Monday, July 31, 2006

Voulez-vous tricoter avec moi ce soir?

This a short entry because I have to go shave my head. Around here, that's the equivalent of visiting the colorist or getting a comb-and-blow-out.

I want to look my best, such as it is, because tonight's the "Meet the Bloggers" event at Arcadia Knitting (1613 W. Lawrence). The party officially begins at 7 p.m., though I intend to arrive early and put a considerable dent in an Arcadia gift certificate I got from a lady in my office.

There are going to be prizes and food and who knows what else. Pin the tail on the blogger? I'm tossing two signed and matted cartoon prints into the prize mix.

Unfinished Objects With Which I Am Cohabiting: First in a Series

Don't pay any attention to my little works-in-progress list in the sidebar. It's about as up-to-date as a Vogue fall preview from 1983. I'll get to it, I'll get to it.

What I'm really working on right now is this:



For those who live in the Amazon jungle and go barefoot all the time, it's a sock. Not my first sock, technically, as long ago I did great violence to my soul by knitting one as dictated by the multi-page Queen's English formula in Mary Thomas's Knitting Book. I've always been a fan of working from historic sources, and wanted to knit a sock the way it might have been done in England during World War II. By the time I finished the heel turn I was wishing for a direct hit from a German mortar.

So I took a break, and left socks alone until the last night of Knitting Camp, when I measured my foot and cast on, this time following the more gentle path of Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks, a present from good ol' Ted. And wouldn't you know, this time it's fun. So much fun I can't put the thing down. As you can see, I'm on the home stretch for the toe shaping.

While we're on the subject of socks, I'd like to say a word, if I may, to the yarn shop owners out there.

Hi! I'm a man! I'm finding I like sock knitting quite a bit. I am prepared to lay out serious cash in order to acquire good sock yarn for future projects.

Unfortunately, in your shops all I find are self-patterning sock yarns and sock yarns in "fun" variegated colorways.

As mentioned above, I am a man. As a man, I would prefer not to wear socks in "fun" colorways. I do not seek enjoyment from the wearing of my socks. They need not be "fun." On the contrary, I would prefer that my socks conduct themselves at all times with the sober dignity of a Shaker eldress. I have no use for socks with precious little hearts or snazzy lightning bolts on them. I do not wish for socks that recall the dazzling palette of Monet. I want socks that are, for example, black. Or gray. Or navy blue.

No, not black with "fun" variegations of purple. Just black. Or gray. Or navy blue. Brightly colored socks are one of the signs of a cad, and I don't want to give myself away so easily.

Please, for the love of God, consider giving over six inches of precious shelf space to plain, male-oriented sock yarns, so that I can knit socks I can wear. For reference, this colorway is borderline acceptable and will probably still have to live mostly inside a nice, tall engineer boot.

And please don't suggest that I could knit socks in "fun" colorways for my mother and sister. My mother won't wear wool next to the skin and my sister can knit her own socks.

Thank you for your kind attention.

101 comments:

Sister Sue said...

Your sister is, by the way, in the very act of knitting her own first sock. How timely. I am not nearly so far along as you, and I am not in love with the pattern I'm using, so I appreciate the tip in your entry.

Is that the yarn you got while in Maine? What yarn does the Harlot use for her husband's socks? She wrote of knitting dress socks for him, and I don't get the sense that Joe like 'fun' colorways!

Faustus, M.D. said...

How can you object to socks in fun colorways? I'm beginning to suspect you're not really gay.

jill said...

I adore that book. And I have some issues with the "fun" colorways as well. Also, I may be female, but anyone who foists cute little hearts on me in any form can kiss my ass.

DianeS said...

Good point...I know that my hubby would absolutely not wear a sock in a "fun colorway". A few stripes at the cuff might be OK, as long as they are in the black, navy, gray or brown range.

I once made a pair of socks from a yarn called "Yarn for Sox" (strangely enough). It came in slightly heathered colors and have worn like iron, so if you every see any, pick it up. Other tips...check out what Schoolhouse Press has, look at fingering and sport weights for solids.

Tactless Wonder said...

I just finished that same pattern in what might be the same "family" of stripes, though my colorway is all about the pinks and purples...it is terribly fun being a girl, sometimes :).

I reccomend Wildfoote sock yarn by the Browne Sheep Co. They come in very somber colors, as well as "rock star" and such hand painted fun.
http://www.fiber2yarn.com/
catalog.php?category=Sock

Laura said...

I ended up ordering Knitpics Essentials yarn for my fella's socks (their Palette is also ok). I know some folks don't care for their yarns, but they haven't been bad for me so far.

