Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day One (sort of)

Sadly, I think Monday has passed no matter where you are in the world, but because I am dim, I looked at last year’s dates for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week instead of this year’s. So I have some catching up to do.

A Tale of Two Yarns
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.

It took me a little while to explore the wonderful world of yarn shopping, since I can’t wear most wools and so didn’t really see the point. I was fairly convinced that I was going to be limited to cottons and acrylics, and so concentrated on them. More recently, I’ve found that it entirely depends on the type of wool, and so have been exploring some more interesting yarns and dyers. The Knitting Goddess‘s Merino Tencel has been particularly good, as has Old Maiden Aunt‘s Bluefaced Leicester Aran and The Yarn Yard’s Bothy.

But the two yarns I’ve picked for today come from a mass-market stable, and probably better reflect my experiences up til now.

This is Rowan Cashsoft 4ply, and it is an absolute joy to work with. It doesn’t make me itch, it’s soft, and it comes in fabulous, vibrant colours. I think what I like most about it (apart from the fact that it’s always half price when John Lewis have a sale) is that it feels nice on my crochet hook. It’s smooth but not slippery, and has just the right amount of stretch so that I’m confident the finished piece is going to hold its shape. I’ve made a couple of long shawls from it, and although the weight does pull the stitches a little, in general it seems to be pretty tough.

I’m definitely drawn to the silky end of the yarn market, and have developed a real love of bamboo yarns.

Yes, this is Rowan again, Bamboo soft this time. The yarn was another impulse buy in the John Lewis sale, just after I’d started crocheting. It’s one of the softest, silkiest yarns you’ll ever hold and as soon as I picked it up, I wanted to just wrap myself in it and never come out. Unfortunately, I bought it without a specific project in mind and without really knowing what DK bamboo was good for. I wrongly assumed that a nice dense stitch pattern would give me the silky soft fabric I wanted. Instead, the yarn proved splitty, stiff and an absolute pig to work. I kept making things and frogging them, which of course made the splittiness worse, and eventually I dropped into the bottom of my stash, giving up hope of ever finding anything.

Again, I was wrong (noticing a theme?). This shawlette, with its huge lace motifs and need for drape proved ideal for the yarn, and once I was working it with the right (large) hook size, it worked up like the dream I had hoped it would be. There are still some balls lurking in the bottom of my stash that I have the same feeling about – what am I ever going to make with these? why did I buy them in the first place? – but my experience with the bamboo gives me hope that eventually, the right pattern will present itself.

If you look at my stash on Ravelry, you’ll see there’s a fair variety of yarns there, and probably if I were to do this post again in a year’s time, I’d have quite different answers for you. Hopefully I’ll know a bit more about independent yarn dyers, and maybe have found some more wools that don’t make me want to scratch at my neck. I should probably visit some yarn shows to explore all my options, shouldn’t I? Purely for research purposes, of course. 😉

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4 thoughts on “Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day One (sort of)

    1. I love that I buy from a *person* whose name I know, rather than just a company. My budget prefers the acrylic, but a crocheter cannot live by acrylic alone 😉

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  1. I’m quite violently allergic to anything with lanolin in – so anything from sheep, goats, llama, camel … I’ve tried and given up on. It all makes me itch and break out in hives. I have recently found out that alpaca has no lanolin and is said to be hypoallergenic and I’ve tested this out using baby alpaca with good results so far!

    I’m still quite new to buying yarn and am trying out anything and everything that I probably won’t react to!! I love bamboo too – soya was good (a bit splitty though) and I’ve just used a cotton / hemp / linen mix which I liked for crochet.

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    1. That’s really interesting. I do have some camel-mix (Debbie Bliss Fez) that I’ll be interested to try, but it’s a fairly high wool content, so I’m not entirely hopeful. Alpaca has given me mixed results. Some chunky baby alpaca has been fine but made one of my relatives (who can wear wool) itch violently. I get hives anyway, so I tend to be careful, but I have found that if the wool is mixed enough, I can manage.

      That mixture sounds interesting! I have a little soya/baby alpaca that I bought in France that I have hopes for. Where was your cotton/hemp/linen from? I have some pure linen that I’ve been wanting to use for a shawl but am concerned about the drape.

      …reading that back, I think I must have a little of most types of fibre! That yarn-shopping bug is pretty virulent ;D

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