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As a newbie, I haven't tried many yarns yet, but I've already come across a couple that I would use again (and one I would avoid):
Wendy Mode - being named DK, Aran and Chunky helps a lot as a newbie! It's an acrylic/merino mix so is machine washable but looks great when knitted up, is cheap enough, and the range of colours isn't too bad.
Rowan Tapestry - found a lone ball in a sale bin for 50p for my Kitschy Kerchief (SnB). Gorgeous wool/soy blend, lovely drape, I will at some point look for a project that will do it justice.
Moomin_Mama I have yet to be disappointed in a Rowan yarn the quality is always so good.
There is a chicago dyer that doese beautiful yarns for lacework called Lorna's Laces. Pricey but gorgeous.
For a cheap wool I love Lamb's Pride. I can always get a hat out of a single skein and they wool is smooth and wears well over time and hand washing.
I had one disappointing baby yarn that was vegetable dyed. The dye got all over my hands and my bamboo needles I can't remember the name of the yarn but I was quite disappointed.
Being a poor college student in a town that really only has a Walmart in terms of arts and crafts, I'm kind of stuck with Red Heart Super Saver. It's basic and durable (I think - I've only been knitting for about four months now so I don't know how well it will last past four months :P ). I did order some Swish DK yarn from KnitPicks.com but forgot to look at weight. It's much smaller in diameter than I had anticipated and is too small for my current needles. Big gaping holes were everywhere. It's really soft yarn though so when I get smaller needles, I really want to try making a comfy hat and some mittens (and maybe socks) from it.
I like Mission Falls Cotton for a machine washable cotton - good for baby sweaters. For sock yarn I love Claudia's handpainted. I love Rowan yarn too.
Maren, Wendy Mode is my Lamb's Pride substitute, being easier to get over here. The results have been good so far. Can't wait till I'm good enough for projects that deserve a really expensive luxury yarn but that will have to wait...
Ah RebeccaAnn, I understand your dilemma although I scored some great yarn at thrift stores in college when people destashed or moved. It is worth looking.
And if you start a big project like a sweater it may be worth the investment in a good yarn that will last overtime for your hard work and often time you can find it on sale on line somewhere. I always prefer to get my yarn on sale.
On good yarn- I still wear a sweater that my Mom knit when she was in college. It was such a great Danish yarn it has never pilled.
They should have a suggested needle size on your DK weight and you may need to adjust your gauge. You could use it double but that would cut your yardage in half.
I'll remember Wendy Mode Moomin_Mama. There have been times when sale yarn from the UK was cheaper than yarn in a shop here.
RebeccaAnn - I completely understand your dilemma - Red heart is a good yarn to start with and to learn how to knit. The problem is that it doesn't hold shape very well and all your hard work doesn't look so good after a few months. I actually suggest Patons Classic Merino Wool Yarn, its a bit more expensive than Red Heart, but not that much, and you can find it in most big craft stores (Hobby Lobby, Jo-Anne's Fabric, Crafts Direct, and Michaels) most of those places also have coupons to bring the cost down even more.
The other thing I suggest is thrift stores. You can find some very nice yarn in sweaters. You'll have to deconstruct the sweater. I haven't done this myself, but there are all sorts of tutorials online if you do a search.
I've known knitters on a budget to save up their money so they can purchase the perfect yarn for their project.
>7 TheDivineOomba:: Thanks for the suggestion! I will be keeping an eye out for Patons Classic Merino Wool Yarn in the future.
I have deconstructed a few sweaters (mostly ones that I already owned which were so old and out of fashion they were never going to be worn again) so I'm familiar with the process. I might have to take a trip to the local thrift store to see if there are any sweaters with good yarn...
>6 Marensr:: I don't recall there being a suggested needle size but then again, maybe I just didn't look for it (I wasn't aware there was supposed to be one - I'm a bit of a newbie at knitting). I'm not at home right now so I can't check, but I will once I finally get there! Thanks for the advice!
RebeccaAnn - I'd also suggest trying freecycle or Craigslist for destashers. I've defintely gotten rid of yarn I knew I wouldn't use that way and my partner yearly cleans out the fabric stash through freecycle.
Pretty cheap cotton option available in major craft stores: sugar 'n cream
I've used it for a market bag and for washclothes and it's help up pretty good.
Maren - don't know how well Wendy Mode and Lamb's Pride would compare over a period of washing and wearing, but so far I've had good results. Remember it is 50% acrylic.
RebeccaAnn - if by thrift stores TheDivineOomba means what we would call second-hand shops or charity shops, then I'd agree. I volunteer in a local shop one day a week and we do get some good yarn come in. It always goes VERY quickly, but some shops will happily take a customer's number and give them a call if something comes in. It might be worth asking your local shops what sort of stuff comes in and if they would be prepared to put anything aside for you.
Here is a link to a yarn standards chart. It tells you the generally accepted gauge and needle size. DK should be U.S. needles sized 5-7 depending on your gauge.
If you haven't started knitting swatches yet for projects that can be helpful especially when you get into knitting sweaters. A scarf it doesn't matter if it is a little wide a sweater it does. Generally you just do a swatch of a couple inches and see how many stitches you knit then you adjust your needle size up or down to make sure the number of stitches you knit per inch is the same as in the pattern- that is on this chart too.
Thanks Moomin_Mama it does make a difference.
Thrift stores is the same as second hand shops or charity shops :) The local Goodwill has great yarn, except it goes fast and I've only been lucky once.
