Monday, March 28, 2011

Yarns I have Loved/Loathed

Today begins Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011, and our topic is yarn.

This one is tricky for me, since I haven't had any truly strong negative reactions to yarn in a while. There are lots of yarns I like, and many I'm mostly indifferent to, but I had to dig deep into my knitting past to come up with a truly awful yarn experience. It turns out that in my early days as a serious knitter I made a lot of unfortunate yarn choices; looking at some of my early ravelry projects makes me wince.

What was I thinking? or, Yarn I Loathe
In 2006, I acquired a lot of cheap sale yarn from a craft store in the neighbourhood that was going out of business. I was just starting to get back into knitting in a serious way, and I was figuring it out as I went along. (Not that this is a bad way of approaching learning!) This was before Ravelry, so I didn't have the yarn database at my disposal.

Hence, my foray into using Bernat Denim Style. This is an acrylic yarn plied with cotton that I'm sure has some uses, but the following is not one of them.


I made Picovoli, a cute tee by Grumperina. This was a bad idea. First of all, the yarn is aran weight and the pattern calls for DK. I thought I was being clever and made a smaller size to compensate - this only sort of worked. Secondly, the colour is pretty terrible on me. Beige streaked with white? What was I thinking. Anyway, the pattern is awesome, and maybe one of these days I'll attempt it again, but in this yarn it quickly became mishapen. I tried wearing it a few times as a t-shirt and as a vest. It wasn't great for next-to-the-skin wear because the acrylic made me sweat and didn't let the moisture escape easily. Gross. In any case, this was a lesson in inappropriate yarn choice for a given project.

But enough negativity.

Now I Gush about Yarn I Love
There are so many yarns I adore in varying fibres and price ranges.

It is no secret that I love Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend - the softness, the drape, the gorgeous colours whether semi-solid or variegated... Ah. I could go on. Because this yarn is not very hard-wearing, I don't think I'll ever make a sweater with it. However, I've decided I want everything I wrap around my neck to be this soft, so I've made two scarf-like things with it.


The first, pictured above, was My So-Called Scarf by Allison Isaacs. It's tricky to find stitch patterns that do the constantly changing colours of this yarn justice, but this pattern is brilliant for variegated yarns. More recently, I made my Danube Cowl (pattern forthcoming, etc etc plug plug) with a semi-solid colourway.

I haven't made these yet, but I think the Honey Cowl and Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks scarf look great in the variegated version of this yarn as well. In my queue!



  1. Nice scarf! I have two skeins of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in purples that I have not yet decided what to make with. Your scarf and gushing review makes me eager to get going on something with my two skeins :)

  2. Oooooooh.. I totally agree on that Manos del Uruguay yarn, that's gorgeous!

    And so is the Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks pattern, I think it would look awesome in a variegated yarn if it's as pretty as the type you used for your scarf.

  3. Oooh, Manos. That pattern does show it off perfectly!

  4. So much acrylic madness hidden in our pasts ; )That Manos silk blend looks so luxurious. I've added holding hands, feeding ducks to my faves, thanks!

  5. I've totally done the I have the wrong size yarn but I'm so smart and I'll knit it in a smaller size thing. It...doesn't work.

  6. I love the Manos silk blend. I have just used some for a Scroll Lace Scarf. You are right. It is really lovely to work with.

  7. Holy cow. Your So-Called Scarf is lovely.

    I wish there was more information out there about yarn substitutions. Whoever spread the word that knitting a heavier gauge yarn in a smaller size was just plain wrong.

  8. Nice to know about the Manos Silk Blend! I haven't used the worsted wool one b/c it didn't seem as soft but awesome you made Allison's scarf in it.

  9. Your scarf is so gorgeous. The colors of the Manos is just amazing. Must try this one out.

  10. Thanks for your comment on my blog, I immediately popped over to see what you'd done with the Manos! Funnily enough, My So Called Scarf is my first choice of pattern for my Manos stash - it shows off the colours so well, and I love the colourway you've done it in :)

  11. I'm guessing I NEED to give Manos silk blend a go, I even have a skein in my stash. Honey cowl looks possible, as does 'my so called cowl' (see what I did there? hehe)

  12. You're not wrong about the MSCS showing of variegated yarn well! It's turning out beautifully!

    As for the Bernat, hey, rookie mistake. You live, you learn. And you clearly learned!