Monday, March 26, 2007

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  • The Man Will Have More Socks

    I would rather trust a woman's instinct than a man's reason.
    -Stanley Baldwin

    Thanks for all your lovely comments on the now-affianced beau's socks. He likes them a lot, as do I. But while these socks are warm, cozy, and in a lovely yarn, it's clearly not a yarn that will stand up to all those 30-hour calls. Not to mention that they are a little too warm and cozy for daily wear in San Diego. Clearly, some more manly socks are in order.

    That sounds like a contest to me. A two-part contest.
    1. What is the best sock yarn - be specific here - for manly socks?
    2. What is the best manly sock pattern you know?

    The winners? Two: the answer I like the best, and one random one from all who comment. The prize? Manly sock yarn, of course.* Your responses will, of course, force me to buy more yarn. Some for me, some for you. Tragic, isn't it?

    *If you would really prefer un-manly sock yarn, that could probably be arranged.

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    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I've made dozens of men/boy socks and my favorite yarn for men is Trekking. It holds up great, gets softer with wear and there are many good "manly" colors. I like the good old traditional top down, heel flap variety for men. It's easy to adapt to high insteps.

    3/26/2007 11:50 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm going to second the Trekking recommendation. The guys in my life seem to like the colors, and they do hold up very well. Miriam Felton has a pattern called Simple Trekking Socks that has a little pattern to it but is plain enough for the guys. My brother has size 11 feet so I can sympathize with the big project ahead. Enjoy!

    3/26/2007 12:17 PM  
    Blogger margene said...

    Trekking is good as is Meilenweit Boot Stretch (and regualr Meilenweit). I'm a big fan of (German) Opal sock yarn, too. Jessie has her own yarn blend...Real Vermonter which is warm (so maybe too warm for you) and wonderful for a heavier yarn.

    3/26/2007 12:51 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You know, for sheer wearability (30 hours at a time!) I'd have to go with Opal - I've knitted with both Opal and Trekking, and I prefer Opal, hands-down - Trekking seemed splitty to me. I'd pick Evelyn Clark's Retro Ribs sock pattern from IK - fun, yet mindless enough to motor through. I did a pair of them for my husband's size 11 feet in Mountain Colors Bearfoot (a yarn I'd recommend for sheer luxury and great color) that's probably too warm for most days in San Diego.

    3/26/2007 12:55 PM  
    Blogger K8 said...

    For enjoyability while knitting, I really am liking the Socks that Rock yarn I'm using now - cushy and not very splitty. But Trekking and Regia both have some great manly colors and are also pretty nice to knit with.

    For patterns, I made the Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks book for a guy. Though I think anything with simple ribbing on the leg and top of the foot is pretty acceptable too :)

    3/26/2007 1:43 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Patternwise I like the gentleman's sock by Nancy Bush or a simple ribbed one (like the one in Sensational Knitted Socks). While I didn't love knitting with Trekking, the colors offered seem pretty good (for masculine choices) and the consensus from others seemed to be that it wears very well (if knit on 0s or 1s--not on 2s like I knit them) Stacey said that they are as durable as "iron." If that doesn't take 30 hours of wear, I am not sure what will. Oh, and Rachel did point out that you could wear them longer into the warmer months, I guess that is a plus!

    3/26/2007 2:11 PM  
    Blogger Unknown said...

    I don't have any good manly yarn advice, as of yet. I got some Meilenweit striped yarn to make my husband socks, and after I'd started them he said he didn't think he'd wear stripey socks. So that yarn went into socks for the kids. For now, I'll say that my preferred sock yarn for a man is...anything DK or larger. Big feet need big yarn. Even after 12 years of marriage, I don't think I'm up to knitting man socks with size 0 needles.

    I must admit I've never really used a specific pattern for man socks. I just do whatever plain ribbing fits with my stitch count. I did start some Thuja socks from Knitty for M, but those went to the frog pond because they were turning out too big.

    Hmm. I guess really I have no advice for you at all. At least I'll still have a chance for the "all who comment" part of the contest! LOL

    3/26/2007 2:12 PM  
    Blogger Jenn said...

    I'll go with the majority and I my shout out for Trekking to the mix - hubbo loves it 'cause it comes in all varieties - stripes? check. Fake Fair Isle? check. Tweed? check. Shading? check. Random blobs of color? Ok, maybe he doesn't like so much the last one, but he does like it. He also enjoys the Online Supersocke and has picked out some Jawoll for future socks. (OK - almost all of "his" stash is for future socks, but he sure does love to pick it out!)
    And he is not a fan of the "pattern." He does like a longer bit of ribbing at the top than I do, but he wants plain vanilla socks. I tried making him Whitbys back at the beginning of last year, and he wanted nothing to do with the cable. He doesn't even want ribbed socks.
    Good luck!