Oh! And Dale Baby Ull. Also good for socks. And it comes in some nice neutrals and darker colors if you find a nice shop.

susan said...

Ah, oui, je l'aimerais bien. I am a woman, and I'm not thrilled with the variegated yarns, either. They'd have to be dressing my cold, dead body to put anything cute on me. Precious hearts? Perish the thought.

Since there's nothing of the cad about you, and we can't have you sitting about around wishing for incoming artillery fire, may I suggest Regia? Good quality wool, and sober as a judge. If it's not readily available in your shops, it certainly is by mail order. Check out a website, click, click, and wait for the nice man in brown.

I hope to have a chance to knit with you before camp next year, Franklin. Has your brain stopped hurting yet? Mine nearly has.

Susan from carpool

Anonymous said...

Franklin dear, I am about to divest my stash of several (how about a LOT) of very MACHO sock yarn - like browns, browns, browns, some greys, dark blues ... if any of that interests you, I would be happy to take pix and e-mail them to you for your buying pleasure -

best,
margaret in manhattan

LaurieM said...

There's tons of plain sock yarn out there. You may have to order it on line though. Personally, I buy very little sock yarn from my LYS. Most of it comes to me from the internet.

Judy said...

I was going to suggest KnitPicks Essential, but I see someone beat me to it. They have also just come out with a silk/wool blend sock yarn in boring, um I mean manly, colors as well. Unfortunately it's a hand wash yarn, and I refuse to hand-wash socks.

Mary Peed said...

I'm just finishing my 10th pair of socks in Paton's sock yarn. I got it at a nice craft shop, rather than a specialty yarn shop. They had it in many somber shades, including black, blue, brown and grey. Good luck...

Cheryl said...

I am with you buddy -- plain colored sock yarn would be very nice to find!!! My husband would never wear a FUN colorway --his wardrobe consists of blue jeans --grey t-shirts-- blue workshirts--ain the winter he dares to wear a maroon chamois shirt.

somebunnysloveDOTcom said...

I have some nice fingering weight merino in black, grey, and olive green that are perfect for socks and lace knitting. I will be glad to send you some if you are interested.
=:8

Valerie said...

The sock looks great!

I would also suggest Louet Gems, as it comes in a lot of nice solids and is the base yarn for some of the nice handpainted yarns out there (e.g., Koigu). It's also relatively inexpensive for a superwash merino. Some of the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck colorways are more muted and "masculine," if I may say so. They also have a solids line.

The Purloined Letter said...

Good job on the socks! Wish I could be there tonight to meet you.

As a Shaker wannabe myself, I have found decent plain sock yarn through Knitpicks.

Theresa said...

Since I've had to deal with this issue for my husband, a few suggestions (these are not all solids, but they are not wild or "fun" colorways, either:

Lorna's Laces in "Pin Stripe" -- black and grey stripes.

Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Midnight Sapphire -- dark navy blue background with some green/maroon highlights that are very hard to see unless you are very close to them.

I've found a couple of skeins of Trekking XXL that are striped but all in a grey to dark grey pallette.

And Elann's Esprit (a cotton/elastic blend) has a full complement of solids. And the yarn makes nice comfy socks or summer.

I also think there might be a few semi-solids in Blue Moon Socks that Rock that might be acceptable if you're cool with dark greens and blues and are looking for a hand-dyed sock yarn.

You might also give the guys at ThreadBear a call. They've, generally speaking, done a good job at stocking "manly" sock colorways.

Julie said...

In case you have not yet discovered the wonder that is elann.com, I suggest you check it occasionally for sock yarn. Apparently the discontinued and overstocked color palette is usually the manly colors-- blacks, greys, browns, tans, blues (with names like earth and graphite and polar ice)--that you would desire.

Ted said...

I also find it's really tough to get "masculine" colours for sock yarns. Much has to do with the available shelf space, with what sells, with what sells for the highest markup, and who's knitting for whom.

Paton's Kroy used to be very reliable for masculine colours: I remember when it came in white, cream, tan, 3 browns, 4 greys, black, pale and medium blues, and navy. Sometimes there was red (and it was a great red for socks) and sometimes there were a few greens, and then one year there was a fantastic brick orange. But Kroy is no longer what it once was: quality and colour range have deteriorated.

Regia has some solid colours, but your yarn shop is not likely to stock them, since they'll be selling the printed yarns. Perhaps people don't want to pay the same price for a solid colour as for a printed yarn?

