It's fall! Sock knitting season! I've now used up some of those stashed lovelies from my trip to Portland...and can give some feedback on the results:
1. Schaefer yarn - this is a mix of wool and silk, nice hand, lovely brown/red colourway ("Julia Child"). But, I'm not happy with the socks. They have very little elasticity (although knit it a "wandering" rib pattern) and are too floppy for my taste. Abrasion from wear has really affected the look of the wool and the toenail area is starting to wear through. Meh.
2. Malabrigo Sock (Abril 853) - just on the needles now. Surprisingly this wool has a lot of "boing" and is very elastic. It also has an incredibly deep colour and a lovely sheen, almost satiny. I'm knitting it up in a lacy pattern that is fun to do, but unfortunately the colouring of the wool obscures the stitch design to the point where it's nigh invisible. So, while I LOVE the colour and the elasticity, in my opinion the best use for these lovely colourways is for rib socks with little stitch design. Not that such socks would be in any way boring...anyways, I'll most surely be buying this again (does it ever go on sale??)! And guess what, it comes in solids! It knits up thin, so I might step down to **gasp** 1.75mm circs...
3. Araucania - I knit up a slipped-rib pattern for my teenaged son in "camo colours". The wool has a nice spring to it and the socks hug the leg well. So far no wearing issues either. But, I've lost the tag and can't find the colourway on the internet anymore. I will be exploring more sock wool from this company though. Stay tuned.
4. KnitPicks Stroll - I've done a few socks with this line now. I'm not so fond of the colours for reasons that are hard to put into words...They're too...pure? harsh? I dunno. Even the "kettle dyed" ones are a bit too chemically or something. But the price is really great. The wool itself isn't very elastic, but is quite soft. It isn't tightly spun and can be a bit splitty because of this (hard to tink back on dark colours). As a result, it doesn't rate as highly as Invicta or Jawoll with me. **update** Over time, this yarn pills, becomes floppier, and looses stitch definition. If I could find a good source of European-style sock yarn that came in this range of colours, I would stop using it.
5. KnitPicks wool/silk blend - one pair of socks done, for my Mom, who is hard on socks. And these, unfortunately, were no exception: they wore through at the ball of the foot almost immediately. Probably because there's no nylon...That's too bad since the colours of this product line are very nice. I've got another skein of blue/grey that are crying to be used...but not for her! I'll have to bust out the beilaufgarn on the next pair.
6. Picked up some Regia "stretch" wool for $2/ball the other day. This stuff is cheap and tough. It's got a harsh hand and is proving to be hard to knit up - it fights back a lot due to the elastic in it - but it has great stitch definition (I'm doing cables) and I betcha it'll never wear out.