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  A Tale of Two Yarns – “Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.”

I love yarn.  I think yarn is like people – “there’s someone for everyone”, it’s just a matter of finding them.  I think one of the hardest things to do, however, is make the match, yarn to pattern.  Like every knitter, I’ve tried some things that came together like a match made in heaven, and a few truly stunning failures via yarn choices.

First, the latest yarn star in my studio –

Cascade Yarns “Sierra”, 80% cotton, 20% wool, 191 yds/100 g

Like many things in life, it was a moment of frustration that pushed me to explore something I hadn’t ever considered.  I was searching for a yarn to pair with some cotton chenille in my stash that was variegated and very “fall” in feeling.  I went to a sale at my LYS, and was on the hunt for a dark teal tweed.  In my head it was the perfect yarn, but I tried every tweed in the store, and none of them “sung” to me like I had hoped.  I grumpily decided perhaps I could consider another type of yarn.  Color is the center of my universe, so I decided rather than focus on a particular type of yarn, perhaps just cruising for any color that “popped” with the chenille would lead to the right choice.  I saw this plum color in the corner of the store, flat finish, very un-wooly, and yet somehow very warm looking.  It was perfect with the chenille, color wise, and then I read the tag – mostly cotton.  Could a cotton-wool blend be the best choice for a fall sweater?  Actually, YES!  Bought it, knit it, loved it.

The yarn went on to become the first “Baby Rock ‘n’ Rollneck”, which Lil’ One is still rockin’ out in 4 months later.  The Sierra turned out to be one of the best yarns for children I have come across.  It has just enough wool in it to be cozy, but the cotton it so nice on my Lil’ One’s skin that she’ll wear it without anything underneath.  I’ve washed it numerous times, and as you can see, it still looks great and there’s no pilling!  I can’t say that about any other cotton yarns I’ve used, or even alpaca and wool for that matter.  It was easy to knit – crisp, clean and quick with just enough loft to make lovely even stitches every time.  I happily used it again, and so did Peaceful Knitter (one of my testers), who also seemed pretty pleased with it. Our east and west coast girls seem pretty happy with their “swedrrs”, don’t you think?

I have another batch in coral that I plan on using for another baby sweater design soon, and I was really excited when I found that a pattern I loved in the Vogue Knitting,  Spring/Summer 2011, called “#03 Drape Neck Top“, also called for Sierra.  Yeah!  I’ve been very jealous of my Lil’ One’s wardrobe so this may be an excuse to do a little selfish summer knitting for me.

Now, the yarn in “time-out”  –

StahlSche Wolle, “Serenade Colori”, 78% Mohair, 22% Polyamid, 110 m/25 g

This yarn is an example of why there are “bad” uses for yarns.  Two characteristics that are really hard to deal with in my view , are fuzzy yarns, and variegated yarns.  This yarn was both, and basically it lead to a result that argued with the knitting effort rather than show it off.  This is my oriel lace scarf:

This started out to test the oriel lace pattern for the Shirley Paden Oriel Lace Blouse I’m currently knitting. I made it about 4 years ago to keep busy at Big Bro’s baseball games.  I was there, it was soothing, so I just kept going –  long after I’d established it wasn’t really a good choice for the blouse pattern.  Well, next time I’ll stop and move on.  In the picture above it is almost pass-able, but wrapped around my neck it is just a blue and purple fuzzy blob which entirely obscures all that lace work I did:

I love to knit fancy stitches, but when they are buried in the yarn choice, it really ruins it for me.  As a wearer of lip gloss, I have to say the flying fiber can be quite annoying as well.  Over the years I have learned that some of these yarns that look so fun in the ball become useless as a knit.  I have a ton left (about 15 skeins in two colors), so I hold out hope that I’ll find this yarn’s heavenly match some day.  For now, it’s neatly bagged away in the corner… waiting.