The biggest problem I have with printed yarns is that I can barely get a pair from the standard-sized ball(s) -- and that's just for wearing in ankle-height shoes. I usually do the cuffs, heels and toes with solid colours. These are the high-wear areas, where darning is most likely to occur, so solid colours make sense. If I need even longer socks for wearing in boots, I guess that large chunks of the foot portion will be in a solid colour. I do root through the "odd balls" bins of larger yarn stores to find a single ball of a solid colour; sometimes it's been discounted in price, as well.

Of course, you and I could just learn to spin our own.

lb said...

I have gotten lovely solid coloured Tuffy sock yarn at Rams Wool (Google it - it's easy to find) which does an internet business. Good people with good attitudes and good yarn. I've also dealt with Grand River Yarns, which is on the 'net. The owner is honest and helpful. Here's a link: http://www.grandriveryarns.com/yarn-sock-index.htm

Pixiepurls said...

I had a solid socks knit a long last year :) hehe..

Also you should really try trekking, it has some manly colorways, which arn't solid but very manly.

You can get Koigu and Lorna's Laces sock yarn in solids over the internets but not normally in shops :)

Rhinbeck?? SAFF? Even at MDS&W I didn't see solid colored sock yarn. Most of the solid stuff is awful quality too.. unless it's those ones I just mentioned. Knitpicks is BLEH!

Jax said...

Briggs & Little Tuffy. Great stuff, plain colors. It's only suitable for rather heavy socks, but my knitting mentor swears by it. He is a retired mail carrier, so the man knows a thing or two about good socks.

Jean Humphreys said...

Sunbeam St. Ives is the yarn to use - wool with the all important nylon for reinforcement. BUT. . I am talking from the UK where it is available in many shops, and mail order from Texere Yarns. I don't know if they do mail order to the USA. Worth finding out, cos it comes in a lovely range of sober but subtle colours.

Jean Humphreys said...

Yes Texere do do overseas mail order.
Check out:
www.texere.co.uk

Aidan said...

I'm glad Ted got you SKS -- which I now just call "Charlotte Church's Sock Book". I like the book so much I have 2 copies -- one at work, in case I need it during lunch, and one at home.

Oh, how I envy your gift certificate. How very thoughtful of your co-worker. I can't seem to impress upon Myfanwe how very woderful a gift certificate to a yarn shop or Knitpicks would be.

See you tonight.

Mary B said...

Doncha just love that Charlene Schurch and that wonderful book? It's my fav sock book. I got a chance to take classes from her last February in Tacoma, and she is wonderful and energetic as can be and knows everything about socks.

And I'm with you on the sock yarn thing--that printed yarn was soooo last year. But have I got a yarn for you, Franklin--Regia has a new silk blend sock yarn out--it's silk and merino and only comes in plain colors. A lovely grey and a deep burgundy--made a pair for a male friend of mine who LOVED them, and they are so slinkly. Dressy and handmade at the same time.

I hear you on the LYS thing--yeah, we can get yarn on line, but I love to buy it in the shop. We just have to nag our LYS to get in what we want. Luckily here in Seattle we have a good choice.

Mary B in Seattle

PS Also try Nature Spun Sport for socks. Wears like iron and comes in lovely colors that will please everyone--have used it for socks for my sons who are NOT into the fun colorways either.

Luanne said...

Another good sock yarn that I've fallen for is Regia Silk... nice neutral solids and a dream to wear. I googled and found this http://www.woolneedlework.com/Yarn/Regia_Silk__by_Schachenmayr_Sock_Yarn.shtml

Carriellen said...

I see that several have already noted the Regia...may I just add that the Regia Silk is the absolute yummiest yarn to knit with EVER??? My husband also prefers solids and I've ordered lots of it from yarnforward-dot-com...very reasonable.

Jon said...

Oooh, I know what to bring you as a hostess giftie now....{giggle}

Carol said...

My dearest darling, you must only tell me exactly which colorways you'd like and I shall dye them forthwith. Wool/nylon blend or superwash merino. I am your slave.

Marilyn said...

I'm knitting socks from the Black Bunny Pansy Corriedale. There was a very good article on spinning sock yarn in a recent issue of Spin-Off. It can be done.

For solids, I like Lang Jawoll. And the variegateds are nice for men's socks too.

LornaJay said...

St Ives makes good 'solid' sock yarns. I don't know if there's a distributor in the US, but I've got a few kicking around here that I could probably send over. Email me your snail-mail address, and I'll scamper down to the Post Office.

Jean Miles has a good list of manly sock yarn suppliers, as she knits for her husband. jeanmiles.blogspot.com

Longhorn Diva said...