    3/26/2007 3:25 PM  
    Blogger Lori said...

    My husband has requested a pair in Trekking (colorway 90, browns and some olive) but so far his favorite of the pairs I've knit him are made of Paton's Kroy 4-ply. I have a LOAD of it, in manly, tweedy greys and blues, and he says they wear very well inside his Coast Guard boots...

    3/26/2007 5:03 PM  
    Blogger Lori said...

    Oh, yes, forgot the pattern part: I've found that a nice wide rib pattern goes over well (K3, P1; or the good ol' K2P2) and that he prefers flap heels for fit and durability. I've been told that a cable (not too delicate, nice and wide) running down the side of the leg might be acceptable. Otherwise, plain and boring though. *sigh*

    3/26/2007 5:08 PM  
    Blogger Ashley said...

    I'd recommend Knitpicks Gloss for man socks--very manly solids there, and the yarn's a total pleasure to work with. And I'll second the Retro Rib recommendation--that's on my Dad list.

    3/26/2007 5:16 PM  
    Blogger Elinor said...

    OK, I tried posting this earlier but Blogger barfed.

    I would go with Regia or Opal solids - workhorse yarns - and cabled pattern like Conwy from Knitting on the Road or Chalet Socks from Folk Socks (those look girly but I think they'd be perfect done up in a manly grey, brown or black). Self-striping/patterning and variegated yarns are OK - sure they can be manly - but the knitting is so, so dull. That's why I'd go conservatively cabled. Nancy Bush style.

    3/26/2007 5:27 PM  
    Blogger Laritza said...

    Yarn: Lang Jawoll imported by Berroco. It comes with the reinforcement nylon for toes and heels in matching color.
    Patterns: Nancy Bush (any of the men's) big time!

    3/26/2007 5:48 PM  
    Blogger Zarah said...

    I recently finished a pair of socks for my hubby that he really likes - STR in the Obsidian colorway, using the Retro Rib Socks pattern from IK Winter 04 / Favorite socks.

    3/26/2007 5:59 PM  
    Blogger schrodinger said...

    Regia cotton would be great for the warmer weather in SD. I'm going to jump on the bandwagon for supporting trekking too. My fave manly socks so far are the Boyfriend socks by slipped stitch: way better than the boredom that is ribbed man socks - yawn.

    3/26/2007 6:01 PM  
    Blogger Rebecca said...

    I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments! My husband's very favorite sock yarn (and he has several socks to choose from) is Mountain Colors Bearfoot. He says they are the warmest. In my opinion, the Regia seems to withstand the wear, tear and washings the best.

    3/26/2007 6:12 PM  
    Blogger Francesca said...

    I'd definitely second (sixth? seventh?) the Trekking suggestions, but also the Mountain Colors which has an edge of ruggedness that I like. I'd also say that Louet Pearl is another good solid yarn and one I liked knitting with (though it does do this wacky twisty thingy). I've also just finished (ten minutes ago) some mansocks (Thuja) in Artyarns Supermerino and I love knitting that pattern.

    Patternwise, I'm running with Nancy Bush all the way (except for Thuja). The Conwy socks are wonderful and in a solid, I think mansocks can be patterned. Or maybe that's just me.

    3/26/2007 6:39 PM  
    Blogger Elisa said...

    Austermann Step and Trekking are my favorite long-wearing sock yarns. (Mine and everybody else's, apparently.) As for patterns, I'm no help - I crochet rather than knit them.

    3/26/2007 6:53 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Fearless Fibers and Lisa Souza both have excellent yardage for big man feet (560 yards) and they are available in superwash. Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush is where I go for man sock patterns: Gentleman's Half Hose have a subtle pattern and knit up super quickly!

    3/26/2007 7:06 PM  
    Blogger Sarah said...

    Having just started swatching some Sundara yarn for socks for myself, I have to say I think her semisolids would also be great for manly socks (in whatever the man in question considers a manly color, of course.) As for a pattern...I think a simple ribbed sock is always in style. Maybe with a little cabling, if he's into it.

    3/26/2007 7:15 PM  
    Blogger Susan said...

    I think Regia tweed would make a nice man's sock. Kinda ho hum colors and for a pattern? The free pattern from Cidermoon known as campfire socks could fit the bill! (or beau)

    3/26/2007 7:34 PM  
    Blogger auntiemichal said...

