It's no secret that a) it's cold where I live, b) my feet get cold very easily, and c) I love knitting socks.
A couple of weeks ago I finished a pair of socks made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine.
I've been wearing them as often as possible - hand-washing them at night rather than waiting for the weekly darks load - to test how they wear.
The yarn is a terrific blend - 50% wool, 30% nylon to keep them hardwearing - and this is the important bit - 20% alpaca for warmth. And holy cow, they are indeed very warm. And they're wearing well, too. The yarn has "fuzzed up" a little, but I don't mind.
Because of my cold feet, I layer socks. Between November and March I wear two pairs of socks every day - a thin store-bought pair of black wool socks under a (typically brightly coloured) hand-knit pair. The inner socks are a fine ribbed sock, very much like a men's dress sock, that I found at Simon's in Montreal some years ago. They're absolutely brilliant, and over a few business trips I bought myself 12 pairs. After 8 or 10 years, a couple have gone missing, and the rest are starting to wear out. I put a call into a friend in Montreal, but he wasn't able to find them for me.
(And yes, this means that I buy my winter shoes in a size larger than my summer shoes.)
I was starting to worry about what my sock layering strategy would be... but then I finished this pair. It hadn't occurred to me that I could knit the inner-layer socks, because I wasn't sure I could make them fine enough to fit under another pair. But this yarn is my answer!
The Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine is indeed quite fine - finer than most other sock yarns I've worked with. I knitted these socks snug (knowing that they'd be very stretchy because of the alpaca content), and they have turned out to be the ideal inner layering sock.
So now I have cooked up a plan.
I'm going to buy up a whole ton of this yarn and knit myself a whole new set of layering socks. Once I've finished up the two brightly coloured pairs currently on my needles, it's nothing but plain black socks for a while. By the time next winter rolls around, I should be ready.