Decidedly uncad-like, and scrumptious as sin, is Classic Elite's Suri Merino. I made some clocked dove grey with white toes and heels for my guy, and they are heaven in disguise. The yarn is defintely a handwash, but knit on US2's it is strong-wearing, and belies the delicacy of it's fibers.

Good luck m'sieur, and my best to Ms. Van Hoofen.

JoVE said...

I have knit socks with Regia Silk. It is very nice. And comes in solid, conservative colours. I used a nice grey. I remember a darker grey and a burgandy colour. But my father commented on how nice the yarn felt so I am thinking I will knit him a pair for xmas. He doesn't want 'fun' socks either.

Also, if my LYS seems to have a good selection of solids in Lang Jawoll. You might also like that. And, believe it or not, Koigu comes in solids and even some sober colours.

TheAmpuT said...

Maybe you should dye your own..??

My two guys (a big one and a little one) both chose fun colors for their first pairs of socks, but they won't wear them to school or the office. Now that they have fallen in love with the feel of handknit socks, they are both asking for dress socks.

It took some hunting, but I did fine a couple of colorways in the stores (Lorna's Laces in Mineshaft and a few skeins of Trekking), but what I really want, and can't seem to find, is solid color sock yarn. Even with socks for myself I'd like some solids so that I can either create my own colorwork or have a plain background for an interesting pattern stitch.

I ordered some solids off the internet from a company I don't want to bash, but I found it quite scratchy once knitted up. So I'm still looking. Keep us posted please if you find something good!

Rachel H said...

Dear Franklin,

Please come and visit Toronto. We have 2 yarn shops I can think of right off the bat that have sock yarns to meet your needs.

Yours,

Rachel H

Vivienne said...

Nancy Bush's 'Knitting Vintage Socks' uses Sunbeam St Ives for quite a few patterns, so it ought to be available in the US.

But Texere are fabulous. I used to pass them a lot when I lived in Bradford. I also used to see lorries laden with fleeces heading for t'mills. Happy days.

Eve said...

I completely agree! I was looking for a solid sock yarn (granted, in bright green, but solid nonetheless) and all they had were self-striping yarns with those weird mottled black-and-white stripes in between red and green and yellow. You know the ones I'm talking about. I like a good self-stripe every once in a while, but if I want to knit a lacey sock I want the lace to win out, not the weird mottling.

Nancy said...

The best place ever to get sock yarn is http://theknitter.com

They have an amazing variety of sock yarn, some of which isn't even up on the website (which really has TONS), so if you're looking for something in particular, you might want to email her. Judy is fabulous at that kind of thing.

Cynthia said...

It isn't just men that don't want a riot of color and pattern in their socks! While I do have a few pair of "fun" socks, I really want solids. I love knitting socks, but don't due to the lack of wool, or I do for others. I prefer the Strong Heel because I hate picking up stitches. It is worth checking out. I got my pattern from (should I admit it here....) a Knitters mag a few years ago.

Natalie said...

I'm surprised no one else has mentioned Opal's solids yet. Check them out at http://ptyarn.com.

dana said...

at one point my husband had a goal of having all of his socks be hand knit by me. now his goal is to have only hand knit socks made from mountain colors bearfoot yarn. even though the colors are varigated, some of the colorways are somber. this yarn is readily available over the internet. nancy bush's vintage sock book has some great patterns that are not remotely cutesy...

Liz in NoWhere PA said...

My husband keeps touching the Brown Sheep Wildfoote Sock Yarn in Gunsmoke in my stash. Nothing else calls him

julie said...

you need to come visit Minneapolis - my lys has always had a comprehensive sock yarn section - with solids. and Baby Ull. and then there are the 25 other shops in the area.

Susan Williams said...

Have you seen the Perchance to Knit site? (She's the genious who did the peacock yarn for the Harlot) She has a GORGEOUS colorway just for you - yummy blacks and grays:
http://www.etsy.com/view_item.php?listing_id=344466
I'm also drooling over the amethyst, but (a) it's not sock yarn and (b) it might be just too pretty for a hunky, head-shaven, boot wearing guy!

catbookmom said...

Go check out the Devon yarn at Elann tomorrow. This is a new yarn for them, in solid colors that will be great for socks in 'manly' colorways.

Isela: Purling Sprite said...

while I love all the fun colourways, I have had a heck of a time finding neutral, solid colors. At last, I resorted into using Rowan 4ply soft--comes in great solid tones.

Jenipurr said...

I wish as well that yarn stores would dedicate more sock yarn space to less 'exciting' colors, since there are a lot of us who knit for men who share your dislike of bright colors and stripes and patterns and such (grin).

