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Favorite Fiber

Knitters Inc.

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1Demiguise
Jun 6, 2007, 6:49pm Top

I was wondering what fibers you most like to knit with.

I use a lot of merino in my pieces- scarves, sweaters, socks. It is just so soft and lovely, and comes in great colors.

I also use alpaca. I'm rather lucky in that my father raises alpaca and I have access to both the fiber and the spun yarn. I made him a pair of convertable mittens/fingerless gloves from some of it and they keep his hands toasty while out tending to the farm. I'm currently designing a shawl out of some gorgeous chocolate brown yarn that is in a DK weight. It will be perfect for cool autumn afternoons/evenings.

2nohrt4me
Jun 8, 2007, 7:43am Top

Oooh! Great topic!

Baby mohair (the extra thin kind)! This knits up into near-weightless that are perfect for cool evenings in summer and reading in bed in winter.

Problem: Cats love it, and will commander whatever you knit out of it if given half a chance.

I also like alpaca, though I've only used it once. Got a small skein at a fiber show from the "grower." Just washed--undyed and low-processed. Very lovely texture.

I've found the moths love merino.

3verbafacio
Jun 8, 2007, 11:22am Top

I actually haven't done all that much knitting with wool, mostly because my favorite fiber is cotton. Perhaps I just haven't been using the good stuff, though. ;)

Baby mohair sounds excellent; will have to try that next!

4Marensr
Jun 8, 2007, 10:19pm Top

nohrt4me I love mohair- I like the super lightweight kid mohair and silk blend - it is like knitting with air. (I have had one of my cats run off with a ball before though- it is just too tempting.)

I like natural fibers best: wool, alpaca, mohair and silk.

I like all weights, delicate spiderwebby stuff or, thick chunky wools and alpacas, dk or fingering weights, nubby tweeds, and hand spun with the thick slubs.

I am itching to try bamboo yarn. I like how renewable it is. I wish I could afford to knit with cashmere more often- It is divine.

I like cotton in fabric but I find cotton yarns hang too heavy on finished items maybe I need to look at some new varieties of cotton again

I also avoid synthetic fibers I think they just pill up too easily.

5Gautherbelle
Jun 8, 2007, 10:46pm Top

I know this is off subject but I was wondering what those of you who make socks do to keep them up. Do you use any elastic type yarn or anything in the top to keep them up? I love to make socks but that is problem even with a raglan stitch.

Thanks

6Marensr
Jun 9, 2007, 8:31am Top

Gautherbelle,

My mom has worked a delicate elastic or elastic yarn into the rib on a pair of socks (worked with the yarn itself) but I think it was called for in the pattern because the socks had very little ribbing. I don't remember what it was called though.

I have another great pattern that came with the yarn (hand-dyed rainbow sock yarn). The socks stays up fine because of the ribbing. You might compare patterns and look for one with good ribbing or try switching your needle size the last few rows so you can bind off tightly- you just want to have enough stretch so that they don't bind.

I've also noticed that socks with fair isle style colorwork tend to stay up better because of the tension created carrying the color behind.

Good luck.

7nohrt4me
Jun 9, 2007, 6:38pm Top

Gautherbelle: I wear my Crocs year-round, and I like heavier weight socks. I've used Encore (a synthetic/wool blend that comes in great colors), and these seem to stay up just fine with a bit of rib at the top.

I really don't mind socks that scrunch, though; I hate that "groove" in your calf from tight tops.

Marensr: I knitted and embroided a beautiful pair of cotton mittens--that never dried b/c they were so heavy!

Most cotton stuff does sag with the weight, though I've found that knitting with larger needles helps a bit.

I have a hypothesis that cotton yarn with more twist is a bit stretchier and somewhat less weighty.

8Demiguise
Jun 10, 2007, 7:21am Top

Gautherbelle- you might also want to experiment with different ribbing stitches for your cuffs. I've found that the Twin Rib works great, is very stretchy (a plus if you're knitting for gifts and can't get an exact measurement for the calf) and has enough bulk to stay up without being too heavy-looking.

9bookthief
Jun 22, 2007, 9:04pm Top

I've always been a fan of a good merino, but my favorite yarn EVER was one I picked up in New Zealand while traveling. It was merino and possum. They've got a real possum problem there and have found alternative ways to use them. They're not the same kind of possum as we find around here, and the fur makes it nice and water-resistant, too. I made a pair of gloves from it and they're wonderfully light, super soft, warm and great in all weather.

And because I seem to like strange types of yarn, I've been looking at and playing with several new types that include bamboo yarn (it looks amazing when knit up, kind of like cotton for warmth though), say based yarn by a company called Tofutsies (it apparently has natural antibacterial properties, so it's great for socks), and the coolest one I've seen recently was one that was a mix with spun chitin, which is what crabs and shrimp make their shells from. Amazing what they can use these days.

10gautherbelle
Jun 22, 2007, 9:27pm Top

What's the name of the possum yarn? Can it be bought state-side? Same question with the bamboo and the crab yarns?

