The 1995 Sock Yarn Review

In 1995, before the World Wide Web was up and running, there were sock knitters. Spread around the world, they were in contact because of a LISTSERV program hosting a email list called KNITLIST. This list I belive still exists today, linking thousands. But then it was strictly ASCII, no attachments. By then we had been back living in Germany for a couple of years. I light heartedly wrote a review of a number of sock yarns, most of which were not available in the US or Canada. I was still taking real pictures, if that gives you an idea of the technology of the times

After Emily launched Woolworks she posted the infamous review. It still still shows up regularly when someone Googles for me.

The Original Sock Yarn Review
Like the rest of you, I do not have a lot of spare time. I had been thinking about updating this review for several years. 23 Feb 07 I cleaned closets. And in doing so, located a number of the socks from the review. A few are now orphans. I think I can even put my hands on a 1995-6 picture of a number of the socks. So I thought you might appreciate an update, 2007 style: on the web, complete with links and pictures.

But first, the Ultimate Socks!
Ruth, please take a bow!

Socks from Ruths Hanspun

Socks from Ruths Hanspun

Having only talked to each other over email, I received a package in the mail from California. Opening it I found four colors of extremely fine, plyed yarn. There was plenty of white, and a lesser amount of three natural greys. They called out “socks!” to me, and I made up a pattern, kntting the sock with a dutch heel and a star toe. Since then they have been worn every winter. I took them with me to the field: to Grafenwoehr March 1998 when it snowed during our preparations for Bosnia, to Norway in 2000, on a winter exercise to keep my toes warm in the evenings and to the US multiple times. They have been primarily hand washed and hung to dry, dozens of times.

Top of page
Now – The Original Review

with as many pictures as I could find from the time
Holly Doyne’s reviews of various sock yarns

(The following text is from a knitlist post from Holly Doyne. Prices are in German currency.)

After completing another pair of socks thought that I would post a summary to all of you.

Sock weight 75%wool/25%nylon, 28-30/10cm, 2.5-3mm needles. Comes in lovely colors, both solids and multis – a delight to knit with. The kids’ socks have now been through the washer and dryer 20+ times – are holding up well – but am seeing some significant pilling. 210m/50gm. 8.95-10.95DM/100gm

Same content, etc as above. Has become my favorite. Feels a little softer to knit with and doesn’t pill as much with handling and washing and drying. Not quite the same range of bright multis – but some great ragg and heathers. 8.95-9.95DM/100gm

4 fadig [ply]. Same content as above. A little stiffer a yarn to knit with; not as soft even after multiple washings. No significant pilling. Seems to want to knit more on the smaller needles. 5.25-6.50DM/50 gm; greatest color range available in my area. (Editor’s note: Holly lives in Heidelberg, Germany.)

As above. A slightly more plasticy feeling yarn. A store brand in Kaufhof. Moderate range of traditional colors only. My son’s pair have stood up to being in and outdoor “where are your shoes, young man” socks. Great buy at 3.95/50gm

Content, gauge, etc., as above. A slightly softer-feeling yarn that knits best on 2.5 needles for kids wear. The girls’ favorite combinations of purple and pink. 10+ washes still looks good. 4.95-5.75DM/50gm

Muellers – store brand.
Mid range of colors – again feels a little more plasticky than some of the others, but my demin lace ones (the girly girl socks from that Spinnoff issue) are great. At 2.95-4.25DM/50 gm the best buy around.

Not impressed – great bright colors, but the yarn did not feel as substantial, and it split. Did not hold up in the kids’ heels without the extra strand and I got complaints about stiffness with it.

Got some great colors. It splits, badly. nice feeling yarn, but the splitting was a real pain. Will give you a follow up in a couple of months about how it wears.

Have also looked at the Socka Cotton. Knitted up, it looked more like sweatsocks. I have some of Junghans cotton to try – but I really like wool socks.

Best all around so far?

Handspun from Ruth Hiebert – fun to knit with – feels great – but I do have to hand wash. (I’m not going to felt these babies and have one of the kids take them because they are too small for Mom.)

Large amount of clapping for Ruth please!

As you can tell – I am having lots of fun doing socks – there are lots of yarns available. And I have a couple baskets of sock yarns “incubating.”

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