The 2nd Annual KnitCroBlo Week is finally here! Are you excited? I sure as hell am. I’m no stranger to linking blog posts to form a little posting party, we do it on here every week with our WIP Wednesday and FO Friday posts. But KnitCroBlo is much, much bigger than that. Tami’s linky parties have up to 30 regular participants. KnitCroBlo should hit hundreds of blogs, right across the world.
Enough of the preamble! Let’s dive right in to today’s blogging topic: A Tale of Two Yarns. Which neatly ties in to last year’s Day 7 topic: What a Yarn.
Yarn. It’s a funny word, isn’t it? Growing up in the UK, I have a tendency to call it all “wool”, even though I now know that is massively incorrect. Of course “wool” is only yarn made from sheep fleece. Ravelry has opened my eyes to the huge array of materials yarn can be made from, both natural and man-made.
Budgetary concerns have kept me at the low-end of the yarn market so far. The vast majority of my projects made to date have been made from acrylic yarns (or blends with 50% or more acrylic fiber). There’s a lot of talk and opinion about acrylic yarns. I encountered the term “yarn snob” in the Ravelry forums, meaning a person who only uses expensive, natural fibers and turns their nose up at acrylics regardless. Then there are folks like me, who are happy to hook with the cheap stuff, and love it for its machine wash- and dry-ness. It’s great for baby stuff, and for amigurumi too. It comes in fantastic bright colours, which do not fade. It is warm. Very warm. And did I mention cheap?
My 100% acrylic of choice so far has been Sirdar Bonus DK. It’s £1.90 per 100g in Hobbycraft, and comes in a wonderful array of rainbow-bright shades. Where else could I find the eye-wateringly garish orange I used in my tiger striped starghan?
How else could I afford to attempt such an ambitiously sized project as my enormous granny rectangle afghan? I’ve had a go at calculating how much yarn I have used/will use for this project, it’s something like 2 balls of each colour, plus probably 4 balls of black by the time I am done. The total cost of this blanket is going to be less than £30. I couldn’t afford the yardage needed in a natural fiber.
|one of these days I'll take a new photo of this|
Not forgetting of course the number of small ami’s I’ve made using acrylics. Or the charitable crocheting I’ve been able to do using my lovely, cheap yarn.
I have been branching out, and made a number of projects in other yarns, notably Wendy Happy sock yarn (a bamboo mix) and the King Cole sock yarn (wool/nylon mix). But I am yet to step up to the heady heights of a pure merino, or cashmere, or alpaca.
I do have lofty yarn aspirations though. I hear a lot, in the Ravelry yarn forum, about some of the more popular “posh” yarns. The name Malabrigo comes up a lot, in particular the Malabrigo Lace yarn, 100% pure baby merino wool from particular sheep bred in Uruguay. There are over 13,000 projects loaded to the Ravelry database using this yarn. It has an average of 4.5/5 stars from user ratings. It is a very light weight, ideal for lace projects, as demonstrated by the many lace shawls knit using this yarn on Ravelry.
|See how beautiful it is!|
This pic belongs to Ravelry user LindaLovesLace
|This pic is ElaynaKnits's|
Gorgeous stuff. However, I am scared to try it, because I have also been reading that it felts really quickly, even with just light wear, and possibly even when you’re still working on it. My hands get very hot when I work on my crochet, so I’m terrified of spending upwards of £10 per skein on this yarn for it to be ruined even before I finish the project. Perhaps I will have to knit this yarn, instead of crocheting it. That might save me some problems.
There’s also the fact that “posh” yarns like this can’t be machine washed. Hand-washing is not something that gets done very often in my house, and I don’t really have the space to lay things out to dry flat. So I don’t want to spend all that money on yarn to make an item that I will only use until it needs washing the first time, at which point it would get shoved to the back of a cupboard and forgotten about.
I have heard equally nice things about Knit Picks yarns, with the added bonus of more exclusivity in the UK, as only Great British Yarns stock it here. It’s also cheaper than the Malabrigo. But the Knit Picks Shadow lace yarn I’ve been eyeing up (only £7 a skein) is also 100% baby merino, so wouldn’t that have exactly the same issues as the Malabrigo?
There is so much to learn about these different yarns. I can see the only real way I’m going to find these things out is to take the plunge, buy some, and see what happens. I have a rather nice shawl pattern in my Ravelry queue, which I’m thinking the Knit Picks Shadow will be perfect for. Perhaps I will treat myself on my birthday!
|Jane Austen shawl by yarnishness in Malabrigo Lace|
|Jane Austen shawl by Arianabeads in Knit Picks Gloss Lace|
Don’t forget, this post is part of KnitCroBlo Week, search in Google for “2KCBWDAY1” to find and read the rest of the bloggersphere’s contributions to today’s topic!