Monday, October 12, 2009

Sock Yarn Review: The Wear and Tear Test

Ok, so no pictures even though I can tell you the mittens are nearly done. I think Donegal is coming out of hiding again now that it's getting cooler in the apartment and I can stand to have the heavy thing on me again. But this post is not about that. This post is a review of every sock yarn I have used so far for socks for me and how it has held up over the last 4 years of sock knitting. Note: I have used other sock yarns, but they have been given away as presents, so I cannot judge them since I don't know how they were cared for by the gift receiver.

Sock yarns being reviewed:
Schoeller and Stahl Fortissima Socka 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamide
Opal Rainforest (and other opal stuff) 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamide
Knit Picks Essential (Stroll) 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon
Knit Picks Simple Stripes 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon
Lana Grossa Colortweed 80% Pure New Wool, 20% polyamide
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon
Tempted Glam Grrl 63% Superwash Merino, 20% silk, 15% nylon, 2% silver

All socks have been handled the same way. I never hand wash socks, so they all have been thrown and beat up in the same washing machine and have all had equal wear.

Ok, on to Fortissima Socka:

This yarn has worn beautifully. Aside from the fact that I know these were my first pair of socks, anyone else would never know. The instep has had one hole, but I have a feeling that came into being more because it was my first sock and I may not have knit it as securely as I should have. No fuzzies. This is not a super soft yarn, but it can take a beating.


Again, not the softest yarn out there, but they have worn beautifully. No fuzzies at all. Good workhorse yarn if you're not wanting to pamper and go the merino route. My Opal socks have never had holes pop up.

Knit Picks Essential or Stroll:

They changed the name this year but have not changed the make up. This is the newest yarn for me to try and while they feel wonderful on the feet, this yarn has led to fuzz central. I've never had a merino sock yarn pill that much. Not sure if this will stop after I shave them, but will make an update if that does end the problem. The yarn did felt a little bit. I sweat a ton on my feet.

Knit Picks Simple Stripes:

Very similar to opal as far as wear. Did get some holes on the bottom of the foot. Darned fine though and still useable

Lana Grossa Colortweed:

Another workhorse yarn. Has worn well. Wish I had made my socks smaller because this yarn stretched out on me for some reason. Socks are too loose for these to make it into normal rotation much, but they do get used as house socks. Not sure if the growing was because of me or because of the yarn itself.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock:

I love this yarn as most of you already know. However, this yarn has not been wearing well for me. It's a weird phenomenon too. If the yarn has purple in it, it has felted and the socks have shrunk on my foot significantly. However, all the other colors have weathered well and have not shown signs of felting. I did lose 2 pairs of monkey socks to the felting phenomenon though after wearing them for about a year. The socks will fuzz some, but nothing like the Knit Picks. I think it's more just a merino thing.

Tempted Glam Grrl:

Who doesn't want sparkles in your socks? Only bad thing is that I'm rough on socks. These socks lasted less than a year for me before the soles were down to just nylon thread. Love the yarn, love the look, don't care for the short lifespan.

Hope this has been informational to someone out there :oP These are just my opinions and observations, so yours may be different. Leave me a comment about your favorite sock yarn and how well it wears. If I get a trip back to the States anytime in the near future, I may check it out!

Knit on...


Dana said...

I've not had many do badly over time, except for Cherry Tree Hill supersock. I've made 4 pairs out of this yarn and every single one has faded to dull, monochromatic shades (and they were once vibrant) and has felted like crazy. I made Chris a pair for his birthday last year and they didn't even last one wash- felted right in his shoes! I'll do a post like this on my own blog in the next couple of days for the yarn I've used... I need time to think back and try to remember. :) Keep an eye out! :)

Janis said...

I handwash my socks, but I still have felting with some. Ones that you should probably stay away from are Dream In Color Smooshy (I get pills like a mofo) and Apple Laine Apple Pie (lots of color loss and some of the content seems to have felted, but it is all odd).

Ones I'm conflicted about is Cherry Tree Hill. Love the socks and the yarn, but they've almost worn out in the heel. This may be due to knitting them a needle size up to get the pattern to fit. Also a pair I've knit in Trekking XXL might be better if I'd gone down a needle size. Unsure about them.

Great performers have been ONline Supersocke, Misti International (alpaca!), and Regia. I think of all of those the Regia looks just about as good when I finished them.

Janis said...

Oop, addendum. Lana Grossa Megaboots stretch have also performed admirably. I went down a needle size and they are ultra nice to wear.

AmberCake said...

Super useful, thank you. I second or third or whatever the thumbs down on Cherry Tree Hill. Got some because everyone loved it, and am about to go through the third round of darning them... or throw them out.