I like to knit with different size needles. I use say an 8 and a 12. On one side you see the 8 size stitches and on the opposite side you see the 12 size stitches. I like to do this when I make scarfs.

11sammimag
Jun 22, 2007, 9:38pm Top

Southwest Trading Company makes bamboo yarns. I saw some crab yarn at a store in Columbia, Mo a few weeks ago but I forgot the name. I really like Soy Silk by Southwest Trading Co, it really is made with soy. I'm crocheting something with it right now but I am sure it would make something lovely knit as well. I love the looks and feel Frog Tree Alpaca.

12nohrt4me
Jun 23, 2007, 12:31pm Top

Oooh, gautherbelle, how cool! I love experimenting, and I've never tried the two-needle thing.

And thanks to bookthief for the info on those unusual yarns.

Years ago, I got hold of some paper yarn, which made a great straw-like hat for a friend's little girl.

Haven't seen any for a long time now, though.

13gautherbelle
Jun 23, 2007, 12:56pm Top

For my b'day last year, my mother sent me some yarn that was looked and felt like suede. It was flat strips.

I also love Coats Opera brand crochet cotton. It makes beautiful filet crochet and edgings for afghans and etc. It has a lovely sheen to it.

With the two needles it better if they are not near in size. I usually make one needle at least 3 sizes larger than the other. I really like the effect especially with the basic Stockinette stitch.

14MaggieO
Jun 25, 2007, 11:41am Top

Using 2 different needle sizes sounds intriguing. I'll have to try it.

I love knitting with cotton, though it's not as forgiving as wool. Most of my knitting has been with wool or wool blends, though, which I also enjoy using. I really love hand-dyed, handspun wools.

Recently I got tired of having so many balls of novelty yarn cluttering up my stash - leftovers from projects, single balls purchased from clearance bins because they looked interesting, odd balls from mixed lots I've bought on eBay - so I cleaned up a bit. I put together 2 boxes of coordinating shades. One box had blues, greens, sari silk with its jewel-tones, blacks, grays, and naturals; the other box had pinks, reds, purples, golds, and creams. Each box contained ribbon yarn, fur yarn, nubblies, ladder yarn, plain cotton, and the pink box also had some standard worsted wool and metallic or shiny yarn.

I started with 3 strands of different yarn, then rolled my combination yarn into balls, randomly cutting off one of the 3 strands periodically and tying on something else, and alternating strands.

The result was very interesting. I haven't decided if the shawls I made are aesthetically pleasing, but they certainly are interesting and were fun to knit.

I love crochet cotton in general, especially those with a sheen, but haven't found many uses for it, since I don't do filet crochet (I'm just not patient enough!) One thing I've used it for is to make I-cords for purse straps and necklaces. I'll have to look for the Coats Opera brand - thanks for mentioning it, gautherbelle :)

15Demiguise
Jun 26, 2007, 9:43am Top

#14 MaggieO- That sounds like fun. It would probably take more than 1 ball of each, but I think that's sort of the way those ultra-expensive AbFab afghan kits work. They're simply a feather and fan pattern that alternates different yarns in coordinating colors. You could be creating the next new fad! :)

16Marensr
Jun 26, 2007, 10:43am Top

#9 Bookthief, do you think people with shellfish allergies would have problems with the shimp/crab yarn?

17gautherbelle
Jun 26, 2007, 2:02pm Top

http://www.coatscollection.com/products/product.aspx?sku=707211&pc=119012

Opera comes in sizes 30, 20, 10, 8 and 5 with 5 being the largest.

18cstewart31 First Message
Jun 28, 2007, 11:47am Top

Hi

I knit (or try to) shawls, and my favorite fibler is wool/silk. I have a few cones of Zephyr in my stash! :o)

Carol

19MaggieO
Jun 28, 2007, 12:49pm Top

>17 gautherbelle: Thanks for the link on the Coats Opera, gautherbelle! Looks lovely. I'll have to think of a project for it.

20gautherbelle
Jun 28, 2007, 12:58pm Top

In L.A. Opera is hard to find and expensive. About $5 a ball. I was in Chattanooga visiting my mother a couple of years ago and we went to a crafts store that had it Opera on sale. I asked about the price and the clerk said if I bought a certain amount, they'd give me an extra 15% off the sales price. I bought it all. I had to have it shipped home. But it was well worth it.

21nohrt4me
Jul 1, 2007, 1:55pm Top

gautherbelle, I did a swatch in two sizes of needles, 11 and 6. Subtle differences, but I like the extra texture in stockinette! I'm going to try a simple vest with this.

Thanks for the tip!

22meerka
Jul 14, 2007, 1:42pm Top

Gautherbelle - I couldn't believe there was possum yarn! Yarns R Us, Hamburg, PA had the yarn and I believe it was on her Noro wall, though I'm not certain. I didn't see any other responses, but Google-ing would answer the question definitively. A ball of possum is on my list for my next visit to Hamburg!

I'm wondering if my cats will react any differently to yarn that isn't from a larger cloven-hoofed animal (there was some interest in angora). Yarn isn't half as interesting to them than the plastic cables on my circulars. I've had to use an x-acto knife to shave off tooth snags.

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