What’s Yarn Got to Do With It?

When I was younger and started to crochet, I don’t remember there being a plethora of yarn choices. I don’t even remember having crafty type stores like Joann’s and Michael’s, although I’m sure they were around (I’m only 40 😳).

I just remember having my little skein of yarn and crocheting and ripping it out and then abandoning a project. I don’t remember different thicknesses or feels or different hook types (aluminum, bamboo, that’s a whole other post). So, it came as somewhat of a surprise she. I came back to the craft at the wide array of choices there are on the market. As a classic introvert and true Oregon Trail generationer, I have come to rely on Amazon and other online markets for almost all of my shopping needs. I quickly learned this would not work in the world of yarn and crochet.

When I would order from Amazon, I would find the thickness of the yarn to be too thin (or too thick), or the material to be too scratchy for my purposes (I am sensitive to different fabrics, and more so since my daughter has sensory issues). So with each order that came to my door, I found myself dejected.

Facing the music that I was going to have to venture into a store, I walked into Joann’s. My wallet had never been the same since.

A World of Imagination

It was a bit overwhelming to walk into Joann’s that first time. There were literally aisles filled with yarn options.

At this point, I hadn’t started amigurumi, yet, and was working on hats. Still, the choices made my head spin. What kind of yarn did I want? Why is some of it so fuzzy? Holy heck that is some thick yarn, how do you even begin to work with that?

What was worse was my daughter came with me. Because of her sensory issues she is very tactile and wants to touch everything. So our first trip to the craft store saw us with more yarn purchased than I ever imagined.

Once I had all this yarn I needed to decide what to do with it. I quickly learned that, for my tastes, there were certain types of yarns that just didn’t like to work with. The scratchier the material, the less I liked to use it. Also, if the yarn had too much fluff, I wasn’t able to comfortably work with it and ended up with lopsided results.

The Winners Were…

I tried a lot of different yarns: Some were successful, some were not. Once I found my favorites, I did feel comfortable in buying those online from different sources. But, there really is something cathartic and special about buying the yarn at a store and feeling the textures and seeing the vibrancy of the hues.

While I was just making hats and scarves, I amassed quite a stash…so much so that my father and husband banned me from craft stores (they never said anything about buying online, though). However, when I got into amigurumi, I had to go through the process all over again. Because my favorites for hats didn’t necessarily work for my Luvvies.

A snap of just some of my yarn stash

So, what do I like best for my Luvvies. It depends upon the project (how’s that for deflection 😂). Actually, the honest answer is I’m still learning what is best but I have narrowed the selections. Probably the most economical choice of my stash, I have found the Red Heart brand has a variety of colors that lend nicely to my Luvvies. For larger projects, this has been my go to choice because it does work up nicely and I get a lot of yarn for the price, which helps me keep my costs down. On the downside, the yarn can be a little scratchy, which doesn’t always make for the most huggable of Luvvies. But, it is a strong contender. Moving up in price a little, I really have a love of using the Caron Simply Soft. The yarn works up well, very little thread separation when I make my stitches, and the finished pieces are ultra squeezable and snuggly Luvvies – just the way they should be. I know Red Heart has a “soft” line; but as of this writing, I have not tried it. I do like the Simply Soft and how it works up for the Luvvies, but the price could be a consideration based on yardage. I LOVE Paintbox Yarns. They are such a joy to work with and feel incredible to snuggle, which make them just ideal for Luvvies. The problem is these are the upper end of the price point. As they are slightly more expensive as the Caron Simply Soft, I find myself putting the Paintbox Yarns to the side in favor of the more economic options. However, I have pattern from Yarn Society that I am itching to try that I think will use the Paintbox brand just to make him a little more special. I have watched Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune since I was little. My grandma and I would sit in her living room when I would visit and we always watched Jeopardy! and Wheel. Those are such lovely memories. However, when I saw Vanna had her own line of yarn, I thought it was more of a marketing gimmick than anything. After trying her yarn though, it became one of my absolute favorites. The feel is so luxurious and the yarn has very little splitting or ripping during the stitching. The end result is an ultra cuddly Luvvie that is hard to put down. The downside of the yarn is it is a little on the upper price point and the yardage is less than with the other brands we’ve looked at. For larger Luvvies, like my koala, I used almost two full skeins to create him, which is a little pricier than I would have liked. I can definitely see using this type for some of the smaller Luvvie projects. There are different thicknesses of the Charisma yarn, but I have found this hasn’t worked as well for my Luvvies. I adore using this brand for hats, but it just doesn’t work up as well for amigurumi, not even for my larger pieces. Big Twist is Joann’s line of yarn. It is more economical, much more in line with the Red Heart Super Saver. I like using this for my hats, but have had mixed results for the Luvvies.As I made different sizes of Luvvies, especially those with smaller hook sizes, this brand didn’t work quite as well as the fibers would separate, which would require going back to take out and redo those stitches and even then perhaps have a more frayed appearance at points. Between the Lion Brand Pound of Love and the Caron One Pound, I have found both very nice for working up my Luvvies in various sizes. The fibers stayed together nicely, even in various hook sizes. I need to do a little more research and analysis about how cost effective these are in the long run, but so far I have been pleased.

So What’s the Answer?

I don’t know if there is a clear winner. The Caron Simply Soft and Vanna’s Choice are probably the ones I reach for more often. But a lot depends on the project. If I’m working on a large Luvvie, I definitely reach for the pound yarns. For smaller work, I’m willing to “splurge” and go with my favorites.

I think a lot comes down to the artist’s preferences, too. For someone with different textural issues than I have, they may want to use a completely different yarn from what I have talked about. Some people may not like the slippery type feel of the softer yarns: Others may be turned off by the slightly coarser texture of the Red Heart brand.

I know I have a ton of fun trying the different yarns and seeing what can come from them.

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