materials for knitting socks

I wanted to start a knitting project and knit socks for my entire
family, but I'm a bit new when it comes to yarn (most of my projects
have mainly been in sewing :P). I've shopped around at both offline and
online sites 'such as these'
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, and found thatyarn comes in a variety of different materials (cotton, wool, and evenalpaca). What would be the best type of material for knitting socks?Thanks in advance!
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Usually a wool-nylon blend yarn is best for socks because of its warmth and wearing ability, but since some people can't wear wool, there are also acrylic and cotton yarns suitable for making socks.
The weight of the yarn will depend on the pattern and what type of sock you want. Most are done in a fingering weight (sometimes labeled "sock yarn") or sport weight yarn. I've made socks with Aran weight yarn (heavy worsted weight), but those were supposed to be heavy kilt hose meant for really cold weather.
There are tons of possibilities out there including sock yarn that's been space-dyed so it's self-striping. Probably the best bet would be to find a simple sock design and pattern you like, then see what type of yarn and weight it recommends. Once you've got a few pairs of socks started and finished, you'll get a better feel for what works for you and what you and your family like for future projects.
Be sure to check around the web for sites that offer step-by-step photos and instructions in knitting your first sock. That or a very good sock knitting book with lots of illustrations are invaluable for walking you through the mysteries of that first sock, turning a heel, and the Kitchener stitch for finishing the toe.
Good luck!
Nyssa, who has a ton of sock yarn in her stash but is presently hooked on doing knitted lace stuff instead
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I use pure wool exclusively. Worsted wool wears best. You get the longest-wearing wool by buying yarn meant for embroidery.
Instead of heel stitch, I work the heel flaps in the "salt and pepper" pattern of stranded knitting -- usually speckled because I have a terrible time keeping two yarns of the same color alternating properly -- and then switch to what I call "festive knitting" (after a pattern in one of Mary Thomas's books). I change to plain knitting by leaving a stitch off at each end to taper the thick part to a point, which avoids ruffles where the gauge changes.
To work festive knitting, work stranded one round. On the next round, slip all the stitches that should be worked with the other yarn, then purl back with the other yarn. The other yarn should follow the main yarn in both directions, because the second yarn knitted lies on top of the first yarn knitted, you get vague rumples if the yarns don't follow the same way on every row, and it isn't convenient to do the purling before the knitting.
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Joy Beeson
I would advice pure wool, but strength the heels with another thread, man made threads do not absorb sweat as well as wool . mirjam
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