Tuesday 2 November 2021

DK sock yarn suggestions

Ever wanted to cast on some DK socks but got confused trying to buy the yarn? I’m here to help!


Why knit DK socks?

DK socks are a great option for cold winter’s days – they are thicker than 4-ply socks, but thin enough that they still fit in your shoes. They’re also perfect for long walks as they add extra-cushioning between your footwear and your feet. From a knitting perspective, DK socks are great because they’re much quicker than 4-ply socks – perfect if you’re making them as gifts.

DK yarns fall between 4-ply and aran weight and you can expect a DK sock yarn to have between 225 and 280 m per 100 g. Outside the UK, you might find DK yarns referred to as light worsted. DK yarn ball bands will suggest using 3.75-4.5mm needles and 21-24 sts per 10 cm (4 in), but for socks you’ll want to knit the yarn on smaller needles and at a tighter gauge (more stitches per 10 cm) to increase the durability of your socks.

Ply structure can make a real difference to the longevity of a yarn, and for socks you want a yarn that has many plies, and for the plies to be twisted together tightly. This structure means that if one ply of your yarn wears thin, the others are there as back up.

Top: plied yarn - great for socks; bottom: singles yarn - wears too quickly to make good socks

My favourite sock yarns are wool-based. Wool is breathable, and wicks away moisture from your feet to keep them warm and dry. Wool also has natural elasticity, which means that your socks will stretch to fit your feet, but return to their original size when you take them off. Wool with longer staple-length is more durable: Merino is a short staple yarn, which makes it very soft, but tends to pill and wear with use. Bluefaced Leicester has a longer staple, which makes it more durable, while still being soft.

Wool can be blended with other fibres to increase its durability. Nylon is the most common option, but bamboo and silk are also popular. Do you need this? It depends what you’re going to be using your socks for. If they’ll be used exclusively as bed socks, you can forgo strength for something softer; if you’re planning on using them as walking socks, you’ll want a hardier wool that is less soft and more durable.

One thing to be aware of when buying DK weight socks is the yardage. I find that I generally need just over 100 g for a pair of socks for me (I wear a UK women’s size 9.5), and significantly more when making larger socks. You might find that you need to add a contrast for heels, toes and cuffs, or play it safe and buy two 100 g balls!


What’s my go to DK sock yarn?

I love West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK (also called Essential DK), which is a great blend of 75% British Wool and 25% nylon (225 m per 100g ball), but it’s DISCONTINUED, so unless you have a stash of it somewhere in your house, you’re not going to be able to get hold of it. West Yorkshire Spinners replaced Aire Valley DK with their Colourlab DK,* which comes in a great range of colours, including stripes. It is a 100% wool yarn, so is great if you want socks for lounging around in at home, but less good if you want socks for everyday wear.


Closest alternative: Wool/nylon blends

Novita Muumitalo

The closest like for like yarn I’ve found is Novita Muumitalo, which has the same 75% wool, 25% nylon composition, yardage (225 m per 100g ball) and ply structure, and it’s machine washable, which is a must in my house. The yarn is a little bit rustic, so look elsewhere if you want something kitten-soft, but the rustic quality tends to lead to stronger yarn that wears better long-term. The yarn comes in a small range of bright colours, which is great if they’re your colours, but not if they’re not. You can also get striped versions under the name Novita Muumihahmot.*


Want moodier colours? Novita Nalle

I recently wanted some DK sock yarn in moodier colours, and found that Novita also make a slightly thinner DK weight sock yarn, Novita Nalle,* that knits at the same gauge, but has 260 m per 100 g ball. Novita Nalle is also a 75% wool, 25% nylon sock yarn, and is machine washable, and I am looking forward to seeing how it hold up next to its heavier sibling yarn.

Opal and Regia

Opal and Regia are two of the biggest names in sock yarn. They’re both German companies, and the yarns they offer that are closest to DK are referred to as 6-ply (they also make 8-ply yarns, but these are closer to aran weight).


Opal 6-ply

Opal 6-ply comes in a range of solid colours and at 420 m per 150 g ball, it’s on the thinner side (280 m per 100 g), but comes in 150 g balls, which means one ball should give you enough yarn to make a pair of socks even in larger sizes. The yarn is a 75% wool, 25% nylon blend, and is on the rustic end of soft. I have found that Opal sock yarns wear really well, and the yarn is a very cost-effective option. Opal also make seasonal self-patterning 6-ply yarns, which are great for knitting vanilla socks.


Regia 6-ply

At 375 m per 150 g ball, Regia 6-ply* is chunkier than Opal (Regia 6-ply has 250 m per 100 g), but is hard to get hold of in the UK, especially in plain colours. If you can get hold of some though, it’s a great value sock yarn that wears well. Again, it’s a slightly rustic 75% wool, 25% nylon option and is great for making walking socks. The 150 g balls mean you should have plenty of yarn for any size of sock.


Merino/nylon blends

Lots of sock knitters like to make socks from merino/nylon blends because the socks are soft and feel like a real treat for the feet. If you like merino/nylon blends, then you’re in luck, because this blend is quite easy to get hold of in DK weight.


Hand-dyed options

Bluefaced.co.uk is the retail arm of yarn wholesalers Chester Wool Company, and as such, they sell the same bases as many indie dyers. Their Platinum DK is a 75% merino wool, 25% nylon blend that is perfect for socks (225 m per 100 g skein). You can buy it undyed from bluefaced.co.uk, or you can contact your favourite indie dyer and see if they have any in stock that they can dye for you. You can also buy Platinum DK in 50g skeins, which is great if you want to add a contrast colour.

Fancy trying some hand-dyed merino/nylon DK? Check out Castleview Yarns’ selection.


Coop Socks Yeah! DK

Coop Socks Yeah! DK is produced by Fyberspates, and is another 75% merino wool, 25% nylon blend with 112 m per 50 g skein. It comes in a wide range of moodier colours, alongside some brighter ones, which is great if you want a pop of contrast. 50 g skeins also have the advantage that you can buy close to the exact amount you need, making it more cost-effective than some 100 g options, especially if you would have to buy two 100 g skeins to make a pair of socks.


Merino/bamboo blends

Fancy going plastic-free? The nylon component of sock yarn can be replaced by other materials such as bamboo. The fibre in the yarn is actually viscose, a cellulosic fibre, but it sourced from bamboo. The yarn has great stitch definition, so is perfect for textured socks, and wears well – I have mitts in this blend that I wear all the time, and they’re showing very few signs of wear. This is another base used by indie dyers, so contact your favourite to see if it’s a base they stock. You can also buy direct from bluefaced.co.uk if you fancy dyeing your own.

Fancy trying some hand-dyed merino/bamboo DK? Check out BlueFern Yarns’ selection.


Need some sock patterns for your DK sock yarn? Check my designs:

Spinnaker Socks

DK Selection-Boxof Socks Collection**

*Affiliate link.

**Ravelry link. may affect people with photosensitivity, proceed with caution.


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