Anyway. If you get desperate, you might want to check your favorite online yarn retailers for the new line of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch Soft Color (This page has pictures of the entire line, knit up). They all seem very much designed with men's socks in mind.

kknippenberg said...

Ah yes, I think the sober ones have mostly been covered. Definitely Lang Jawoll solids, some subtle Trekking (Color 96, 102, etc.). And the Mountain Colors Bearfoot for L-U-X-U-R-Y. Delicious, rich, dark colors - Wow (although, depending on the size of your foot, you may need 2 skeins of Bearfoot per pair. I'm a woman's Size 8 and I got a pair of average calf length out of 1 skein EASILY). Here's a site with many choices, both Sober and fun:
http://the-knitter.stores.yahoo.net/sockyarn.html
Also, talk to blogger David Daniels http://cabincove.com/. He dyes and sells yarn and has done some darker, subtler colors in the past.

Ruth said...

I'm in Des Moines, IA, and yesterday visited the town's newest knitting store ... owned by a man ... which has a very nice collection of sedate sock yarns. Want me to pick some up for you?

badmommy said...

One more vote for the Regia silk - my husband doesn't like the cutesy stuff either, and they have a lovely gray/blue that he likes. It's also FABULOUS to knit with - feels great and knits up quickly.

Something else of interest for all the sock knitters out there: a sock knitting cruise next spring with all kinds of interesting events and people. See http://www.mycruiseplanner.net/?page=fp&id=11028 and http://www.seasocks.blogspot.com/

Jessica said...

We had shelves and shelves of sober, "normal" colored sock yarn. It never sold. It's all in the clearance bin now.

debsnm said...

You and I need to go shopping for sock yarn together, all I ever find are nice, boring things like black, blue, brown - I'd LOVE some nice, snazzy patterning sock yarn that has some heart and soul - not the horrible "colors" I'm finding.
BTW - knitting socks with ADD is NO FUN!!! Lots and lots of frogging, though!

Nancy said...

I'll second (or third) the recommendations for Wildfoote and Lana Grossa. There are some nice Regia colors as well, and they do a cotton blend that is nice.

Personally, I'd stay away from straight merino (e.g., Baby Ull), as it might not hold up as well as the sock yarns that have some additional fiber as well (usually polyester) added for strength.

Fiber goddess Judith MacKenzie-McCune recommends merino/silk. Also cashmere - she knit cashmere socks for her cowboy husband that hold up well, keep his feet warm out on the range in wintertime, and can even be machine washed and dried.

Andrea Rusin said...

Wildefoot? JaegerSpun? Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering or sport? Would any of those work? I have more than I'll EVER use, if you want some -in manly colors, I promise.

The Wildefoot blue is more royal blue than navy -which has proven to be a little too exciting for the men in my life. (They're a wild bunch!) So bear that in mind.

But I'm serious. I'll pop some yarn in the mail. It would be a charity to remove some visible guilt from the piles of unknit yarn around here.

All the Way With Knitting said...

Lol !...I havn't read all the comments but I am sure some-one has told you that "Lorna's Laces" do plain colours .I just can't help thinking you have an over romantic view of England .You think after your countrymen joined us the women were knitting socks ? No they performing "tasks" for you all to get stockings .That's how our men at the front knew ..the sock supply dried up but the women's clothes improved as did the population.

Susan said...

Try Astrid's Dutch Obsessions at
http://www.astridsdutchobsessions.com/scripts/default.asp

She carries a lot of the solid sock yarns at great prices including sock yarn with silk!

Also some nice muted stripes or heathered yarns.

Great 1st sock!

Norma said...

Patons makes a great line of wonderful plain sock yarns. I'm with you, and I'm not a man (at least I wasn't this morning).

So: Patons Kroy. And they come in awesome gray tweeds, etc. I'm looking at one in my stash called Glencheck. Awesome and plain and not clownish at all -- and soft, although I read a blogger describe it as "itchy" once, I had no idea what she was talking about. And they don't break the bank at all. I get mine at Beehivewool.com.

kbsalazar said...

I'm with you on te disappointment of not being able to find much in solid color sock yarns. My LYS also sells far more of the fancy stuff than the plain.

I recently used some toned down Socka that was a four-strand/two-tone ragg in greys. Because the strands wandered color to color independently, the finshed product ended up making a very stately slow progression from near charcoal to medium granite and back again, with no unsightly splotches or screaming bits, or contrasting color excesses. The final sock was dignified enough for my Dad to have worn.

Lang Jawoll, Silja and Sisu also come in a respectable range of respectable colors. But as you point out, "made in" and "easy to find in stores" are not always synonymous.

kbsalazar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wystful said...

