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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Best Yarns of 2010

This year has seen a lot of yarn coming through my door - at least $200 worth. I think that sounds worse than it is - I've made three small blankets, three cat mats and many many dishcloths. Hopefully 2011 will see a return on my investment! But as a result, I've seen plenty of low-end yarn, and now have a few favorites.

Without further ado:
  • Lion Brand Wool Ease Worsted. The most accessible, available and washable quality wool-blend that makes genuinely warm blankets and clothing. Because it's available in chain stores as well as online, the potential for buying on sale is great. Bonus endorsement comes from Dandelion the kitty - she absolutely adores sleeping on/under the small blanket I made with it, and will often sit there and just knead and knead it with her paws. Because it's so cheap, I don't mind any potential cat damage.
  • Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool - definitely the best entry 100% wool yarn. Kind on the fingers and not too scratchy on the face, as well as being hardwearing, I'll be looking out for this on sale during 2011 and stashing for a blanket in our bedroom, and possibly another for the couch.
  • Loops and Threads Impeccable - this is Michaels' (chain craft store in the US) own brand acrylic yarn. Great colours, no shine, feels great under the fingers. Really easy to wash too. I may or may not plan a proper (read as: nice looking) granny square blanket with this next year.
  • Berroco Vintage (and Vintage Chunky - an affordable, soft wool/acrylic/nylon blend in the most beautiful colours. Just absolutely stunning, and while this is technically cheating this list (because I only bought it two days ago, but dammit, it's still 2010), it absolutely belongs here. If you think, like I did, local yarn shops have nothing for those on a budget but they stock this stuff, at the very least you need to visit, touch it and consider it. And then spend all your damn money on it. Whoops.
  • Special mention also goes to the discontinued Caron Perfect Match I discovered via the epic estate sale earlier in the year. I had to scour Ravelry to find people willing to sell me their leftovers, but it's well worth it. The first skein of yarn I every used was a yellow Caron Simply Soft, and while it does live up to it's name, I really hate shiny non-metal items. Mostly yarn, but also furniture (combined with the mass produced nature, it just looks cheap). But the Caron Perfect Match is indeed quite perfect, and I'd like to see it brought back, or at least combined with Simply Soft to create a yarn I actually want to buy. 
TLDR? I was fairly impressed by Lion Brand this year, and fairly disappointed by Caron yarn until I discovered a discontinued line. My yarn related New Year's Resolution is to move away from using acrylic brands and start moving into more lovely wool blends, if not 100% wool itself (bonus points for this because, despite being itchy, I can compost it). I still have a lot of acrylic to burn down, and it makes such great cat related items so I doubt it will ever be completely removed from my stash. But by 2011 I want to have rounded a definitive corner in the quality of materials I use and the stitches I make. A good plan to have.

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