But, to RebeccaAnn, I'd suggest Ravelry.com. Its a very large knitting/crochet social networking site that allows you to view projects by yarn type. You can see what other people have knitted up using a type of yarn. Also, the forums are great and everybody is very helpful.
Wow, thanks for all the suggestions peope! I did check my DK yarn and it recommends using a size 5 needle. I was using a size 8. I purchased a set of size 5 needles, but haven't gotten around to trying them out. I don't know what I want to make with my yarn. All I've made so far are scarves, but I don't think I have enough yarn for that. I have a couple hat patterns in mind that I've been wantin to try out, so perhaps I'll do that...
Is anyone here a member of The Knitting Guild Association? I ran across their website the other day and was curious about it. Unfornately, it cost quite a bit of money to join and to take the lessons and while I could afford it, I'd rather not if it's not worth it, so I was just wondering what some of you think of it.
There is a specific knitting guild in Chicago I have thought about joining RebeccaAnn but I don't know if they are part of the same group. Fees were sort of a reason I hadn't joined and I just invite friends over to knit but then I had the advantage of learning to knit from my mom so I am not looking for classes.
How many skeins of the DK weight do you have? The Ravelry recommendation from TheDivineOomba is a good suggestion. They have projects listed by yarn type and amount so you can find things that might work. Have you done a hat yet? It is a great way to start trying circular knitting or you sould find a pattern that you knit flat and seam it too since you already bought needles. Hats are generally a good single skein project.
I knit mostly with thrift-store yarn for years. Raising three children, home-schooling, single income... the less I spent on non-essentials the better. I got to use all kinds of unusual wool from years gone by! I became quite fond of Briggs & Little. It's a relatively inexpensive yarn from New Brunswick, Canada. Even more inexpensive when it's inexplicably found in a clearance bin at the hardware store (that's ironmonger's in Britspeak I believe; and NO, in Canada they DON'T carry wool!) where I bought pretty much all they had. B&L is scratchy and has straw bits in it, but pick them out, carry on, and it does soften up in use and last forEVer, looking better and better every year.
More recently I found some Fleece Artist fingering-weight wool in a "seconds" sale bin in a yarn store in Vancouver. Fleece Artist / Hand Maiden is a small company in Nova Scotia. I loved the colour (hand-painted, mmm) when I bought it, but as I knit it up I loved it even more. It feels lovely and it even smells lovely. I still find myself taking deep breaths of my shawl.
MoominMamma, are you on Ravelry? I recently did a gorgeous tam with Rowan Tapestry. It's in colourwork ("fair isle") so it showcases the colour changes in the Tapestry.
Right now I am knitting a lace shawl with a cotton/cashmere yarn I unraveled from a sweater that I bought at the Salvation Army store's $1 end-of-winter sweater sale. The loveliest yarn and so soft and *SO* cheap!
Muumi, what a coincidence you should ask about Ravelry - I joined yesterday! Added my few projects and books (you can tell I'm a beginner), I'll put photos up soon.
Do you use Muumi on Ravelry?
Yes, I'm Muumi on Ravelry -- makes me easy to find. You already found me but for other LT knitters, the more the merrier!
Well, someone had already taken moomin mama so I'm now "mamamoomin" if anybody wants to take a peek. No photos up yet but hope to start adding them shortly. Might be fun following a newbie knitter :)
Oooh I have to find you both on ravelry. I am also Marensr but I have been lazy about checking ravelry lately and lazy about uploading photos of finished projects.
I just joined Ravelry as RebeccaAnn08, but I haven't done much with it. I'll be exploring it more in depth in the very near future. I also plan on finally getting a digital camera for Christmas so I can upload pictures of finished projects :)
On the bright side, Walmart here has started carrying Lion Brand Yarn Wool Ease. It's fairly cheap and really soft and thick (I have to use a size 13 needle). Perfect for making warm scarves which I need to make it through this upcoming South Dakota winter. I might try hat and mittens too if I can figure out how :P
elann.com is well worth checking for discount yarns. They are a Canadian company but ship to the US. Good prices, great yarns and superb customer service.
I've been on Ravelry for a while, lazy about posting pictures, too, but I've found some great groups and fantastic FREE patterns! I'm MmeRose there.
My favorite yarn right now is Lily by Noro. It is silk/cotton, gorgeous purple, great stitch definition, and I was lucky enough to get 20 skeins for $25 from someone destashing on ebay!
i am on rav as well, using the same name. elan is great but I also shop at http://ramwools.com/ great yarn not to expensive. Custom woolen mills in alberta is also very good, expecially their natural coloured mule spinner yarn, great for home dyeing.
Joining Ravelry (where I am freetibet) is a MUST for lessons, techniques, fun and, more importantly for you, destashing forums where you can find good quality yarns.
Then there's on-line stores. www.jimmybeanswool.com , www.yarn.com , www.knitpicks.com , www.yarnmarket.com
Favorite yarns: Sublime Organic cotton DK, Artyarns beaded silk mohair, Lion Brand Cotton Ease, Cascade 220, Berroco Comfort...............
My favourite is Dream in Colour Smooshy (http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/dream-in-color-smooshy). It's so soft and smooshy and has gorgeous colourways! You know how multicoloured yarn can look splotchy and unfortunate sometimes? They dye in narrow colour ranges, in small sections, so you have an overall colour that is variegated when you look closely. Love it!
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