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View Full Version : Okay. Talk to the newb about yarn...


Crispie
11-23-2009, 06:18 PM
Oh my how I want to tackle soakers. Oh my how I need to learn about yarn. I truly want to just grab some old yarn and start a hat to tackle this whole knitting in the round thing (that looks so easy in the video mmmhumm).

I know soakers should be wool and I'm familiar with lanolizing. That's for later. It seems to me a baby hat would be a simpler start. I want a uber soft gives you the shivers baby hat. I know I need to knit one or two with more basic yarn to get down my tension before I tackle some of the soft fuzzies make me shiver yarn...okay...I'm a yarn newb. Is there a link I missed on this site that gives you the yarn low down? Anyone have some general tips or links to where I can get a better grasp that looking at gorgeous yarn in the store and not being sure if it will work to my needs? Half the time I can't even figure out if it's washable. :aww:

I looked into the online shops featured here...and got lost at hemp, cotton, recycled etc.

I'm totally willing to learn, read, and take time to know it well...just aim me in the direction would you dear goddesses of knitting? :notworthy:

Thank you so much in advance!

globaltraveler
11-23-2009, 07:44 PM
This is one of those questions that sounds easy until you know what you're doing a bit more and then you want to put your head down on the table for a minute to rest your head.

Do you want a synthetic or a natural fiber, or is a mix of both acceptable for this baby hat? (You can have natural fibers that can be machine washed, they're called superwash, but they cannot be dried as synthetics can. Cottons can be very soft and machine washable but can be somewhat difficult for new knitters to work with, bamboo is probably too slippery for a new knitter.) Natural fibers tend more towards expensive if you want them to be softer yet washable. Some people cannot deal with acrylics, though (me, for one, it makes me sweat weird and my skin crawls), while others can't deal with wool (itchy!) no matter how soft.

What yarn would you be using if you were crocheting the hat?

suzeeq
11-23-2009, 08:02 PM
(You can have natural fibers that can be machine washed, they're called superwash, but they cannot be dried as synthetics can.

Most superwash yarns need to be dried in the dryer; they tend to stretch out if not.

globaltraveler
11-23-2009, 08:56 PM
That's interesting...I have friends who have ruined FOs from putting them in the dryer! Hmmm...maybe you can only put them in for so long?

Jan in CA
11-23-2009, 09:29 PM
I've dried my Lorna's Laces super wash scarf in the dryer and it came out great.

suzeeq
11-23-2009, 09:55 PM
There have been several posts on Ravelry wanting to know why/how their FOs stretched out. Turned out they were out of superwash which they washed by hand and laid flat to dry instead of machine washing and drying. Not all are like that, you have to go by the laundry instructions on the label.

globaltraveler
11-23-2009, 10:24 PM
Would that include sock superwash merinos and other mixes? Now I think of it, those were, I think, most of the items we were talking about...although you'd think a sock of all things would be most likely to be missed and go through a dryer... (It'd be fab if I could put stuff like Handmaiden's Casbah through the dryer! It'd end all matter of making sure I'm the one doing the laundry...)

ETA: It'd also be cool, because if you want a soft superwash (and superwash isn't generally known as the softest yarn around), Casbah would be one of them!

suzeeq
11-23-2009, 10:44 PM
It wasn't socks - hats and sweaters and things. I don't recall the names though I think one poster had it happen with Swish, which is merino superwash.

Jan in CA
11-24-2009, 12:38 AM
I put my superwash socks in a laundry bag and put them in the washer and dryer with no problem. They are all different yarns.

globaltraveler
11-24-2009, 05:49 AM
The only problem with all this is that I now have to learn how to make socks and actually make a pair in order to find out for myself now, don't I? ;) I know that Casbah socks work great in the washer...do I dare risk the dryer now? Well, I have a shrug I could cast-on in Casbah after Christmas, so maybe I can see if that stretches out and if it does (*cringe*), put it in the dryer and see what happens...and I should check this out with the people I know who say they've wrecked superwash projects by putting them in a dryer!

As you can see, Crispie, it's a complicated subject!

Anyway, so if you want a natural fiber, you can try superwash if you want it to be washable and even dryable!...just keep in mind that lots of people don't like the feel of superwash yarns, so YMMV. (I don't mind it at all, myself. Casbah is one of my favorite yarns ever, but it's not exactly cheap.) Also, sock yarn is usually fingering weight, which IS good for babies, but often frays the patience of beginning knitters, so it depends on what kind of knitter you are and whether you can deal with thinner gauge yarns.

For synthetics, I know a lot of people swear by Caron's yarns, which is readily available at hobby stores in the US. (I have a whole box of pink back in the States that I bought before I realized I can't wear the stuff, am going to have to do some charity stuff with it at some point, I'm thinking.)

