Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Favorite Yarn

Cozy up on your couch under a hand-knit afghan and let’s talk about one of my favorite topics: yarn. My personal favorite yarn these days is Knit Picks’ Comfy Worsted yarn. This is the yarn I used to create my daughter’s baby blanket and which I continue to use for gifts for my friends. Baby knits need to be super soft, washable and durable. Comfy Worsted answers all of the requirements. This is not the scratchy acrylic yarn your great grandmother used to crochet granny square bedspreads. Comfy Worsted is a super soft blend of 75% pima cotton and 25% acrylic. The cotton base offers softness and lightness to the feel of the yarn, while the small amount of acrylic adds elasticity and durability. The 4-ply yarn is a pleasure to work with, sliding smoothly across your fingers without snagging or splitting as you knit. The worsted weight yarn looks great knit on size 9 or 10 needles, if you are interested in making a looser, large project in a hurry, or on size 5 or 6 needles, if you want a tighter fabric. Knit Picks does offer a sport weight yarn in the same blend if you are looking for something lighter, but the I have found the worsted weight to be the perfect texture for a soft, light yet warm blanket.

Comfy Worsted is a yarn that can be machine-washed and dried and creates a blanket capable of handling a toddler’s love. This is important, as you want the time invested in a handmade baby blanket to pay off in years of fun, not ruined with the first spit-up. My daughter’s blanket has stood up to almost three years of hard use, including her potty training period, and has only become softer. The colors remain bright and attractive and the shape of the blanket has held despite frequent use as a superhero’s cape. The blankets I’ve made for friends’ children seem to have held up similarly well when I’ve seen their children playing with them.

Besides the critical qualities of soft, washable and durable, this yarn is beautiful. Knit Picks offers Comfy Worsted in 30 different colors, including multiple variations on blues and pinks. There are also  shades of green, purple and neutrals such as brown and grey. Sadly, the warmer tones are somewhat lacking. There is no true shade of red in the collection and orange and yellow are limited to a single, rather pastel shade each. This is a disappointment, limiting blanket creation to the cooler and quieter tones instead of the vivid popping reds and oranges I’d like to use at times. However with 30 colors available there is plenty of creative scope to match blanket color choice to the particular friend or family for whom it is intended.

Knit Picks products are available only online at www.knitpicks.com. Comfy Worsted is sold for the bargain price of $2.99 for a 50-gram wound, center pull skein, which represents 109 yards of yarn. Baby blankets typically will use about 800 yards of yarn, so depending on your choices in size, design and knitting needles anywhere between seven and nine skeins will be enough for a blanket. The more intricate the design and the more color changes you make the more yarn you will require, but the prices at Knit Picks keep it easy on your pocketbook to pick up that extra skein for insurance (because one of the worst feelings as a knitter is realizing that you have run out of yarn about 2 rows before you were done with your project). The delivery has been reliable and fairly quick, which makes obtaining the yarn I want hassle free. I suspect Comfy is going to continue to be my favorite yarn for a long time to come.