Sock Yarn... not just for socks

8 balls of self patterning sock yarn

This week, after a couple of months break, we have a brand new 4ply sock yarn from Opal... and from now until next Spring we'll have a new collection every month!

Now I could waffle on about socks, which I do frequently, but instead I'm going to show you some non-sock projects that use 4ply sock yarn. Most of these will be Opal self patterning sock yarns but you can use any 4ply sock yarn. Like Zauberballs or WYS Signature 4ply

Opal 4ply sock yarn is a patterned sock yarn. The colours come together as you knit to give you subtle or strong stripes or fake stranded colourwork and oftentimes both. You can see how it knits up as a sock from the picture on the ball band or check out the 'sock swatches' on the website.

The patterning is designed for socks which have a small circumference, and so if you want the best fake stranded colourwork effect it's best to use it for small items.

These include baby garments and accessories like hats, cowls and gloves.

One of our most popular shop samples is our Flax Light, knitted in Opal Hundertwassers range.

At this point I should tell you that as Opal bring out a new range of colours  monthly-ish for 10 months of the year their colours are usually non repeatable. Once it's sold out, it's gone.

There are some exceptions to this. One is the Hundertwassers range - a highly patterned range of shades. This is always available to us and we stock this range permanently.


flax light stripey baby jumper in Opal sockyarnFlax Light by Tin Can Knits knitted in Opal Hundertwassers shade 2101


Flax Light is part of Tin Can Knits Simple Collection - a collection of free learn to knit patterns.

Flax Light is a jumper that is knitted seamlessly from the top down. A baby jumper is a great introduction to this technique and Tin Can Knits have provided lots of help to guide you.

(If the thought of knitting your first garment in thin 4ply fills you with horror, there is a version called Flax which uses aran weight yarn... considerably thicker!)


baby jumper in opal 4ply sock woolFlax Light by Tin Can Knits, knitted by Cindy


Flax Light, like many Tin Can Knit patterns, have larger child and adult sizes. If you were to use a self patterning sock yarn to knit one of these larger sizes you would get a different effect as the yarn has to travel across more stitches. You could get a more variegated look or a pooling effect or even a lightening bolt of colour. It depends on the yarn and the size of the item you're knitting.

And since I'm on a crochet kick at the moment I should probably try some crochet with these patterned yarns. They obviously won't replicate a fake fair isle effect but the stripes would still be effective.

Anyway! Back to the baby jumpers.


baby jumperBaby Jumper in Opal 4ply sock yarn


This jumper, knitted by Anne, uses a Viridian pattern that we have in the shop and online. It is knitted with a front, back and two sleeves so you will have to sew it up.

These small size jumpers only take one ball of Opal 4ply sock yarn (or 100g of any 4ply sock yarn) so they're perfect for those odd balls you buy when you love the colour so much.


Other one ball ideas are accessories - hats, scarves, cowls and mitts. And socks obviously but we're not mentioning socks...

This scarf by Kathryn is based on the tube cowl in our Mini Ball Bag.


multi coloured scarf


A tube cowl is knitted as a narrow tube in the round. You then join the cast on and cast off edges together to make a loop. Kathryn knitted her tube longer and didn't join the edges.

The Mini Ball Bag is full of 10g balls of Opal 4ply sock yarn, so Kathryn's scarf is very variegated. It would look just as good using one or two balls of the same shade.

Another cowl from the Mini Ball Bag kit is a short version of our free Simple Cowl pattern.

Cowls have been very popular in the shop. As an item that is both simple to knit (round and round) and to wear (just pop it over your head) they are also small enough to show self patterning yarns and to carry with you as a travel project.

This short version uses just 50g of 4ply sock yarn.


short cowl


Originally written for a combination of Opal 4ply self patterning sock yarn and a solid colour Socks Yeah 4ply, the Simple Cowl is very flexible. One 100g ball would give you a tall cowl that you can fold inwards or scrunch down.


simple cowl


We have a range of free patterns in the shop for Opal 4ply accessories - including lacy scarves, gloves, mitts and a hat.

You could also knit one of our free patterns for a scarf or shawl.


scarfasymmetrical scarf - free pattern


Of course this yarn lends itself to toy knitting! Whether it's to knit one like this bear by Pat...




Or to dress a doll like I did.


3 knitted dolls


These dolls are knitted using an Arne & Carlos book called Knitted Dolls.

The dolls used to live in the shop, but since the book is now out of print I've brought them home.

You can still buy the Kindle version of the book. Sometimes craft books aren't great as Kindle versions but I've used the Kindle version of this book on an iPad and it looks good with full colour photos and hyperlinks to different chapters and patterns. 

Something else I go on about is using sock yarn by holding multiple strands together to make a thicker and quicker to knit yarn. 

I've knitted several blankets like this and I'm currently working on a shawl using this technique. And I am now very tempted to knit a hot water bottle cover.

Cindy's hot water bottle cover uses our Love Your Wallpaper Choufunga birthday yarn alongside a strand of Socks Yeah 4ply in Quartz.


hot water bottle

B.M.H.W.B by Kristen Finlay, free pattern on Ravelry


The pale Quartz has really lightened the jewel colours of Love Your Wallpaper.

This pattern is a great way to use up sock yarn as you're often left with leftovers after knitting a pair of socks. You could have great fun marling the colours and creating a ombre effect of dark to light or stripes.

And course there is always a sock yarn blanket - something I think about starting but know I'd never finish... although perhaps that's not the point!

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