No-Nylon Sock Yarn

Introducing OLD SALT my new no-nylon, non-superwash sock yarn.

My lovely old dad had an interest in words and their meanings and as he grew physically confined he took up crosswords. Not all crosswords, mind you, just those written by a particular puzzle writer. It was whilst working on these puzzles by his bedside that he made me aware of the term 'old salt' as the answer to the question, 'old sailor or mariner'. An alternate answer could sometimes be 'tar'.

A few of you will remember buying no nylon sock yarn called Seaworthy Sock from me in around 2018/2019 and a number of you have been asking for more ever since.

Born from a desire by tireless supporters of rare breeds to draw attention to the diversity of sheep breeds, the fibre in this yarn was lovingly hand washed prior to production and is nothing short of a lustrous, hard-working beauty (probably should have named it HARD GRAFT).

This yarn is a 4ply/fingering weight with a high-twist, 3-strand, worsted construction. The fibre composition is 80% Merino and 20% Lincoln. As a non-superwash yarn it will require hand-washing. Although I confess I intend to run a few tests in the washing machine to see just what happens (watch for future blog posts on this topic).

This passion project originated in New Zealand where the fibre was grown and spun.

Lincoln Longwool is a sturdy, hard-wearing and lustrous fleece which is hard to felt. The construction of this yarn is high twist for added strength, making it the perfect choice for durable and comfortable sock creations.

The Lincoln sheep breed arrived in New Zealand between 1840-1860 and is bred in areas which are lower and wetter as they are better suited to damp conditions than Merino. The Lincoln is now considered a rare breed and this yarn came about as a passion project to raise awareness of breed diversity.

In Australia they were used extensively in early days for crossing with the Merino, the resulting half breed being inbred and becoming the Corriedale. Subsequent crossing using both Merinos and Lincolns resulted in the Polwarth.

Fun fact: Lincoln wool is often used for wigs used by the legal profession.

A few tips for knitting socks, knit with a tighter gauge than normal (you are aiming to minimise friction) something like 35 stitches per 10cms. You may also consider adding a little foot length to reduce the tension as the sock draws across the top of the toe. Choose a pattern which can provide a little elasticity (a 3x2 rib) and reinforce the heels with slipstitch pattern.

Image Gallery of Lincoln Sheep

52 Weeks of Socks - pattern tips

Article about No Nylon Socks by Liz Pearson Mann

Refootable Socks and the Mending Culture Revival by Liz Pearson Mann