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Saturday, 26 October 2019

No-nylon sock yarn review: Freehold Yarn Co Autumn 4ply

It's been such a long time since my last no-nylon sock yarn review that you might have forgotten that I write these at all! πŸ˜€

These socks - which feature in my Easy Colourwork Socks tutorial and also in More Super Socks - are knitted in Freehold Yarn Co Autumn 4ply and an update on how they have worn is long overdue!



Before I start the review, there are a couple of things that you need to know:
  • I used to be really tough on my no-nylon socks because I felt that they should be able to stand up to the rigours of being worn as well as socks containing nylon.  My view on this has changed - my belief now is that no-nylon yarns have their own qualities which make them different from commercially-produced yarns and to try to compare them as the same thing doesn't work.  I have learnt that no-nylon socks just don't last as long as ones with nylon in (on my feet anyway - I have pokey toes, see below) but the pleasure of knitting and wearing them is different to other yarns and they should be appreciated for that.  
  • I still expect no-nylon sock yarns to be good value for money - after all, it's no good saying a yarn is suitable for socks if it wears through after one outing! 
  • Being tough with my socks means that they'll get worn for a few days at a time; there's less need to wash natural fibre socks anyway even though we're in the habit of wearing our socks once and then washing them - you don't see sheep showering all the time, do you? πŸ˜€It also means they'll be worn in boots on long dog walks whatever the weather and will probably go into the washing machine because that's how most people choose to wash their socks - although painful experience has taught me that the dial goes no higher than a 30 degree hand wash!  (No point in experimenting unless you learn something, eh? πŸ˜€ )
  • I've got pokey toes so unless I reinforce the toes of my socks, there's a good chance that I'm going to go through them faster than many other people - this isn't always helpful in a yarn trial but on the plus side, I can test that aspect out more quickly! πŸ˜€ 
What's the yarn made from?

The yarn is a blend of 75% Bluefaced Leicester and 25% Gotland fleece.  Bluefaced Leicester has a long staple length (the staple length is how long the fleece is when it's shorn from the sheep - there's more on that here) which gives the yarn strength and bounce, making it suitable for socks.  Gotland fleece has a similar staple length (depending on how often the sheep is shorn), also with lots of bouncy ringlets, and it is often chosen for it's lustre (shine) and the way that it takes up the dye during the dyeing process.

Bluefaced Leicester sheep


Source: www.nationalsheep.org.uk

Gotland sheep

Source: www.edengotlandsheep.co.uk

Where does it come from?

The yarn comes from Freehold Yarn Co, based in Lancaster and currently an online shop run by the owner, Amy.  


What does it feel like and - most importantly - how soft is it?

As you might expect, it feels lovely!  It feels soft and smooth, with a good amount of squish in the skein (technical term, there πŸ˜€).  Bluefaced Leicester is a popular addition to yarns because of it's softness (it's been referred to as the British version of Merino, given that our weather conditions are more suited to the Leicester Longwool breeds of sheep than Merino which thrive in countries such as Australia); Gotland perhaps less so, but I was looking forward to seeing how these two blended together would knit up.

I bought two skeins for my Easy Colourwork Socks - this colour here which is Cloud and also a deep red called Maple.


How long is a skein?

There are approximately 385 metres in the skein.  I got two pairs of UK size 5 socks out of two skeins plus some left over. 


What's it like to knit with?

It met every expectation - it was very smooth on the needles and it was no hardship at all to make two pairs of socks from this yarn!  The stitches seemed to fly around the needles and although I knew that I wouldn't wear the red pair (I keep those for show - it's not good having sample socks with holes in the toes!), I was keen to see how the grey pair would wear.



Did you do anything to make it more hardwearing?

I used heel stitch on the heel to give that nice cushioned feel but I didn't do anything to the toes - because I used both pairs of socks for photos for the Easy Colourwork Socks, I wanted them to look the same so didn't use the heel stitch on the toes as I do for other socks that are going into my sock drawer.


How does it wash?

Very well!  I did put the socks in the washing machine but I have learnt (the hard way!) that no-nylon socks going into the machine need to be washed on a 30 degree hand-wash cycle as I think it is the spin cycle and not always the temperature that does the damage.  I also make sure that they go into a laundry bag - I count them in and I count them out! - so that there's no risk of any ending up left in the machine or (disaster!) going into the dryer by mistake.  These socks went into the washing machine with my others, made from both no-nylon and commercial yarns, and they came out looking just fine.  


How does it wear?


I have LOVED wearing these socks!  The combined qualities of BFL and Gotland have made a soft, shiny yarn that feels lovely on your feet, and they've been very comfortable.  So much so, that I've probably worn them more than other socks in my drawer!


Are there any holes?

Sadly ... yes, there are!  BUT it took a good eight months for any holes to appear and this is without using heel stitch on the toes so this yarn wins the prize so far for being the longest-lasting of any of my no-nylon socks.  The yarn has pilled on the outside but you can still see the definition of the heel stitches quite clearly ...



And it's the same on the inside, although with less definition.


Having said that, it's mostly loose fluff that I can pull off rather than any major fulling so that was a bit of a surprise.


I've got a hole in one toe, although I expect toe holes in all my socks sooner or later ...


and that's easily fixed by darning at the moment so I probably won't go to the effort of cutting the toes off and re-knitting them just yet.

All in all, though, this yarn has held up to being worn better than I expected it to, which I am delighted about!


Would you do anything differently next time?

I'd use heel stitch for the toes - I usually have to to do this with any socks that I make for myself; the only reason I didn't this time as because they were part of a project for More Super Socks.



Would you buy this yarn again?

I already have!  I've got two skeins of Autumn in my stash!



I want to try it out!  Where can I get it from?

You can buy it directly from Amy at Freehold Yarn Co here.  Amy has recently announced that she is closing down her online shop (there's a discount code on the website as she tries to clear her stock) but she has told me that she may well keep producing Autumn as part of her future plans, so it's worth checking the site for updates.



If you are interested in no-nylon sock yarns, you can find my other reviews on the No-Nylon Sock Yarn Reviews page.



This is an impartial review using yarn that I bought myself.  

3 comments:

  1. I am new to your blog and thoroughly enjoying it thank you - even if I live in Australia and dont always know the places or things you refer to ☺ Interestingly your no nylon article was of great importance to me this week as I am part way through 8ply merino boot socks (no nylon) because the yarn was gifted to me. I have only ever before used WYS or similar, but when I tried the sock on to judge length for the toes I was amazed how lush they felt and I note your comparison of BFL to merino so hopefully they will be ok!

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  2. 2 minutes after reading your post and I've ordered 4 skeins....(cloud and sage). Looking forward to their arrival and to having a go at my first "non-basic" socks! xx

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  3. Thank you so much. I am hoping that my new year resolution will be to source non-plastic yarns from then onwards and to use up my small stash of semi-natural yarns throughout next year. I wear the heels of my socks a great deal so I will have to find good sturdy yarns x

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