How I buy my yarns and what I like

Knitted in Robin DK, a cheap 100% acrylic yarn.

My, what  long title. I can’t think of a way of condensing it, because I want to talk about my favourite wool brands, and my buying habits. I do have a pretty big stash of odd wools, but even so I still need to buy things to supplement or because I don’t have the required colour, brand or texture.

I’m going to go into that last one a bit more. Texture. Wool, acrylic, mohair, cotton and other blends of wool or yarn all have a different texture. This is in double knit (DK) not in things like chunky or 4ply, but again those have a different texture. For example, wool has a bit of hair to it, cotton is completely smooth, mohair is fuzzy and things like polyester yarns exist in a furry version. That’s just touching on the subject of texture, but if you want to know more look at different yarns when you go out, look at things like acrylic compared to real wool and mohair. That’s the best way you’ll understand it.

If I’m buying a new brand that I’ve never seen, handled and worked with before I buy it in person. Well, I buy most of my wool in person, I like my local (10 mile away) wool shop, the women in there are nice, it’s distracting me to look at other things I wouldn’t have seen, there’s a clearance bucket. I like going into the real shop, it’s nice and it supports localish business. More importantly it gives me a chance to check the colour of the wool, if it’s really the shade I’m looking for, and I can check it against other colours for striping. I can feel the wool, which means I can see what the texture and thickness is like as not all double knit wools are the same thickness. I can see how rough it is, and what it looks like when knitted up because my wool shop has gauge squares with their brands! Sometimes I will buy online if I know the brand and type of wool is one I like and won’t disappoint me. I try to buy from shops with a physical store, because I miss the old days when wool shops were everywhere. I do not like having to drive ten miles just to buy some wool!

So what brands (and their wools) do I like?

  • King Cole – Baby DK, 100% acrylic and around £2.50 fr 100g. Bamboo Cotton DK 50% cotton and 50% bamboo, £5.50 for 100g.
  • Patons -100% cotton in DK and 4ply under £5 for 100g.
  • Peter Pan – Moondust DK, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic around £3.50 for 50g. Peter Pan DK , also exists in 2ply, 3ply and 4ply in fewer colours, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic. DK is around £3.50 for 50g.
  • Robin – Robin Aran with Wool, 25% wool and 75% acrylic, around £10 for 500g. Robin DK, 100% acrylic and around £2 for 100g. Robin Chunky, 100% acrylic, around £2 for 100g.
  • Stylecraft – Eskimo – 100% polyester £2 for 50g. Classique Cotton DK, 100%cotton and £4.50 for 100g.
  • Sirdar – Snuggly Baby Speckle DK, 60% cotton and 40% acrylic, roughly £4 for 50g. Snuggly Baby Crofter DK, 55% nylon and 45% acrylic around £4 for 50g. Snuggly Baby Bamboo, 80% bamboo and 20% wool, £4 for 50g.
  • Wendy – Yeti, 100% , £2 for 50g.
  • Katia – This is a newish wool brand, I saw some in Paris when I last visited Andi, she bought a ball of Inca, I’ve not personally worked on it, she has and said it was a very good one. It’s the colours that amazed me, it cost around 9€. 50% wool and 50% acrylic, chunky weight. I’m hoping I can stumble across more.

As with the Katia – Inca yarn there’s been many times where I’ve found a new brand that I like, I buy it, but then I forget the brand, or it’s from a weird shop in France and doesn’t exist in the UK, so the above list is just a quick summary. Back in the 1980’s I used to make a lot with mohair too, but I’m not liking that much these days. Basically I like DK yarns, mainly cotton, or acrylic depending on the colours, texture and most importantly, price. I don’t like spending too much on wool because it seems wasteful to me, yes I like the more expensive wools, but I’ve not got the kind of money to buy them.

A jumper made from Sirdar’s Crofter DK yarn. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s so beautiful.


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