It aggrevates me that "plain" conservative solid sock yarn colors are such a pain to find. I end up looking online. Hunter green is my favorite color - can't find it around here - just lime neon green - nice but hardly the same. Congrats on discovering the joys of sock knitting. I almost always have a pair in the works, since it travels well - it lives in the purse. I save the complexities of lace and the weight of sweaters and blankets for home knitting. Glad to hear you had so much fun at camp. I'm betting that Delores hasn't even recovered enough to remember the trip yet. ;)

Jen said...

Have a great time tonight! Sorry I won't be able to be there -- I have another meeting I need to go to. Rock on with your bad self! And say hi for me.

Cherrie said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra. I used Gunmetal Blue for my Dad. I found it at Simply Socks Yarn Company.

Sharon said...

As Cherrie said: Shelridge Farms Ultra at Simply Socks Yarn Company. The husband's favorite socks, by far, are also made out of the gunmetal colorway. SSYC has appropriate colors in a variety of yarns.

Also, Nancy Bush has plenty of somber colors at The Wooly West and I recommend her latest book "Knitting Vintage Socks." Several nice patterns for the men-folk in man colors and patterns. She carries most of the yarns used in the book.

Kit said...

I look for the more somber colors as well. A good half of those I knit socks for are male, and they vary in their level of sock adventure. (My husband is fairly flexible because when someone notices his socks he brags that I made them for him.) My daughters, on the other hand, are consistently in favor of plain socks in black or grey. I can do interesting patterns for them, but not interesting colors. The cute colors go to the small nephews and nieces. Apparently solid sock preferences kick in about age ten. I've managed to convince my LYS that I buy solid color sock yarn.

KT said...

Funny, I find myself ranting about this pretty often. I can knit my own damn stripes if I want stripes! Stop trying to do it for me! Gah!

For my mother-in-law, I buy sockyarn from the LYS. For anyone who doesn't want pink-purple-aqua sparklies, I get it from Knitpicks. Or Etsy - there's a seller there who dyes his own yarn and often has manly colors. (CabinCove.com)

Tomme said...

Franklin, if no one's told you today, you are delightful! I'm a bit behind the times -- just started listening to Cast-On a couple of months ago and decided to start from the beginning, instead of working my way back. So I just listened to your episode and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. (Oh, and please, please do let us know if those double-pointed needles fall out of anywhere!)

Earin Marybird said...

I can see that you've had plenty of suggestions for manly sock yarn but heck, let me mention what I'm knitting for my husband who won't even wear muted green: Australian Merinos. Lovely stuff - I'm knitting his socks in a dark chocolate with very subtle variegation which blend in when knitted. No stripes, nothing stands out, and it knits like butter.

spininmamma3 said...

You can always spin your own sock yarn! There are great colors (yes I mean for a man) of superwash wool out there to spin. Even white! Spin, Spin!!!

ann said...

Wildfoote is quite nice. Their Gunsmoke grey makes a nice looking sock that looks quite nice with a suit type outfit. They used to make about twice as many colors, but then everyone went self patterning and it became harder and harder to find plain Wildfoote.

http://brownsheep.com/wls.htm

has the color card. I used to buy it mail order from Unique One in Camden Maine, but I don't see it listed there online any more. I was doing the "A time to knit stockings" socks and Wildfoote worked up beautifully in those socks. A quick google should find it, or your sister could reconnoiter the place for you!

I wouldn't use Baby Ull, it tends to bias on the ribbing and it would make you unhappy.

I have also used, with great happiness as it splits a wee bit less than Wildfoote, Stahl's Socka yarn and Socka Cotton. I know the 6 ply weight still has the solids, but the regular sock yarn seems to have all gone self patterning, so it may be hard to find the solids. A quick google tells me that Worldknit is closing out their sock yarn stock but they currently have the Wildfoote and the Socka in greys and other nice manly colors.

brewerburns said...

Franklin-- you're not the only person that wishes that yarn shops carried sock yarn in solid colors.

Stephanie said...

awesome sock, Franklin, and I'm feeling your pain about colorways. Have you completely given up on spinning? Why not spin your very own sock yarn? (will I have gone too far if I suggest dyeing- then spinning your own sock yarn??) ;)

Rabbitch said...

I take it that bright pink variegated yarn is out of the question, then?

Bother.

I'll have to see if I can catch the mail before it goes out ...

Jennie said...

If you do look for the Regia Silk, be careful--some skeins (Silk Shine?) have sparkly shit added in. Blech.

