Someone asked about starting a discussion abut yarn, in my Questions About Yarn thread : https://vb.ourunraveled.com/forum/fiber/yarn/5650-questions-about-yarn. I thought it was an excellent idea, so I decided to start one!
What I’m hoping to accomplish here, is exactly what the title says, open a discussion about yarn. What we look for in a yarn. Brand names we favor, and why. Brand names we stay away from, and why. Acrylic vs. natural fiber. Where to find certain types of yarn. Which yarn works best for what projects. What colors, or color combinations would you like to see in yarn. Advantages and disadvantages of using variegated yarns as opposed to solid yarns. When to use a variegated yarn, and when it’s best to stay away from it. What do you think about self striping yarn? Basically, I’m looking for a real discussion about yarn. So let me get this going!
For me, personally, I’m on a smaller than shoe string budget. So what I look for in a yarn, is how to get the best quality at the lowest possible cost. Sure, I would LOVE to be able to buy merino wool yarn for a project, but I simply can’t afford to spend $20-100 on a single skein of yarn. The most I’ve payed for a skein of yarn, is $7.00, and my husband cringed when I did it.
Right now I work almost exclusively with acrylic yarns. I prefer yarns that are soft in nature, because I crochet a LOT of baby blankets, and I don’t want to scratch their delicate skin. I work mostly with Caron Simply Soft, Bernat, and Lion Brand yarn, although I have used Sweet Roll cakes, too. I’ve also tried a new yarn brand that I think is sold exclusively at WalMart, and that’s Main Stays. It’s currently selling for about $2.00 a skein, so it’s a lot cheaper than even the Caron Simply Soft that is my staple. It’s not as soft as Caron, but it’s a lot softer than Red Heart. The one thing I have noticed about it, is that if you use the recommended hook for the yarn, it crochets fairly stiff. I would go up a hook size or two when using it. They also don’t seem to have the color variety that Caron, or other yarns have. But it’s still a fairly new concept, so we shall have to see.
Hi @SDMcDaniel ! I’m a big fan of Simply Soft, and I use it for all kinds of projects: hats, fingerless mitts, etc. I love machine washable, easy care yarns. I make scarves and shawls with the fancier, pricier yarns.
I tend to use Simply Soft for almost everything, because that’s what I have the most of. Although, lately, if I’m going to be making a baby blanket, I will buy Bernat, It’s a little more expensive, but I usually don’t have to buy as much, so it comes out about even.
All through, I did ‘splurge’ on a cotton blend recently. I’m making curtains for my kitchen, and I want yarn I can through in the washer and dryer. Plus, the yarn I bought had the three colors I’m using in my kitchen, navy, light teal and bone. It’s a much lighter weight yarn, so when I get done, it’s going to be expensive, but the yarn I bought comes in more yardage/skein, so again, it will work out to be almost even. It’s put out by Lion Brand, and it’s a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend. It’s actually really soft. It’s interesting, because it’s a light 3 weight, but it recommends using a j/10 hook with it. I’ve never seen that. I’m currently using an H hook, I believe, but I’m using too much yarn, so I may have to frog it and start over.
I tend to feel like every type of yarn has its purpose. In order to make a successful project, one needs to pair the right type of yarn with the pattern also considering the purpose of the finished object. So I use a wide variety of yarns in all fibers (except acrylic and llama because I’m allergic to those fibers). I mostly use indie-dyed yarns probably because I’m a big sucker for all of the amazing colors.
I’ve found that for stranded work that regular wool or even less tightly plied superwash wools are better than tightly twisted yarns because they have more give and also the bit of halo fills in the gaps nicely. For baby items I typically use cotton for blankets and either cotton or superwash wool/blends for sweaters and superwash for things like booties and hats. I knit a lot of accessories for myself and tend to use my favorite type of yarn for those items - tightly twisted merino yarns…you know, the ones that are a bit ropey and almost feel like working with cotton. I love that when I wash and block that the yarn softens and drape increases. And I really love that those yarns tend to wear extremely well and pill very little, if at all.
I can’t say that I have favorite brands that I go back to again and again, but that’s because I like to try new dyers. I have particularly enjoyed working with Wollmeise, Sweet Fiber, Apothefaery, Lost City Knits, Blue Moon, just to name a few.
@knitterlady13 I’m so sorry to hear that you are allergic to acrylic yarns. As I said before, I would love to try some of those hand dyed yarns, I simply can not afford it. That’s part of the reason I got into writing patterns. It’s something I can do that hopefully will generate an income, so I can afford to do more, besides, helping to take care of my family.
