And, time for some more wool reviews! I've signed up for a Ravelry group that's supposed to knit 13 pairs of socks in 2013 (good thing I didn't sign up in 2052, is all I can say...), so I've been getting through quite a bit of my stash recently.
Regia 4-ply (jacquard): got this for super-cheap at Dress Sew here in Vancouver a number of years ago, and while I am not a huge fan of self-striping yarns I couldn't resist the price. I'm using it at last, and man, this is one great yarn! Very even, tightly plied, lovely amount of elasticity. Knits like a dream. If only this stuff were easily available in plain colours in North America! If this is anything like the other European sock yarns I've tried, it'll wear like iron (even standing up to the dryer - not that I do that!) and look great for a decade.Tip: I'm overdyeing some of it to tone down the striping!
Lang Magic Degrade: this is almost identical to the Lana Grossa Mille Colori I reviewed a short while ago (that stuff is wearing like iron, not felting at all, and maintaining colours nicely). Can't figure out if it's made by the same company, or what, but this is similarly hairy and splitty and also single-ply, so rather a pain to work with. The single ball I purchased had two, count 'em, TWO crappy colour splices in it (jumps from blue to yellow, skipping green! and is also missing a whole red section!) so this really is a pain. The available colours are a bit different than the Lana Grossa, and it has a nice sheen to it, which the Lana Grossa doesn't. The yarn softens and develops a fuzzy halo with washing and wearing so I wouldn't use it for lacey or cabled patterns. Paired with a plain colour, this is great for stripey socks...if you can get yourself a ball that is not spliced!
OnLine Supersocke: another Euro yarn; again only available in a mind-blowing array of self-striping patterns...but a good price, and excellent knitting and wearing properties. Rather similar to the Regia above although not quite as nice, as it is looser spun. Why, oh why, can't they make a plain variety??
The more I knit with European sock yarns, the more I like them. They are not as soft, they aren't merino, but they seem more elastic (tighter ply) and are holding up better. These yarns don't seem to pill like many of the merino-based yarns I've used.