I second the recommendations for Mega Boots Stretch--I have some that is variegated but all browns--and the Lorna's Laces. I did a pair of socks in it (variegated) that are oh, so soft.

Susan said...

Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge MA has some lovely sock yarn that she dyes in both fun (my favorite) and more sombre (my husband's preference) colors--and they're superwash. You can get them thru her Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=40150

Sil said...

Well this stuff hollers dude socks somethin' fierce (yes I am from California, why do you ask?). http://yarnforward.com/regiasilk.html

No affiliation w/this company in the link, just like their swatches. Great yarn if you've not fondled it in person.

Wendy DG said...

First, I think your socks are great. And...I agree about the man socks. Sometime, we women also like to wear plain socks. Sometimes, we even like to knit black, gray, or blue socks as gifts for men.

Ann said...

Sock yarn in sedate colors can be purchased from www.smileysyarns.com

See Cervinia Calzetteria. It's $2.50 a ball (I get it in lots of 3 for Bigfoot-in-the-Basement's socks.)

Ignore the "funky random prints" and get yourself some navy and black and charcoal and denim.

You're welcome!

Mel said...

I'll second JoVE's Lang Jawoll recommendation. I bought a couple skeins in a very nice dark charcoal at the yarn closet in Portsmouth. Haven't knit them into anything yet, but I think they may be end up being my Sock Wars ammunition.Meilenweit Mega Boot Stretch also has some nice, subtle, masculine colorways, as does Trekking XXL (if you can find it in stock anywhere).

Mel said...

I would also like to point out that Shaker eldresses did not always conduct themselves with "sober dignity". They were called Shakers for a reason.

pacalaga said...

I think others have probably already mentioned this, but Knitpicks has several lines of fingering weight yarn in solids and tweedy colors. I have not tried their sock yarns myself, but I have tried others, and I like them very well so far.

CateK said...

My husband surely understands your disdain for "fun socks" and so I knit lovely socks for him, that he likes in boring colors like solid black, brown and navy. I usually use Opal Solids or Regia solids. I purchase via the internet most of the time because I'm so far away from normal civilization. Do a search for Opal or Regia, you should find some pretty easily.

no-blog-rachel said...

I'm knitting that exact pattern for my husband! He chose the yarn so I know he'll like them. Love that book.

I have found a few nice solids in Lorna's Laces. Briggs & Little makes some too, but they're a thicker, slightly coarser textured yarn; great for winter, not so much for milder weather.

Flemisa said...

Another book you might find interesting is Crazy Toes and Heels by Queen Kahuna, Mary Ann Beattie. She has a sock formula for any size, any gauge, any yarn with well illustrated, step by step instructions. Her web site is queenkahuna-creations.com.

The toe cast-on leaves a purl ridge which can be avoided by doing the toe up as described, with pictures, at www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/FEATmagiccaston.html.

I wear clogs so just do my own (Barbara G Walker) designs up the back of the sock. Also Cat Bordi's knitting 2 socks on circular needles so when I cast off I just have to thread in a few ends to have a pair of socks to wear.
Sockknitters group on Yahoo is also escellent.

Have fun. Look forward to seeing a modelled pair of socks.
Has Deloros put in her request? Those would be a fun pair(s) I am sure.

Mandella said...

I'd never thought of using Jaeger Matchmaker Merino until I read Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks, but I'm glad I did (both use the wool and read the book). Not a good choice if you want nylon reinforcement, but it does come in a wonderful selection of colours and it's sumptuously soft.

the fiddlin' fool said...

I would agree that the Net is probably the best place to get sock yarn, but sometimes you simply want that instant gratification. Have you checked out Loopy Yarns yet? They have a very good collection of sock yarn, probably the best in town. They're at the Harrison stop on the Red Line.

Jack said...

Franklin:

Please take out your "regicide scarf" and show it to me. I want to see how yours measures up to mine. I expect yours is bigger.

Lisa and Robb said...

What bothers me about all the self-striping and variegated yarns is that the patterns they produce are (to my eyes) UGLY.

I'm a good Fair-Isle knitter, so why would I want to knit a sweater featuring huge random blobs of color? Likewise the "kicky" sock yarns....uneven messy stripes that I have no control over?

No thank you.

Beverly said...

I thank you and more importantly my son thanks you for "a word to the yarnshop owners out there" about color and sock yarn. Adding my two cents: PLEASE yarnshop owners, some plain, sober, blue, gray, black, sock yarn for MEN!

Lee Ann said...

Courtesy of a very nice person in Toronto, I now have Fleece Artist sock yarn in black. Because apparently I give the impression that I don't wear anything but black. So Rachel H is right...Toronto is apparently the place to get what you want.

