Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Sock Drawer Project

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.


Rayna said...

You have the patience of a saint!

Just sayin'!

Catherine said...

That yarn looks perfect for your inner socks. I love alpaca but not knitting in black too much. I would be alternating the black with something bright

KarenJ said...

I'm with Rayna! What an undertaking! But why not branch out? They don't all have to be black, do they? Just because nobody will see it doesn't mean you can't wear pretty underwear. Why not some bright undersocks? Have some fun? How about odd undersock days, one green one purple?

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's dedication! But I'm sure your feet will thank you, so in a way, I'm jealous! :-)

TracyKM said...

Ooohh, I got all excited when you said you got the socks at Simon's in Montreal as I know someone who shops there...I too have very cold feet (thyroid issues). I don't usually layer socks as I don't have thin socks that I like (just some nylon/acrylic cheapy socks). I think my LYS carries this yarn, and I could knit them on my knitting machine! I'm finding that even my 75% wool socks are not warm enough for me anymore, and my two pairs of 100% wool don't seem warm enough either. I guess I will HAVE to buy some new sock (alpaca) yarn!