As the banner above indicates, I'm taking part in the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, albeit two weeks late. For the next seven days, you can expect to see a prompted story about my Knitting habits. Enjoy!
Prior to joining Ravelry and attending regular meetups (however irregularly) with professional knitters, my knowledge of yarn was limited to the selection available at crafty chain stores in my home town. I’m not disparaging that selection; there are lovely cottons, wools, and socky wool blends available at affordable prices, and they saw me through a decade of off-and-on crocheting quite well. But that selection doesn’t compare at all to the little specialty shops I’ve visited on my yarny adventures in the city. The breathless wonder with which I step into Brooklyn General, Downtown Yarns, Knitty City, Purl Soho, and Yarntopia can’t be found in the aisles of A.C. Moore or Michael’s – and the anticipation that preceded opening my first box of goodies from WEBS is as yet unmatched by any other hobbyist moment. I’ve found many beautiful yarns, some of which I’ve had the pleasure – and frustration – of working with. Thus, I present a tale of two yarns.
In the fall of 2009, I made my first trip to a Local Yarn Store (LYS). I chose Brooklyn General for my Sunday afternoon foray, catching the bus at Park Avenue in Fort Greene and riding over to Cobble Hill in the sunshine. It was a good choice for a first visit: a pleasantly roomy shop with a large-but-not-overwhelming selection and staff who were polite and helpful but not watching my every eye-blink. I brought home two lovely skeins of brilliant pink Malabrigo Worsted, having fallen in love with the squishy, cushiony, soft-as-a-new-lamb texture.
|Malabrigo Worsted in colorway Geranio|
In the spring of 2010, though, I had better luck. After learning to cast on stitches for the endless Doctor Who scarf, I immediately visited WEBS to purchase a not-yet-sweater for myself. I had something like two dozen patterns in my queue to choose from, all with top-down and in-the-round construction yielding gentle drape and shaping, and all calling for worsted weight yarn. Knowing as little about yarn at that point as when I purchased the Malabrigo, and needing to stay within a relatively strict budget, I started with their on-sale advertisements.
Classic Elite Yarns Renaissance caught my eye first because of the description, “a very soft hand and a simple twist providing lovely stitch definition”, and second because of the plethora of colors available. I figuratively bit the proverbial bullet and ordered 11 skeins in celery, a pale golden-green color that reminded me of the underside of early spring leaves. As a novice knitter who had never constructed a garment (in any craft) with as much detail as is required for a sweater, that large a materials purchase was a big deal for me – and I am so fortunate to have guessed well.
The yarn feels a bit wooly in my fingers and on the needles; it reminds me that I’m working with a product that came from something living, that was worked into its current state with careful effort and cultivation. The swatch that I knitted up and washed softened beautifully, though; so much so that I can’t wait to feel the finished garment against my skin. The best word I have to describe the quality of the dye is “clear” – as if I were looking into a pool of celery-colored water and could see into it endlessly without reaching murky, muddy depths at the bottom. (By contrast, the Misti Alpaca that I worked into a notched, buttoned collar just this January had such depth and richness to it that it seemed to contain every tinge and hue of blue, green, and purple ever invented layered over warm chocolate.) Renaissance is lovely and clean, and for the price at WEBS ($3.95 per 50g skein), an exceptional bargain. I look forward to using the remnants of my Francis sweater in another project, and to purchasing it again after I work through my stash.
Because novice knitter though I may be, I already have a stash that will supply me with yarn for two years’ worth of projects.
See what other yarnies have to say about their favorites:
And a whole host of other knit bloggers whom I haven't met yet.
First published at expetesso.com