    Though I'm an auntie, I find my taste in sock textures (if not colors) to be definitely plain. 2x2 ribbing is comfortable and easy/fast to knit. Stockinette is too, but is less stretchy. I have no problem with boredom, as plain knitting lets me multitask (conversation, TV, audio books, etc) more effectively. Given your locale, I'd check out the wool/cotton blends. Here's one I just found: .
    Grumperina has discussion and recommendations of wool-free sock yarns at . Good luck with your quest!

    3/26/2007 8:02 PM  
    Blogger Laura said...

    You know, I just started swatching for a bolero sweater with Calmer and was thinking that it might make good socks. In black or grey, it could be manly! This yarn would have many advantages for you because (1) it is cotton, in keeping with the CaliforniaLifestyle, (2) it is stretchy, and (3) it would make fast socks for big feet. No idea how it would wear though. For patterns, Thuja looks good.

    Your feed has dropped off my bloglines TWICE! Gah!

    3/26/2007 9:31 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I just finished a pair for my dad not too long ago. He was really happy with them.

    The yarn was Schaefer Anne, which seems to be easy to find in bright colorways, but a little more difficult to find darker colors. (I lucked out and found a nearly black combo of navy, dark green, and purple.)

    Superwash wool, they stood up really well to repeated washing, and they knit up really thin and light weight - so good for warmer weather.

    3/26/2007 10:00 PM  
    Blogger Beth said...

    Allison has a gallery of "Man's Man Sock Yarns" at

    My husband really likes his Fortissima Socka and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport socks and the Fortissima has worn well (the LL socks are just a couple months old).

    I do plain or ribbed socks for my husband but I really like the Gentleman's Fancy Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks. The Socka is probably a bit thick for that pattern, though, since I've heard Schaefer Anne is on the thin side.

    3/26/2007 10:01 PM  
    Blogger Alisha said...

    I have only knit one pair of mens socks...for my dad for Christmas. It was Opal sock yarn in a darker grey. I used a beginners sock pattern off the internet. My dad did say they were a find piece of craftmanship.

    3/27/2007 3:06 AM  
    Blogger Roobeedoo said...

    Hi there! Another Trekking suggestion! But I would also recommend Lana Grossa "Bosco" - new colours, including a delicious dark red / brown which is manly yet interesting to knit. Pattern? The Boyfriend Socks are lovely if you can do toe-up:
    But there are some really manly patterns in the new Favorite Socks book - Rib and cable is fab!

    3/27/2007 3:39 AM  
    Blogger Stacey said...

    I have a few manly favorites. Trekking (though it isn't the most fun to knit with, it is great and stripy and comes in "man" colors) as well as Louet Opal. It is solid, but it is a bit heavier weight which makes big man socks go a bit faster, and I can knit them denser as my hubby wears his socks hard.

    For patterns, I love Thuja as well as many of the patterns from Knitting Vintage Socks - if you knit them with the larger Opal yarn they come out man sized!

    3/27/2007 5:25 AM  
    Blogger Tracy Batchelder said...

    My husband's favorite socks are basic crew socks (2x2 ribbed leg, stockinette foot) made from Online Supersocke 100 in a dark green self striping pattern. My tip is for you to choose the yarn you want to work with, then let your beau choose the color he likes best.

    3/27/2007 6:32 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    My husband's very favorite socks are made from Austermann Step - manly colors(04 denimy blues/greys)..VERY soft and becomes more so as they are worn...that lovely aloe and jojoba oil massaging the feet....
    His are in plain stockinette.
    On deck for his next pair of socks is Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Juniper colorway (A GORGEOUS skein of yarn) and the pattern plan....Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Fancy Socks.(but those may be too warm for San Diego!)

    3/27/2007 6:34 AM  
    Blogger Dorothy said...

    Oh my goodness! I must be the last person in blogland to know you're engaged! I was wondering why you weren't posting, figuring your internship was getting pretty hairy and then realized that Bloglines had eaten all your posts - you had disappeared all together. But I think I'm all caught up now and a huge congratulations to you both!!

    3/27/2007 7:22 AM  
    Blogger Susanne said...

    Trekking makes a great tight knit with a durable fabric. I knit mine on 2.5mm Addis, doing 2 on 2 circ all the time.
    There are many colour ways in Trekking and you would be able to find something that suited the "fiance" well. Good Luck!

    3/27/2007 8:08 AM  
    Blogger JayJay said...

    Unfortunately, I have absolutely no advice to give you regarding socks. That would be like Luke Skywalker giving Jedi lessons to Yoda (sorry, the hubby was watching Star Wars over the weekend).

    I did purchase my first set of sock dpns, however, and plan to start my very first pair of knitted socks!

    3/27/2007 8:36 AM  
    Blogger Kim said...

