Sock weight yarn (also referred to as fingering weight yarn, super fine or baby), is a fibre that is often associated with knitting. It’s that beautiful yarn most commonly seen wound into beautiful hanks found in your local yarn shops. It’s not unusual to find them at a higher price point due to fibre content and with the beautiful colourways being hand dyed rather than mass produced through a major yarn company.
These yarns are generally marketed to knitters because they are traditionally used in projects like socks, shawls or sweaters with beautiful results. Did you know that this particular yarn also works well with crochet? While geared to knit projects, sock weight yarn can also create beautiful crochet pieces when used in just the right way. Learn more about crocheting with sock weight yarn below…
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If you’ve ever browsed Etsy for yarn or popped into a local market or yarn shop, you’d definitely seen hanks of beautiful, hand dyed sock weight yarn. While you might associate it to be a fibre that only knitters work with, you can definitely create beautiful crochet projects too! Don’t let the thinner weight intimidate you. With the proper tools and a bit of practice, this fibre can work perfectly for a variety of crochet projects to create an incredible finished piece.
While it’s not a yarn weight I use frequently, I do crochet with it from time to time and have even designed a few patterns with it. I’m happy to share some helpful tips from my own experience of crocheting with sock weight yarn.
If you’re crocheting with sock weight yarn on a particular pattern, it’s important to read the notes thoroughly. You’ll want to ensure you have enough yardage that is required for the design and purchase the appropriate amount of yarn. This is really important with hand dyed yarn because you’ll want to have enough of the same batch since it could be very difficult to find more of if it you run out. Having extra yarn leftover can be a good thing if you want to add tassels to your finished project (think scarves and shawls).
You’ll also want to consider the type of stitches being used. Now, this can be a good tip for working with any yarn weight but but do keep in mind that sometimes the stitches and colourway just aren’t compatible. For example, a pattern that has a strong focus on texture might work better with a solid colour or a gentle ombre style. This would allow the texture and focus of the pattern to really stand out. Sometimes with a variegated yarn, the texture gets lost in the colour which can be disappointing at the end. Hand dyed, sock weight yarn is notorious for unique and beautiful variegated colourways which you definitely want to show off (but in the right project). A pattern that uses simple stitches would do well with a colourful yarn because the colours will be the focus. When the perfect stitch and colourway combination are found, it really takes your project to the next level.
Textured project = solid shade or soft colour transitions. Simple stitch project = variegated and colourful yarn.
Sock weight yarn usually is sold in the form of a hank which is that classic, twisted style that you see in local yarn shops or vendor markets. If you purchase your sock weight yarn from a local yarn shop, usually they have a service available that will untwist your hank and wind it up into a nice cake or ball so it’s ready for use. Otherwise, you’ll need to prepare your yarn for use at home. A yarn swift is very helpful tool that allows you to drape your untwisted hank around the top. Once you remove the ties holding your yarn strands together, you’ll be able to find the end and gently pull which will start spinning your swift around. This will allow you to easy wind by hand or with a yarn winder. I have a Knit Picks swift and winder which I find to be very useful and helpful tools to have on hand. The swift I have is no longer available but this is a comparable option: Knit Picks Yarn Swift
If you don’t have a swift or winder, you can definitely still prepare your yarn using other methods such as draping the untwisted hank over the back of a chair or around your knees when they’re pulled up in-front of you. You could even have a helpful friend or family member hang the untwisted hank around their hands while you wind. It’s an important step that can sometimes feel tedious but hanks can tangle easily if not wound up carefully.
When working with sock weight yarn, typically the appropriate hook size is anywhere from 2.25mm to 3.25mm. This could depend of course on the project you are making (always read your pattern notes) or what the recommended hook size is on the yarn label.
I often go up to a maximum of 4mm because it matches my projects well and creates a really lovely drape without a ton of gaping holes. That being said, I tend to stick to simple scarves or shawls/wraps when using sock weight yarn because those are my favourite items to crochet with this particular fibre. Definitely play around with your hook size if you’re comfortable to make sure you achieve the end result you desire.
You’ll also need the usual stitch markers. I find using simple, lightweight locking ones as seen in the photo below to be the most helpful. The heavier ones or stitch markers with charms can sometimes pull and tug sock weight yarn in funny ways, especially if you put it away to work on later. You can find similar ones here: Quick Locking Stitch Markers Set
- Keep in mind stitches are smaller due to the hook size and yarn thickness. These factors can mean your project might take a little longer. This can be frustrating but it’s important to take your time.
- Find a spot to crochet that has good lighting to help you see the stitches and your stitch placement more clearly.
- If working with sock weight yarn for the first time, you might have to re-visit your tension strategy. Because the fibre is so thin, it’s easy to pull it too tightly or even not enough. Preparing a small gauge swatch is always helpful and recommended.
- Just like with other yarn weights, make sure the fibre content works with your project and the care it might need in maintaining it (ex: washing instructions). If you’re gifting the final piece, ensure the fibre content is something the person isn’t allergic to (eg: merino) so that they can enjoy your gift and get as much use out of it as possible.
- The word “superwash” is often found on the label of hand dyed yarn. This means the fibre was treated to allow for easier washing and maintenance (again, always read the label to be sure).
- Sock weight yarn is available through many different retailers. Local yarn stores, Etsy shops and even through some larger yarn companies. This can be a great way to explore and discover new yarn.
- Because sock weight yarn can create lighter and drape-y projects, you might find blocking your finished project beneficial.
- If you’re not sure that crocheting with sock weight yarn is for you, find an easy project to try first. Check out these patterns below:
Sock weight yarn isn’t just for knitters, it’s for crocheters too! If you haven’t worked with this weight before, give it a try! There are so many amazing yarns to explore. Happy crocheting!