However, I have bought Regia Silk in a few Manly Man colours, and I haven't even gotten to the needle stage yet because I can't stop fondling it. If you do knit with it, prepare to be fondled.

(Hey, you pick your battles, babe. Fondling or Fake Fair Isle. Life's rough ;-))

Kit said...

Franklin, you need to get some Meilenweit Mega Boots, colourway #701 or #704. Manly, ultrasoft, and a joy to knit with. I'm making a pair for my honey in #704 (or maybe #704, I've lost the ball band) - see my blog at http://kits-knit-spot.blogspot.com/ and scroll down to July 6 for a (fuzzy) picture.

How can you not love something called Mega Boots?

Lavendersheep said...

I'm surprised that nobody mentioned the step yarn with aloe and jojoba sock yarn by Austermann. It comes in mainly man colors such as blue, grey, brown, etc. It stripes, but they are long manly stripes. It is also nice to knit with and feels good for the skin because it has aloe and jojoba in it.

Whining Procrastinator said...

Just this past Saturday I managed to walk about a mile in the hottest part of the day searching for a yarn shop I'd located via the internet. When I got there and told the proprietes that I was looking for sock yarn, she showed me her wall of ugly self-patterning yarn. She had an entire wall of Koigu and none of it was really appropriate, but she didn't consider that sock yarn, either. Although I'll go back to that shop now that I know where it is and can park in their lot, I really don't feel like my walk was worth it.

I'd like to know what you're knitting these socks with. The colors aren't too bad. You, sir, have good taste.

I accidentally bought (on ebay) yarn from Lorna's Laces in a colorway called carnival. I call them my gee-I-like-the-pattern-but-not-the-color Hedera socks. Now that I've knitted once with Lorna's Laces, I'll never buy it again without being really careful about the colors.

Solid, "boring" colors are wonderful for lace. The socks I'm knitting now were photographed in Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks in orange. Yech. I'm knitting them in black and they're gorgeous, if I may say so myself!

Susie said...

Name your colors, Franklin. I'd dye for you, baby!

Tallguy said...

Yup, I don't care for the clown socks either, but my grand-niece thinks they are cool. But for myself, I too like the black/brown/navy colourways-- not necessarily together! However, these old eyes are finding plain dull dark grey really hard to see in anything than bright daylight. So these socks I'm working on at 9 st/in are taking way too long.

Knit-Knot said...

I was very amused by your request for you LYS to stock manly sock yarn.

Last night was A Night Out and open knitting. My LYS has a large selection of manly sock yarn and I nabbed you a loverly 100g ball said manly sock yarn. But where ever shall I send it?

Kate A. said...

Because you clearly don't have enough suggestions yet, I'm here to tell you to also check out Peace Fleece sock yarn - http://www.peacefleece.com/. It blooms like no other yarn I know, turning from an ever-so-slightly scratchy, normal wool into a cloudy-soft dream after washing. Not expensive, good, manly colors.

Here's the pair I made for my husband, in very manly army-olive:
http://aastrikke.blogspot.com/2006/05/peace-fleece-discovered.html

If you want to browse manly sock yarns and are ever in NYC, check out School Products (1201 Broadway, and YES, I have the street address memorized - anybody have a problem with that?). They have a marvelous selection of in-house (i.e., much less expensive than you can imagine) luxury fibers in sock weight. I've noticed before that, though they throw in the occasional "fun" colorway, they're really strong on manly colors.

denny Mcmillan said...

Yarn store worker here, not just a yarn store worker but a "my boss listens to me" yarn store worker. So I said to the boss who listens to me, we need boring sock yarn for men, we need boring scarf yarn for men.And you know what, I tell ya what, she got some in.So there you go. Oh sorry I live in Toronto....Dennyx0x0x

julia fc said...

Late to this party, but it was read to me over the phone by a certain Canadian friend of ours, and I had to drop in. I just wanted to assure you, should you ever fall to colour in the hose area, that bright socks are the signature of a rake, not a cad, and they may sometimes be the same person, but not always. Being a rake is much more fun, being a cad has its kharmic consequences. I think you can handle the socks avec couleur, cherie.

moiraeknits said...

wool-clothing.com has some totally dreamy yarn in like three colors - white, med grey and dark grey. I'm not sure if it'll stand up to serious wear and tear, but I can't wait to finish my pair for around-the-house lounging.

noricum said...

You need to try shopping in Winnipeg. All the yarn stores I've tried there have a reasonable selection of "man sock" yarns. Some have only "man sock" yarns.

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