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Monday, May 25, 2009

Does The Yarn Matter?

Most novice knitters have so much to take in as they learn different stitch patterns and techniques that they pay very little attention to which yarn will make their project outstanding. I understand. It was very long time ago when I started to knit, but I remember very clearly what I felt and how I moved from step to step to become a better knitter. At first you just want to get it. Your practice yarn and needles do not matter. After awhile you want to make a project that will show your skills and makes you proud. So you come to the point of choosing a “real” yarn for a “real” project. If you are using a certain pattern for this project, the designer is suggesting the yarn for it. What if you want to change the yarn? Let’s say your friend gave you a few balls of yarn and you want to use it. For the sake of staying on the topic we are not going to discuss how to change your gauge (we will assume that the yarns are very close in weight) and we will not talk about anything complicated like a sweater. Instead, we will take a scarf pattern. You could start thinking about the color, softness (important for a scarf, right?), content (especially if you are allergic to some fibers), price, and length of the yarn. Everything seems to be fine. Is it enough information? Could be.
I will tell you about my recent experiment with one of my patterns Lacy Scarf from Casual, Elegant Knits. I made it out of three different yarns.This is the first scarf that I have made with this pattern. The yarn is
Gioiello by Filatura Di Crosa in Fingering weight and is made out of Mohair, Wool, Nylon, Cotton, Acrylic and Metalic. The scarf is very light. It shows the stitch pattern beautifully.
When I needed to choose the yarn for this scarf to go with the book projects, I changed the thinking on this scarf. It became heavier, yet more glamorous, with more functionality to it. There were two yarns used this time. One is very thin Kid Merino from Crystal Palace Yarns and the other one is La Boheme from Fiesta Yarns which is made of two strands: luxurious rayon boucle and brushed kid mohair. I had to use less stitches and bigger needles this time. Very recently, I had to make this scarf for a workshop from the yarn that this shop had on hands.The yarn is called Glimmer from The Alpaca Yarn Co. It is made out of Polyester and Alpaca. It also has a little metallic thread going through which is hard to see on this photo, sorry. The thickness of the scarf is in the middle of the first two. It is definitely more sporty looking and because it does not have that much fuzz, the stitch definition is more pronounced.
I have used the same pattern, but different yarns for this "non-intentional experiment"and I have to say that my heart is still with the first scarf. I think it is because my design was for that yarn, that was my vision and it came out exactly as I wanted it. I also am in love with the white version. The yarn I used brought a luxury look and some dreamy qualities to the design. To me it is a totally different scarf. The last one is too close to my first one and it is very hard for it to compete. I think it is the least favorite one for me. It looks nice, but it is not want I was hoping to achieve. I did not know it when I was asked to use this yarn. It looked very suitable to me.I did not have much of a choice, really. Do not misunderstand me, I love the result, but it is not the same as I hoped it to be.
So, my suggestion to a novice knitter: make a good swatch and look at it. The yarn is a crucial component of your project and you want it to be right. Good luck with your yarn choices.

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