One of the uncertainties about making socks is the matter of fit. Compared to a shop-bought pair of cotton socks, hand knitted socks of wool and nylon can sometimes feel a bit restrictive if not made to exact foot measurements. A sock cuff that is just that tiny bit too tight might not fit over the heel, or could cause an angry red and itchy welt when you relieve yourself of your footwear after a hard day. What you need is a bit of stretch.
On close visual inspection, Regia Stretch yarn looks absolutely no different from the manufacturer’s regular 4-ply sock yarn. Fortuitously, I had some remnants of non-stretch Regia yarn in exactly the same colourway left over from my Yarr! Boney! mittens for comparison, and upon observtion I could not tell the difference. The Squish Test proves the differences, though. The skeins of yarn have obvious extra bounce when you handle them, and picking up a strand to extend and relax it between your fingers immediately helps you to realise that the stretch is in more than just the marketing.
I have completed my first sock in this yarn (more of which soon) and I am happy to report that the qualities that enhance the yarn seem to increase exponentially in the knitting of it. The small amount of stretch found in the strand results in a generous and comfortable give in the socks – fantastic for when you are making a gift for someone you don’t have exacting foot measurements for. Though the socks pull on a lot easier (no panic at the point of the heel, wondering if the sock cuff will pass over) they are also more foot-hugging as the elasticity of the yarn contracts to hug the contours of the foot and ankle, helping the socks stay comfortable, and stay up. No baggy, saggy, ankle pools; no chilling draughts up the trouser leg.
Now, all I need to do is to knit a partner for my lone sock and I will have my very first pair of self-knitted hosiery that I will refuse to part with. Please pass me my needles.