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Mama, wife, knitter, blogger, spinner, wannabe something or other. That's enough, right?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Knit & Crochet Blog Week: Day 1 - MONDAY

Day One: Monday, 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns
Part of any fiber enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

Tips: It is a good idea, if possible, to choose a yarn that you adore and a yarn that just didn’t work for you. You do not need to be critical of any yarn if you do not feel comfortable in doing so, but perhaps you came to realize that one yarn wasn’t suitable for a particular project, if possible you could blog about what you have come to learn about choosing the right yarn, or your love of experimenting with fibers.

As a "fiber enthusiast," I certainly have a deep appreciation for yarn. What can I say? I'm a bit of a yarn addict...hence the title of this blog.

Over the course of my knitting years, which is mostly the last three years, I have used several yarns...Red Heart Super Saver, Cascade 220 Wool, Berroco Peruvia Quick, Berroco Love It, Misti Alpaca Chunky, Lion Brand Cotton Ease, Lion Brand Homespun, Tahki Cotton Classic...just to name a few. I have several (hundred) more skeins in my stash that I haven't used...Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Wollmeise 80/20, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Plucky Knitter, Samantha in Stitches, Sun Valley Fibers, Cascade 220 Superwash...just to name a few more.

I have a love of yarn; what can I say?

But, that's not the topic. The topic wants me to pick some yarn that I have (1) used, (2) have in my stash, or (3) yearn to use and what I either love or loathe about them.

Let's start with a basic: Cascade 220 Wool.

I have a crapton of this yarn in my stash (though I haven't updated my stash in awhile). I have sweater quantities in several colors (and that's saying something since I'm no pixie), and I tend to buy this yarn in, at the very least, pairs. I made my sister-in-law an Irish Hiking Scarf using two skeins of Cascade 220. When I made it, it was my first experience making a proper piece. In fact, I'd say it was my first "real" project. I had made a hat on two needles (as opposed to a circular) and a stockinette scarf prior to that (out of Lion Brand Thick & Quick) but those were my learning projects. This was my first "real," proper project. And I'm a perfectionist.

Anyway, I learned how to do cables, pick up dropped stitches, and start and restart again and again. I started this project on #9 metal needles...several times. I lamented to my Wednesday Night Knitting Group that I *gasp* absolutely hated Cascade 220. I could not get anywhere with this yarn. I was about ready to throw the project by the wayside because I was having so many problems with this yarn. I don't remember exactly who suggested that my problem may not have been with the yarn...but they suggested that I buy some #9 bamboo needles (Clover Takumi, to be exact) and try again. It was like magic!

Instantly, I fell in love with Cascade 220. I probably spent a good 60 hours on that scarf because, as a new knitter, I had some difficulties with dropped stitches...and as I said before, I'm a perfectionist. The scarf came out perfectly. I almost hated to give it to my future SIL (she is my SIL now but she wasn't at the time) but, I did. I don't know if she wears it...I'm guessing she does but she lives an hour away and it's getting to be spring.

I went a little wild buying Cascade 220 when one of the local yarn stores (LYS) in Madison was downsizing. I got a bunch of sweater quantities and some smaller quantities, but all with the same dyelots.

Since that project for my SIL, I don't think I've really used any Cascade 220. I do have a love for it. It's a basic worsted wool. It will felt. It will be warm. It will wear well. I just haven't used it as much as I should (since I own so much).

Anyway, moving on...another basic, in my book: Lion Brand Cotton Ease

I have several skeins of this yarn in my stash, as well. One of my first projects with this yarn was the London Beanie (the link isn't the first one I made - it's actually the 3rd one I made, all out of Lion Brand Cotton Ease). I have made a few hats with this yarn and I think I've made washcloths, as well. It's an acrylic/cotton blend so it wears well, can be warm, and is machine washable and dryable. It's great for things like blankets, baby items, or items for destructive husbands (negligent?).

The London Beanie is quick and I have made three of them (so far). One went to my "niece," one to my "nephew" (her brother), and I made one for myself. I also made a Simple Baby Cap (v2) out of this yarn (there's no photo on my project page yet).

Why do I have a love for this yarn? Because it wears well, can be machine washed/dried, and comes in a zillion different colors.

More yarn I love: Anything from The Plucky Knitter

I have purchased several skeins of Plucky. As she is a very popular independent dyer, it can be difficult to get your hands on her yarn...her shop updates sell out in 5-10 minutes. I have purchased from her shop updates only two or three times. She has been a vendor at the Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In for, at least, the last two or three years. That's where I've gotten my hands on her stuff. It's so nice to pet and the colors are fantastic...she has a gray scale that is impeccable! Don't worry, she delves in color just as much as grays but it's so difficult to find a gray that I really like.

