I don’t have a favorite “of all time” yarn. That would be like trying to pick a favorite book or a favorite doughnut. Impossible! But I do have favorite yarns for certain categories. These are categories that I have made up and use to organize my stash. When I say “organize” I mean stuff into bags and pile those bags into the stash closet of course.
By the way, every time I go in that closet I find my cat. Funny how that is.
My Favorite Workhorse Wool is Cascade 220
Hands down, I think Cascade 220 is the best plain-jane wool yarn on the market. It comes in nearly every color you can think of and its a good value. Cascade makes it in worsted and sport weight, regular and superwash. I tend to buy the regular worsted.
I’ve made several sweaters with it. I was making one for my mom when disaster, aka The Feline Overlord, struck. I came home and found that Her Evilness had gotten into my project bag and destroyed one of the balls I needed to finish the sweater. I had bought that yarn over two years ago from an out of town store. There was no way I’d get a matching dye lot. But what can a knitter do? I took my half-made sweater to my LYS and found… that every skein they had in that colorway was a perfect match. Dye lot didn’t matter. Even out in full sun I could not tell the difference from one skein to the next. Then I took some sport weight out into the sun (aren’t LYS owners tolerant of us and our craziness?) and guess what? The worsted and sport weight skeins all matched too.
After that I was hooked. I can buy Cascade 220 with full confidence knowing that it will match what is sitting in my stash closet. I’ve never found a knotted end in the middle of a skein either. When I need a just plain wool yarn, this is what I use.
My Favorite Fancy Yarn is Silky Wool By Elsebeth Lavold
When it comes to fancy yarn, there is no limit to the price, the rarity, and the absurdity that we as consumers will go to. When I say we, I mean the rest of you! I stay out of the $50+ per skein yarn bins. I look. I dream. But I don’t buy that stuff.
When I do give my self permission to buy a nice “luxe” yarn, I go for Silky Wool. Its a sport weight blend of wool, silk, and nylon. There is a worsted weight version available as well. If money was no object and I could only have one kind of yarn in my stash (the horror!), this would be it.
Silky Wool is a very versatile yarn and it looks good in all sorts of styles. It makes great knit lace. It makes TERRIFIC crochet lace. That silk in the blend really helps the yarn block out and show off an open-work motif. But it makes nice cables too, soft and smooshy cables that seem to puff up in your knitting. I’ve made gloves with it because the yarn has plenty of elasticity. Must be from the nylon. This yarn can do a lot.
It seems that some successful designers will put their names on yarn that is of … questionable quality just to make money. But Elsebeth Lavold has a good product. I can see that if I had money to toss around (as I’m sure Ms. Lavold does) this would be my all-purpose yarn to design stuff with.
My Favorite Cotton Yarn is Lion Brand Cotton
I know. Lion Brand makes some stuff that isn’t so great. But their cotton is nice! Its soft and well spun. It doesn’t split nearly as bad as most cotton yarns do. Its absorbent right away instead of after two or three washings.
But its hard to find. Even off the internet, its hard. I’m always sure its on the verge of being discontinued. If you see any, buy it. That’s what I do.
My Favorite Fingering Weight Cotton is Cotton Fine by Brown Sheep
Lots of companies make yarns that are a mix of cotton and wool. Adding a little bit of wool gives the yarn some bounce and some elasticity. But did you know that Brown Sheep makes one in a fingering weight?
Cotton Fine is the fingering weight version of Cotton Fleece. Its only sold by the cone (I think) and marketed more to the weaving crowd rather than us knitters and crocheters. But its a great alternative to wool when you are making those lovely fingering weight shawls. Or baby stuff.
Did you make it this far or did you click a link and go off on a little yarn buying spree? That’s okay! I’m always happy to enable the acquisition of new stash. No one bribed me into saying these nice things about their yarns, by the way. I really do use all these and that’s why I filled the post up with pictures of stuff from my stash closet instead of the much nicer pictures you can find on-line.
Not that I would mind being bribed by companies into saying nice things about their products. But until that starts happening we’ll have to make do with honesty and amateur photography. If you have any yarns you’d like to rec, lets hear it! The comment section needs love too.