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February 17, 2017
When I started knitting again about 12 years ago I didn't really know what I was in for.
My prime goal in buying yarn was to 'save money' so I stuck to the cheap and cheerful stuff available at my nearest market stall.
It was only when I ventured to a knitting group run by my local yarn shop that I discovered a world of cashmere, silk, alpaca along with every variant of wool you could think of.
I used to stand in front of them, poring over fibres and shades, weights and lengths, without really understanding what the info on the labels signified, before heading for the bargain bin in my continuing quest to keep my hobby cheap.
Swatching for tension seemed an unnecessary fuss (a lesson I learnt the hard way!) and thanks to this, and my scrimping, most things I made ended up looking like an approximation of the original design at best.
Thankfully, I was soon persuaded of the benefits of 'proper' yarn by the beautiful projects made by the other ladies who attended the knitting group. I also learnt that there was decent good value yarn out there too.
It was still a little while longer before I splashed out on hand-dyed yarns and luxury fibres - yarns like the sunset-shaded Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine Trios (top right of main picture) and Lotus Yarns Tibetan Cloud Fingering (bottom right of the above image), with its softly heathered hues.
Up close you can see the subtle colour difference and spins of each yarn.
The Cashmerino always makes me think of children's clothes, probably because that's what I first made with it. Thanks to its plump spin, it works beautifully in cables and chunky rib.
The Falkland Aran has more drape, and does well in lace, and makes super-smooth stocking stitch fabric.
The Mirasol yarn has a pronounced twist which helps lift the drapey 50% alpaca fibre and means it can be blocked quite hard if, like me, you fancy making a shawl with it.
Smooshing all these yarns together for a little love underlined how very different they all are from each other, and how important it is to get the right yarn for your project. These days I don't mind spending money on yarn, because I know how satisfying it is when your project turns out just right.
Sounds like an excuse to go shopping!
Tell us about the yarns you love in the comments below.
When I learnt to knit my nana taught me using long aluminium needles. I remember how cold they felt and how I had to grip them so hard they made my hands […]