I hate to admit it aloud, though I admitted it to Sarah (The Plucky Knitter) at Knit In last weekend, but I have never knit anything from any of my Plucky. Nothing. I just like to sit and pet it. I have ideas for it...but nothing has come to fruition yet. I just want to pet it.

Also, she has a blog and a group on Ravelry, both of which announce shop updates and she occasionally has contests and other fun things going on that she'll announce :)

And on to the "other" yarns...ones I'm not big into...........hrm.

First up: Red Heart Super Saver

Okay, I know there are people that swear by this yarn, like I do with Cascade 220, but I just can't fall in love with it. It has a place but it's not in my house or my stash. I used it to make potholder/washcloth/plant protectors for all my bridesmaids when I got married. I hated every minute of it. It's not that the pattern was difficult but I just hated the yarn. I fought with it, it drove my hands nuts...I generally have dry hands and this yarn stuck on every single dry patch.

There was one redeeming quality about this yarn: when I dropped a stitch, it was easy to pick up because it didn't really drop anywhere except off the needle.

Second up: Misti Alpaca Chunky

Okay, don't get me wrong...this yarn is soft, fluffy, and feels great as a finished object (FO). Knitting with it, on the other hand, is annoying. I have Little Man and Husband at home. Husband has pissy skin. Changes in water, soap, detergent, etc., don't go well with him. He can't stand this yarn. So, I can't use it for anything for him. Little Man is almost 5 months old and puts everything in his mouth that he can get his little hands on. Misti Alpaca Chunky is fuzzy when you knit with least, that was my experience. When I was making Susan's Hat (v2), I had white fuzz everywhere. When I was making Susan's Hat (v3), I had navy blue fuzz everywhere. I'm still finding fuzz, mostly in my bedroom (that's where I knit both hats, usually while Little Man was napping).

So, the verdict on Misti Alpaca Chunky: great as a FO...annoying to knit with. I don't know if this holds true for Misti Alpaca Handpainted Sock Yarn though I have several skeins in my stash.

Third (and lastly): Lion Brand Homespun

Generally, I have a love of all things Lion Brand. Homespun, on the other hand, I just cannot love. For a fuzzy, acrylic yarn, it's not horrible...but if you're just starting to knit, this is not the yarn you want. Because of the fuzz, needles don't go where they're supposed to go and stitches can be kind of dropped but not really dropped I even making any sense?

Homespun is not a fun yarn. It's kind of a novelty but not in the way that eyelash and ribbon are novelty yarns. I was only supposed to pick two yarns. I don't read directions well and I get a little carried away. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts...I certainly enjoyed bragging about yarn. I like yarn :)


  1. Yours is the second post about the Lion's Brand Homespun that I've seen for this post... If I had thought of it, I would have added it as my 2nd hated yarn, because I bought this beautiful yarn with high hopes, but crocheting with it was a complete nightmare! Great post! :-)

  2. Hi,
    now i knit one cardi in cascade 220wool and i also found this yarn very soft and hot
    (sorry for my bad english)

  3. This topic was perfect for your blog! ;)

  4. I so agree on the lion homespun - I was hired by a photography gal who hired me to knit props and so love the look of homespun down to the color. I hated every minuted make those dang hats. Redheart cheap and easy but your right hard on the hands. When I crochet I have been known to work on the project all day and have gotten blisters from redheart. Loved your article and I'm working on mine tonigh - giving the day to think about my likes and don'ts...

  5. Yeah Cascade 220!! I saw that you're from So WI, have you ever been to Lakeside Fibers in Madison? I'm addicted to their Cascade 220 wall.

  6. @ AC: Where do you think I got the crapload of Cascade 220? It was when they were downsizing :)

  7. Have you tried Caron Simply Soft yet? I really, really like that yarn. :D :D

    Totally agree with the Cascade 220!!! :D :D

  8. I totally forgot about Homespun when writing my post. That is by far the yarn I hate most of all. And twice, people have bought that yarn and asked me to make something for them, and I've slogged through it. Hated every second.

  9. I've heard of Cascade 220 many times! I haven't tried it yet, but it seems like a great yarn and it comes in so many pretty colors!

  10. I love Cascade 220 also and need to buy and use more of it. You are funny and so upfront about your trials and tribulations w/yarn. Fantastic!

  11. i can't believe i didn't think of Homespun!! Though I don't much mind it now but when I bought my first few skeins of it as a beginning crocheter, it was a nightmare!!