Blend List for Socks is so HELPFUL. I have worked with calmer and it is GREAT. Soft, Soft, Soft and it has just enough memory. The only short coming is it only comes in 6 colors and they are all solid colors. There is a pattern on the blue blog–alisons’s ankle socks if you would like a cute pattern for summer. I have knitted 2 pair in the Koigu and Love them. Always Wash in Eucalan and they feel like silk.


  9. Susan

    How about the Knitty Broadripple pattern? The original Fixation is fairly textured, although not as much as that appears to be, but still might work. There is a version for fingering weight too.

  10. Ialiuxh

    I signed up for an Etsy account so that I could drop an email to Carolyn. I let her know that I was referred to her yarn by Grumperina and that I would be very interested in a 96% cotton, 4% lycra sock yarn dyed in a solid color. I even offered to pay in advance. Thanks for suggesting another yarn resource!

  11. Ialiuxh

    The cotton yarn is definitely not dyed with kool-aid. It doesn’t work. Cotton is a plant fibre and Kool-aid needs a protein (animal, such as wool, alpaca, mohair) fibre to fixate the colour. I learnt this from experimentation before researching on the internet and finding out the truth. On the other hand, RIT dye works exceptionally well on cotton yarn with no weird after smells after washing in laundry soap. RIT dye is very simple to use and available just about everywhere.

  12. Mary

    Thanks a million, Kathy, for that list of non-wool sock yarns. I was on just such a quest recently and my list is much shorter, (and not blogged), so I really appreciate your documenting it here for those of us who are hot-natured and not interested in sweating through our hand-knits. Rest assured I’ll be checking back to see your updated additions to and reviews of these yarns. You rock! 🙂

    (I’m looking forward to the upcoming fiber festivals so I can get my hands on some BMFA Sock Candy. Here’s hoping they get it on their website soon).

  13. Debi

    I’ve knit socks with Lana Grossa Elastico Print and was very pleased! Very soft, decent memory, pretty colors. Not “perfect” sock yarn but quite nice.

  14. Christine

    Here are the Sock Candy Stats per the label:

    200 yards/ 2 oz.

    96% cotton/ 4% elite.

    Hand Wash in Cold Water, Use mild Detergent and do not soak.

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