Day One: 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns.Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.Hmm, this was rather hard and easy at the same time. I wouldn't exactly consider myself a fibre enthusiast. For me, that means you also have to be a Spinner (with a capital "s") or even a weaver. You really learn the subtleties more behind particular fibres when you get to play with it more as a spinner. The Knitter's Book of Wool can only tell you so much. Since I am dabbling in spinning and not yet a Spinner, I identify myself firstly as a knitter. I use yarn with two sticks to make loops and then keep making those loops to make a garment. That's it.
Let's begin with the yarn that just did not work, which I no longer have a photo of (rats). It was this Japanese acrylic that I got in lovely colors (hunter green, lilac, navy blue and fuchsia) from a random little sewing/yarn shop on the north side of the Imperial Park in Kyoto. It wasn't even the nice acrylic from say, Pierrot. It was horrible. But I didn't know any better because I was still a baby knitter and wait - there is a thing called superwash merino sock yarn with SILK in it?
I loved those 4 skeins of acrylic because it was the first ever real stash purchase I made, the colors were great and I just wanted to knit, dangit. I made a hideous striped ski band I gave to a friend in the navy and fuchsia and a green and lilac dishcloth. Yah...those projects and the yarn are deleted from my projects and stash page on Ravelry.
But, the problem was twofold: first, the yarn was very "plasticky" as Elizabeth Zimmerman would say. I did not feel wool-y like some acrylic or acrylic blend yarns do. As such, the yarn was very stiff and the plies barely stayed together (it was a 3-ply). Second, it was squeaky as all heck. I was knitting with blue plastic needles I picked up at the 100-yen shop (the dollar store, if you will) in the shopping arcade off of Shijo-Dori, called Seria, which is in the basement of a clothing shop. Seria also had yarn too but I didn't realize that it was actually decent.
To conclude with the first yarn, my experience with acrylic was both traumatizing and exhilarating at the same time. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with acrylic.
THERE. I SAID IT.
And I'll be saying a bunch of other things that will probably shock the fleece off of people. Katie of the Hoxton Handmade podcast had an excellent essay about the merits (and yes, even some of the demerits to be fair) of acrylic.
Moving right along to yarn type number two - on the complete opposite end of the yarn spectrum:
This was pretty hard to choose, so I'll just talk about a category of yarn in general: sock yarn. Basically, A merino-nylon blend, but feel three to throw in cashmere or silk since MCN and MCS are pretty popular these days.
I have made 2 shawls, a hat, several pairs of socks and a baby hat out of sock or fingering weight yarn. The colors are beautiful, and my Traveling Woman shawl (made out of Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Bad Moon Rising and MadTosh Sock in Twig) is my pride and joy. I have worn that as a scarf around my neck all winter.
Sock yarn is good for many projects, So I like its versatility. I have had sock yarn from indie dyers, commerical companies and somewhere in between. The colors are great and its one of those yarn weights that you can spend about $20-$30 bucks on one skein and poof, there you have the yarn for a whole project. Or maybe more than one.
Unless you are like me and like your triangular shawls so big that you can wrap it around your neck twice and tie it in the back (it's COLD here, people) then there is a bit of a setback there. My Traveling Woman Shawl took up a whole skein of Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Bad Moon Rising and 3/4 of a skein of MadTosh Sock in Twig. It's HUGE. But I love it.
There is a bit of a dark side to all the pretty yarn though. I talk about that more in this week's podcast episode, which will be up by Wednesday.