Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day One – A Tale of Two Yarns

Hooray! It’s time for Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week!

Today’s question:

Part of any fibre 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.

I’m going to do a tale of four yarns (gotta do things differently) only because I want to talk about two mass market yarns and two yarn shop yarns. Also, I’m going to talk about yarns that I love. 🙂

Mass Market Yarns

I have many favorite mass market yarns. I think this happened because I don’t have a local yarn shop really local to me. And when I started crocheting in full force I didn’t know there were shops that were dedicated to just yarn.

Okay, the first yarn that is my go-to yarn in my stash for most gifts (especially if they’re afghans) is Red Heart Super Saver. I know, many people hate it. I don’t. Is it scratchy sometimes when working it up? Sure. But a quick wash in the machine with some fabric softener and it’s awesome. I’ve made every single blanket I’ve made for my niece out of this yarn. And all of them have held up. Even the ones she dragged behind her as a little kid. The color range is awesome. And I’m always amazed at the new colors that come out each year.

The blankets I made for my niece and step-niece

Photo of Spectrum Afghan made for Coats and Clark

In fact, I’m busting through my stash of it right now working on the 63 Cable Stitches book to make myself a long overdue afghan. See, it’s summer right now (yes, I’m aware it’s almost April, but this is Florida) and working on the bigger scrap afghan I was working on has to be put away until winter. It’s just too hot to have an afghan on my lap. So, an afghan out of squares is perfect.

Photo of my WIP of the 63 Cable Stitches pattern

Anyway, I also love to “kill” Red Heart Super Saver. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? What I mean by that, is that my favorite way to block Super Saver is with steam. I pin the item to measurements (perfect with motifs) and then hit it with steam from my garment steamer. I love watching it relax. Now, I wouldn’t do this for everything, but for things like afghans, I love having it relax and get a bit more drape.

Josalynne’s Garden Afghan from Crochet World, first afghan I “killed” the motifs on to help them relax

My other favorite mass market yarn is Naturally Caron Spa. This bamboo blend yarn is just sumptuous. It holds up well to wear (I have a pullover out of it) and can be washed in the machine (love that). The one thing that would make me love it more? More colors! Oh, and maybe a fingering weight, but that’s the designer in me talking.

Spa is super soft, though, and holds up really well while crocheting with it. It’s also very lightweight, something that’s great here in Florida. I haven’t done many things with it because I just haven’t had the time. But, I did design and make this pullover in it:

My design, not written down yet, I need to make another one since I can’t read my notes

Local Yarn Shop Yarns

I fell in love with Rowan Calmer when I got it as a gift. Helps that it was in purple (y’all might detect a theme there). 🙂 It’s a cotton and acrylic blend. It was so soft and luxurious to work with. I immediately started crocheting up a Doris Chan pattern and this has become one of my favorite crocheted tops. It even ranks higher than my own designed pullover. It has held up well since I crocheted the top in 2009.

Runaround pattern from Doris Chan’s book Everyday Crochet

My other new favorite local yarn shop yarn is Zitron Noblesse. It’s a Merino and silk blend tonal yarn. I received it to make the sample for the Red Rocks Wrap that was in Interweave Winter. When I opened the box I gasped. When I opened the bag the yarn was in, I was in love. This yarn is so soft and yummy and the tonal shifts are amazing. If I could have kept the extra yarn, I would have. So luxurious. It was fabulous to crochet with. I’m still convinced that it was the yarn that took this design from cool to absolutely amazing.

Photo copyright Interweave and used with permission

By no means are the yarns I listed here my only favorites. I have a ton of other yarns I love and will use for various projects. And while there are yarns I don’t like, for the most part it’s not that I don’t like the yarn itself…it’s that the yarn is hard to work with here in Florida (looking at you bulky weight yarns). 🙂

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY1. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. 🙂