    I actually don't have very much experience, but I'm happy to share them. My first socks I made were in Wildefoote by Brown Sheep. I know some people complain it is splitty, but it is a thinner sock, a good thing in CA. It comes in lovely 2-color tweedy colors and solids. I have worn, washed and dried in the dryer, my first socks from these, and they come out really nicely - very slight felting, but not what you'd call felt, just some haloing. Which is pretty good, I think, for going through the dryer.

    As for a manly sock pattern, I would go with a rib of some sort - 2x3 or 3x2 - but I did make Jaywalkers for The Sweetie. They are not feminine - I would say unisex. And they are a fun pattern, more fun than ribbing!

    3/27/2007 10:08 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    1. I just made my honey a pair of socks out of Regia Silk. He loves them.
    2. The Pattern I used with the silk was the Celtic braid sock from Cabin Fever - they were difficult but he loves them.

    3/27/2007 1:12 PM  
    Blogger Emma said...

    I think any of the go-to sock yarns can work for men, in appropriate colors, of course. My husband recently picked out some STR in Farmhouse for some socks for himself.

    As for manly patterns, I like the Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks. And I think the Father-Son Socks from IK Winter 06, I believe, are nice too.

    3/27/2007 1:29 PM  
    Blogger runner98765 said...

    While I think that any sock yarn can work in colors that your man likes, I think that the heavier yarns, like Mountain Colors Bearfoot holds up really well, and is still soft on the feet. It also knits up at a slightly larger gague, making the socks go faster!

    In terms of patterns (and I'm assuming you're not talking about kilt hose...:)I think that a nice ribbed pattern, like Thuja from knitty would be great.

    3/27/2007 4:22 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I like Trekking for manly sock yarn. My two sons like it, also. Great masculine colors. For a pattern - I think the most masculine is a simple ribbed cuff pattern. They stay up well, also.

    3/27/2007 4:49 PM  
    Blogger Abigail said...

    Oh girl, go with the Trekking and the Madder rib pattern from Nancy Bush Knitting Vintage socks. The best manly sock pattern I know. Just ask my guys:D

    3/27/2007 5:32 PM  
    Blogger Aura said...

    I vote for the nice manly solids and solid size of Louet Gems Sport Weight.

    For a pattern? I made a pair of Celtic Braid socks in brown for a Scottish gent I know in a chocolate brown solid and it went over very well. The braid made the pattern just interesting enough to keep my attention, while the pattern was unfussy enough to be manly.

    3/27/2007 5:46 PM  
    Blogger Lynda said...

    I was thinking Trekking... then when I logged onto the comments, so is everyone else! I love the way it washes and wears.

    3/27/2007 7:27 PM  
    Blogger Jenny said...

    Mmm, I love Cherry Tree Hill. I made some socks for myself out of the Java color, it's a beautiful blend of browns with tiny hints of gray. Not itchy at all and holds up well. And I'd probably say that a basic rib pattern works best for guys.

    3/27/2007 8:12 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    My favorite man sock yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot. It comes in some definitely manly colors and is durable. For pattern, I really like the Retro Rib socks - the pattern is simple enough to be manly, yet interesting enough so you don't get bored.

    I guess my choices aren't terribly unique, but at least I didn't say Trekking!

    3/27/2007 9:56 PM  
    Blogger Chloe said...

    I've just been knitting some manly socks out of Paton's Kroy Jaquard, it's a light blue/navy/grey/white combo that my husband picked out. I'm using the free pattern that came with the socks (entirely simple, stockinette with a heel flap), and it's turning out great! However, probably a little warm for california- it's not too heavy, but it's a bit wooly. So I'd have to vote for something like Regia cotton, in a simple pattern.

    3/28/2007 7:36 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What about Cascade Fixation or Elann's Esprit (which is the same as the Fixation, as far as I can tell)? No wool content, so it won't be too hot for California, and it's nice and soft and stretchy. Also, it comes in lots of colors, so there should be some good manly choices available. I'm knitting some Fixation socks for myself right now and I've been very pleased. Knitting them on size 3's gives me a nice dense fabric that I think will hold up nicely.

    3/28/2007 8:52 AM  
    Blogger loretta123 said...

    Great suggestions so far. My latest man-sock pattern find is here. Made some for my dad in Regia and he loves them. Husband is looking for a pair.

    3/29/2007 4:39 AM  
    Blogger Marin (AntiM) said...

    Trekking, yes! A joy to knit with, for one, well-wearing for another and some very nice colours that can still be manly whilst satisfying a feminine itch for the aesthetic.

    And I use Sock Wizard software for all my boy socks -- it's an absolutely plain, fully-ribbed cuff and stockinette foot pattern, and men in my life have been known to say, in awe, "I can't believe you made this. It looks just like real socks."

    3/29/2007 5:44 PM  

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