Jan, I've yet to try Lorna's Laces yarns, they look gorgeous (and I love their motto!), so I'm going to have to give it a go at some point, when I find a store that carries them.

I'm just working on a Malabrigo worsted cowl (nearly done), and it's gorgeously soft (merino), but I'm told that it doesn't wear particularly well because of the low twist - I wonder whether a hat is low or high in wear friction?

suzeeq
11-24-2009, 10:11 AM
For a washable yarn, the wool/acrylic blends do very well - Lion Woolease, Plymouth Encore, and Paton's has one too. And many of the acrylics are very soft these days, and completely washable.

globaltraveler
11-24-2009, 10:29 AM
I have some Paton's Caressa Express bulky, which is being discontinued, unfortunately, but I'm looking forward to making a fast cardi for a niece's Christmas present out of it and seeing how it feels on my skin. It's a 45% wool, 45% acrylic, 10% mohair. The 50/50 wool/acrylics aren't any good*, so I'm trying to find yarns that are more natural fibers than acrylics and head down the percentages to see how high the acrylic content can be before I break out into a rashy sweat! (sorry, TMI!)

* ETA: any good for me, i should have said!

suzeeq
11-24-2009, 10:53 AM
No, it's good to know that some fibers may irritate the skin. I can wear all acrylic, rough scratchy wool is uncomforable, but not all wool is rough.

KnitandPurl
11-24-2009, 12:02 PM
It's great to hear good things about Lorna's Laces. My yarn shop recommended it for a scarf I crocheted when they didn't have the yarn in my pattern and I really enjoyed using it. It was smooth and easy to work with and the fabric seems really substantial. I don't know if its soft enough for a baby hat though.

Now I'm teaching myself to knit with the leftovers from that yarn. The hanks contain so much yarn! A multicolored yarn is probably not the best yarn to learn knitting on and its splitting on me a bit (but I think that's my lack of skill in knitting and not the yarn) but the stockinette pattern is so beautiful.

I also have some Plymouth Baby alpaca Worsted and it is very soft but its not machine washable and the scarf I crocheted with it is fuzzing a bit. I probably shouldn't have made a hard wearing scarf with it. I imagine it would make a heavenly baby hat.

suzeeq
11-24-2009, 12:08 PM
A multi color yarn can be a good one to learn on - the sts are in different colors and you can usually see them easier, unless it's dark colors. You can avoid yarn splitting (and this happens more with soft yarns because they're twisted looser) by using a larger needle. I don't have half the problems with 'splitty' yarn that other people seem to, and I think it's because I knit on needles about 3 sizes larger.

globaltraveler
11-24-2009, 12:20 PM
The funny thing is that while I don't like *wearing* variegated yarns, I love *knitting* with them, because it keeps me entertained to see the yarn change colors from stitch to stitch. :)

Ah me, it's so entertaining that everybody's different, ain't it? :)

Jan in CA
11-24-2009, 01:25 PM
Lorna's Laces was beautiful, but I do find it a little itchy. :hair:

suzeeq
11-24-2009, 03:28 PM
I'm easily entertained too, Zina.... :teehee:

Jan in CA
11-24-2009, 05:04 PM
I'm easily entertained too, Zina.... :teehee:

:lol: Oh yeah me, too! Solid colors can get boring especially if it's stockinette. :zombie:

globaltraveler
11-24-2009, 06:05 PM
Ribbing; right now I'm doing the last few rows of ribbing on this giant cowl. Miles and miles of ribbing mean miles and miles of boredom to me...the variegated yarn helps a *little* with that, anyway...

KnitandPurl
11-24-2009, 06:38 PM
A multi color yarn can be a good one to learn on - the sts are in different colors and you can usually see them easier

I've found that they make practicing stockinette much more fun!

Lorna's Laces was beautiful, but I do find it a little itchy. :hair:

That's funny. Lorna's Laces doesn't bother me but the Plymouth Baby Alpaca which was so soft when I was working with it is starting to itch a little now that I'm wearing it.

suzeeq
11-24-2009, 06:41 PM
Yeah, I avoid ribbing if I can, or only do it for a few rows if I can't. Seed st is the same - very tedious.

globaltraveler
11-24-2009, 07:21 PM
One...more....row......

And then after that, a sewn bind-off. *gloom*

globaltraveler
11-25-2009, 01:22 PM
Just a note: the Caressa Bulky makes up really really fast, but I won't be wearing it -- it just feels kind of...oily to me. Everybody else likes it, though, so YMMV.

ArtLady1981
11-25-2009, 05:28 PM
Knitter's Review (In-Depth Yarn Reviews) is a website that I always check to get the lowdown on particular yarns. It doesn't have EVERY YARN IN THE WORLD, but it has tons of yarn reviews. I really like their in-depth analysis! It's kinda like the Consumer Reports of Yarn! Take a look! (http://www.knittersreview.com/yarn.asp)