Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuffy Socks: Free Pattern

I'm often asked, usually at this time of year, for a recommendation for a thick sock yarn.

There seem to be two common motivators: knitters are seeking a yarn that will make warm boot socks for the encroaching winter. And they are also seeking a yarn that will knit up quickly, for gift knitting.

My favouritest thick sock yarn is Briggs & Little Tuffy.  Briggs & Little, based in New Brunswick, is the oldest continuously operated wool mill in Canada.  Operating for over 150 years, they produce classic wool yarns and blankets woven from their wool.

Now, here's the thing about Tuffy: It's hard-wearing yarn spun tight and blended with nylon for long-lasting socks.  It's machine washable, and very easy-care.  And it comes in a wide range of classic colours. But soft it is not.  It's woolly.  Boot-sock woolly.

Also in its favour is the unbelievably low price: $5.99CDN for a skein, purchasable online from Ram Wools in Winnipeg.  1 skein will make a pair of women's medium socks; anything larger requires two skeins.  Still a bargain. And they will last you a lifetime, I guarantee it.

I'd heard rumours about the wonderfulness of this yarn, but was having trouble finding it in Toronto.  A couple of years ago a student found me a couple of skeins at Spun Fibre Arts in Burlington. I was easily able to get two pairs out of those two skeins, and wore them to death in my boots last winter. My feet were warm, well-protected and comfy.

Prompted by a student in a recent sock class, I've written up my pattern and made it available for free.  Download now, from Ravelry.  Naturally, there are multiple sizes: Women's S, M, L, covering US shoe sizes 5 to 10, and Men's S and L, covering US shoe sizes 6 to 12.

So whether you're in a rush to finish up a holiday gift, or just need a pair of socks for the oncoming snow, your needs are taken care of.

I do regularly rave about the yarn, and another student of mine was recently visiting family in New Brunswick, and she brought me three skeins back! These are screaming out to be made into a pair of striped socks, don't you think?


cal said...

ooh! i've been wanting to make some hard-wearing boot socks! i have many pairs of thick wool socks from Ireland that i wear all the time. they are not yarn i would consider super soft, but on my feet i don't notice. they are starting to wear thin so i need some replacements! thanks for sharing the pattern. oh, and the "download" link isn't working!

Maureen said...

Hey Kate

As it happens I recently inherited 61/2 skeins of Tuffy-not the nicest colour but wearable as boot socks. Thanks for the pattern. I will happily donate 3 of the skeins for your use if you want them. My way of apologizing for polluting your brain with the crazy mohair fetish site. I can drop them off at the Purl for you if you would like.



V said...

I cannot believe that I was in NB this spring and didn't go look up Briggs and Little. For shame. For. Shame.

Dina-Purls said...

Now the Briggs & Little is one yarn I can find in my little town. And I can attest to the wool's hardiness. Last year I made a pair of mitts with the Tuffy. By mistake they went into the dryer a few times and emerged relatively unscathed.

And thanks for the free pattern.Its already in my Rav library. :)

Anonymous said...

If you're ever in the Quinte area, the Knitting Nimrod in Belleville has a whole stack of Tuffy yarns for 6 bucks. Thanks for the free pattern, it's exactly what I was looking for!

Anonymous said...

I live in NB quite close to the mill. Once per year they have a large sale including seconds (colors not quite right) at half price. I always stock up. Tuffy makes great heavy socks.