@SDMcDaniel Thanks. I used to knit prayer shawls out of acrylic and then I’d pin out the shawl and kill the acrylic fibers. It was amazing to see the difference and the shawls had lovely drape. I’m convinced that the allergy is due to exposure over a long period of time. I still knit prayer shawls, but now I either use superwash wool or plant fibers.
@SDMcDaniel Thanks for starting this thread. I love all sorts of yarn - at many, many price points. I try to match the yarn to the project as best I can, but it is a hike to the nearest brick-and-mortar store so hearing about what people choose and why will be really helpful. I will chime in with some favorites of my own when I have more time.
I recently used Woolike - it’s an acrylic/nylon blend that is very soft. I made socks out of it because it was the colour my granddaughter wanted, but I wouldn’t use it for socks again as it was almost too drapey. Would be lovely for a lacey shawl, though, and very inexpensive. It comes in 100 g which is usually just a bit too much for a pair of socks in the sizes I make, but it almost seems like I have enough for another pair, so yes, lots of mileage at 678 yards.
Homespun has a lovely, soft feel to the finished product, but is murder to crochet with! Begins to halo a bit with washing.
Regia Pairfect - use this almost exclusively for socks at it usually has a very durable finish, nice colours, moderately priced, depending on where you buy it.
Paton Sock - again, a durable yarn, but not quite as soft and colours where I get it are usually limited.
My taste in yarn varies according to what I am making. I like wool or wool/acrylic for sweaters, wool for Christening shawls or anything lacy, 80/20 wool/nylon for socks, acrylic for blankets. I don’t like polyester, it somehow manages to make me feel cold and sweaty at the same time, definitely not good. I am not keen on fluffy yarns, e.g. mohair - you can’t see any textured stitches and it is difficult to rip out if you make a mistake.
As for colour, I like to get pattern from texture rather than colour, so I prefer a plain colour where the lace, cables or whatever will show up. I find knitting miles of stocking stitch boring, even if the colour is changing. Besides, the colours never come out the way I expected; sometimes better, sometimes worse, but always different. I like to mix colours up, but I like to be in charge of the mix, which probably says more about my personality than about the yarn!
So let me start by saying that the least expensive part of any project that does nto include precious gems and metals is always the materials.
Even us “retired-ish” types have limits on our time. So my philosophy has always been to buy the best materials I can afford.
there have been times in my life when that was inexpensive craft store yarns
But as I “got older” made the choice that I would rather have less and enjoy the making
Other than braiding, I do not do much cotton other than kitchen and bath accessories - B IG swatches make excellent wash clothes, a longer warp can easily provide some wonderful dishtowels and fetch wool swatches make great hot pads.
- since I like to use many techniques, especially with larger accessories, my preferred “smooth” yarns are either Ella Rae or Araucania
I like that many of the colors and colorways are repeated in several weights, so depending on choice of technique (knit, crochet, weave) I can coordinate accessories.
These also offer an excellent price/value ratio - much as I love and respect the work of indie dyers, it is often not in my budget. So to be able to work with interesting colorways while leaving some left over so we can eat this week - these are my brands of choice.
For novelty - mostly used in my braiding and weaving - Louisa Harding and Katia and some of the KFI Luxury usually fulfill my needs.
I’m afraid you could call me a yarn snob. I don’t do a whole lot of other activities/hobbies and my husband and I have a set budget. My budget is about 500$/year. I still buy some more budget friendly brands for socks and gifted items but I tend to buy indie dyed and kettle dyed yarns for myself.
i live Berger de France self stripping yarns.
I have a few pairs of Patton’s Kroy socks but I do find it’s closer to sport weight and my socks end up a bit big if I don’t adjust accordingly.
I never buy a skein or a kit that costs more than 30$ if it’s going on my feet, I would rather buy really nice yarn for a cowl or shawl (favorite project).
I started spinning because I wanted to get more enjoyment out of the whole process. I may spend just as much in fiber but I get to enjoy spinning it and then knitting with it double the fun.
I tend to buy a lot of merino nylon sock weight. If I know it’s going into a shawl I’ll vote for single ply because it’s lovely.
Everything must be soft. I hate scratchy anything. I have found some nice Lion Brand and Mary maxim yarns in acrylic and wool/nylon but I hate Red Heart and refuse to use it (many people have gifted me heart when they learn I knit)
Yarn that I don’t like gets swapped or gifted to a local knitter who will actually enjoy it.
I don’t have a large stash, I try to buy as I go and plan projects around purchases.
oh, I can’t stand Red Heart. Like you, I refuse to use it. It’s so scratchy and stiff! I hate the way it works up.