The author's feet, crossed and wearing gray wool cabled socks, rest on a brick staircase.

Jacob Wool Hiking Socks

I’ve just finished my latest knitting project – a pair of socks knitted in local wool. The yarn is from Avillion Farm – I’ve previously knitted two sweaters from her lovely Jacob and Shetland flock, and almost two years ago I bought a skein of her (then) new Jacob/ mohair sock yarn. The yarn is roughly a sport weight, so I thought it would make lovely hiking socks. And since I don’t wear my hiking socks daily, I knew I wouldn’t mind handwashing these socks.

I used a pattern from the book In the Footsteps of Sheep by Debbie Zawinski (Schoolhouse Press, 2015). The book is an account of her walking journey around Scotland in search of each region’s iconic sheep breeds, and each pattern designed for one of the breeds has a story behind it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and wanted to make a sock from one of the patterns, so this seemed like a perfect match. The socks I chose, Andrew’s Scottish Blackface Shepherd’s Socks, have a double-thickness heel, perfect for wearing in hiking boots, and a staghorn cable running up the side. They are designed for worsted-weight yarn and a man’s foot, so using the thinner yarn and smaller 2.5mm (US 1.5) needles worked out perfectly. I did try a couple of different needle sizes before I found the one that worked.

I’m very pleased with the finished result and I can’t wait to wear them with my new hiking boots.


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Breed Specific Commercial Yarns

I recently taught a class on working with breed specific wools for Piedmont Fibershed, and since I’ve been talking a lot about my spinning projects with different breeds, I thought I’d do a roundup of commercial breed-specific yarns so that the knitters can get in on the action too. There are a number of breed-specific commercial yarns available these days. Many of these are pretty widely available, but I’ve also included a few smaller brands, and listed the websites for those not generally available in retail yarn shops.

  • Brooklyn Tweed – Merino (Peerie, Arbor), Targhee-Columbia (Loft, Shelter), Rambouillet (Vale)
  • Fibre Co. Lore – Romney
  • Hudson + West (Forge + Weld) – Merino/ Corriedale
  • Blacker Yarns (UK – https://www.blackeryarns.co.uk) – various breeds
  • Sincere Sheep -Cormo, Rambouillet
  • Jamieson’s – Shetland
  • Tukuwool Fingering – Finn/ Texel
  • Lana Plantae – Rambouillet, Targhee, Lincoln Longwool
  • Echoview Fiber Mill Ranger DK & Ranger Bulky (https://www.echoviewnc.com)- Merino
  • West Yorkshire Spinners – Bluefaced Leicester
  • Stone Wool – Merino, Cheviot, Cormo, Corriedale, Romney
  • Solitude Wool (https://solitudewool.com)- various breeds

What breed-specific yarns have you found? Please add to my list in the comments.

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