Monday, March 28, 2011

A tale of (the evolution of my) twoish yarns

Yay! It's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! When I logged onto Ravelry this morning, I realized that I had plum forgotten about all of the blog week goings-on. I do believe that a good half of my friend bloggers are participating.

It was terribly difficult impossible to narrow my yarn tale down to just two yarns. The obvious choice would be to write another blog about Tosh (Tosh, Tosh), but I'm sure my dear readers are getting a little sick of my tosh-y banter...and I'll try to reserve that for this week's yarn pornz. Another reason I couldn't choose is because I haven't worked with all that many different yarns. I decided, instead, to use this post as a reflection of how I came to be the crazy yarn hoarder I am today.

First of all...some context.

I haven't been a hardcore knitter for all that long. My mother taught me how to knit, just knit, when I was a wee lass in sixth grade. I focused on it enough to make scarves for myself and my BFF at the time (and she still has it! After tennish years!). But I soon grew tired of having to wait for my mother to cast on hundreds of stitches for me and I wasn't as resourceful then, so I had no true desire to learn how to cast on/bind off by myself.

Flash forward to 2006/2007. I'd started dating Matt and was starting to turn into the eager little crafty lady you see before you. After high school, I started stalking the Craftster forums and my eyes were opened to so many different creative opportunities. I discovered Etsy and the T-Shirt Surgery community on livejournal, and I remember that some of my first conversations with Matt, the ones where we started to fall in "like" with eachother, were related to my crafty endeavors.  Crafting and knitting also offered me the opportunity to bond with Matt's mom (she knits) and Matt's dad (he draws and take photos).

Danica Scarf, my first "real" project

I decided to take up knitting again and made myself a Danica scarf from Knitty's Winter 2005 issue. My first "real" project was an entrelac scarf! I didn't understand why people were impressed, but, looking back, I think my mother cast on and bound off for me. I taught myself how to do those things later on.

Ok, now on to the yarn deetz...

The yarn I used for my Danica was Patons SWS in Natural Earth. I feel in love with it after seeing Tragicheroine's version posted on a Craftster knitting forum. And, for my first twoish years as a "new" knitter, that SWS was the best yarn I used.

Wool Ease, Patons Classic Wool, Vanna's Choice

I guess I really got into knitting in Summer of 2007, but that is up for debate. And from then until just recently, about 7-8 months ago, I bought ALL of my yarn solely from Joann, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Anna Lisa, I can hear you screaming at me from here. And I still have it all! Even as I average a skein of tosh per day or two, I still use acrylic blends from time to time. Some of it (especially Lion Brand Wool Ease and Vanna's Choice) are very soft. Out of the two, I would rate Wool Ease a little better in terms of feel, but Vanna's Choice offers a lot of better colors. I've also used Simply Soft a few times, but it has a little too much sheen or my preference. As I try not to be a yarn snob (which has become harder since working at my LYS), I will NEVER use Red Heart Super Saver. But I won't judge you if you do :)

My first splurges: Eco Wool & Noro Kureyon
I didn't "splurge" on yarn until 2009. It's funny to think of Eco Wool (for my Hemlock Ring Blanket) as a splurge, but it definitely was. It was the first online yarn purchase I ever made. Noro Kureyon was my second splurge, coming a year later. A year! I bought the Noro to make a Counterpane Carpet Bag, which looks absolutely STUNNING in Kureyon, but I still haven't made it. The woe of a knitter, am I right?

Stitch Nation in Full of Sheep & Bamboo Ewe
One of the major turning points in my fiber fixation came around last year, when Debbie Stoller's Stitch Nation yarn line hit Joann and Michaels, my yarn suppliers. After having worked with acrylic/wool blends for so long, this line offered up something new: bamboo and alpaca. I started stockpiling the stuff, snatching up a skein or two of this yarn every other day. The colors were rich and the yarns felt so nice. I must have ended up with 4-5 of each color and it soon became the only think I knit with. Well, that and Vanna. If you take a peek over at my Ravelry Projects you will notice that about a third of my projects, not including the hats I knit for charity, were knit using Stitch Nation.

Cascade Eco+ & Malabrigo Sock

The thing that really turned on my yarn hoarding (and constant splurging) happened last September: I started working at my LYS. When you spend 20-25 hours each week surrounded by beautiful yarns and enablers (coughCHRISTIE/ANNALISA/KATEcough), it's difficult to resist temptation. While this can be a bad thing, especially on the 25th of each month when my credit card bill is due, it is also a beautiful thing. I'm constantly inspired by all of the beautiful colors and patterns that I have access to each and every day. And it's an even more beautiful thing when I get to help people make their yarn selections and you can tell that they're just as crazy/inspired/irrational as I am.

Knit Picks Palette
So, there you have the yarns of my past. In addition to this Knit Picks Palette (I think I'm the only person in the world who hasn't knit with Knit Picks yet), this year I'm making it a point to test drive more yarns. Yarns I'm craving include: The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! or Skinny Bugga!, Rowan Kidsilk Haze (or KP Aloft, which is a decent doppelganger), Classic Elite Firefly, Wollmeise (I still think this one may be an urban legend ;p), and Habu of some sort. Oh! And Quince and Co. most definitely.

I guess I just need to learn how to splurge more ;p


  1. I can't say I'm a big fan of VC, because it's 100% acrylic. But Wool-ease at 50/50 is perfectly acceptable, and holds up well, which is good for things like mittens. I have a few skeins of Stitch Nation, but haven't used them yet, so I can't say one way or another - but agree on the great colors.

    However, tracing your history on this is a cool thing. :)

  2. I've knit more with VC than I have with Wool-ease, but that's mostly just because of the color selection.

    I really enjoy Stitch Nation, but the Full of Sheep does pill a bit. I knit my boyfriend some Fingerless gloves and they were pilling all over the place. I didn't run into an issue with the hats I made, but I don't know if I would recommend it for handy things :) And Bamboo Ewe is a pretty fantastic bamboo blend.

    Thanks, I had a lot of fun :) And it was kind of therapeutic.