Yarn Quest 2018 – The Search Continues

I don’t often think of myself as a high maintenance girl. Sure, there are some of the “finer” things that I enjoy, but more often than not, I’m happy chilling at home, watching TV, reading a book, or just listening to some music. However, the further I get into my crochet adventures the more I realize I am super high maintenance and an absolute snob when it comes to yarn (I also may be a hoarder, but the jury is out on that one).

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I have so many skeins of yarn, but I seem to keep buying more. It isn’t always because I have a need for the yarn (although on rare occasions I do buy it specifically for a project), it’s because I’m looking for a favorite.

See, three things to know about me: (1) My daughter has a form of autism and as a result she is exceptionally sensitive to textures – because of that, I have become very sensitive to textures and that reflects in my yarn choices; (2) I have slight OCD, in that when I am passionate about something, I jump into the deep end and keep amassing information and materials about what I’m passionate about; (3) I have a thing about loyalty – wherein I appreciate being able to find a brand and latch on to it and purchase everything from them forever and ever. When taken together, these three factors can explain why my living room/work area looks like the yarn aisle from Joann’s.

When I first started back to crocheting, I refused to purchase anything online because I wanted to be able to experience the thickness and texture myself. Now that I have gotten more comfortable with different companies and types of yarns I don’t have that buffer any more and boxes of yarn randomly show up at my house #sorrynotsorry.

So, I have embarked on the Great Yarn Quest of 2018. I am looking for a consistent yarn for my Luvvies that comes in a large variety of colors, is reasonably priced, holds up, doesn’t split, has a nice texture, is reliable and easy to work with. Yup, not much to ask for at all….maybe I should reconsider that high maintenance statement.

WHAT HAVE I TRIED?

A year doesn’t seem that long, but there have been a lot of projects and a lot of purchases made. Some of these purchases include:

  • Red Heart Super Saver
  • Bernat Super Saver
  • Sprightly Worsted Weight
  • Caron Simply Soft
  • Knit Picks Mighty Stitch
  • Lion Brand Feels Like Butta
  • Cloudborn DK
  • Paintbox Simply DK
  • Paintbox Simply Aran
  • Bernat Blanket
  • Bernat Baby Blanket
  • Bernat Satin
  • Caron One Pound
  • Patron’s Grace
  • Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice
  • Lion Brand Pound O Love
  • Wool-Ease Thick and Quick
  • Charisma
  • And, I’m sure there are others….

So, I have tried a large assortment in a short amount of time. Some have been for hats and scarves, but the majority have been for my Luvvies, or Luvvie-adjacent projects.

THE NOT SO FAVES

As with anything, the following is based on my personal preferences and is not meant to be a slight toward anyone’s favorites – this is my purely subjective thought process, and I am not being paid/receiving gifts or compensation from any of these companies.

All the not-so-fun disclaimers out of the way….back to the serious business at hand.

Sadly for my pocket book the Red Heart Super Saver, Bernat Super Saver, and Caron One Pound were among my least favorite. The price was excellent and I could get a number of projects from each skein. The problem came down to the feel. For me, these materials were too scratchy, sometimes too splitty, and just didn’t hold up as well as I would like. They didn’t make for a super snuggly Luvvie.

Because I don’t like to make snap decisions, I tried multiple projects and multiple skeins of yarn from these brands and I really wanted to like them because they are so cost effective, but I kept coming back to the same conclusion. I even had Desi do a test for me, I asked her to get me a skein of a specific color from my stash (and make sure the label was off before she gave it to me), and I started to work on a project: It got to the point where I knew what I was working with and could identify the texture, and I still didn’t like it.

Again, this was the most cost effective and came in a large array of colors (because of my fascination with the box of 64 colors growing up that we’ve discussed before – it all comes full circle).

I still have several skeins of each of these brands that I will finish up for multiple projects, but (unless the color I need is not available in other options).

THE NOT SO BADS

Many of the remaining choices on the list fall into this category. Some are because of quality; some because of consistency; some because of lack of color options; some because of price.

Cloudborn DK had an interesting texture to it and a good stitch definition, but it was primarily a fingering weight yarn (I prefer DK and Worsted), it came in limited colors, and was on the pricier side. It worked up beautifully, but it wasn’t something that I could see me using consistently – plus several of the varieties were only sold in hanks, and I have a really hard time unwinding and re-winding hanks.

Bernat Blanket and Baby Blanket were a similar experience: I liked the texture and the stitch definition, but the colors were a little more limited than I would prefer and it was on the pricier side. I made a mermaid tail snuggle sack with the regular Bernat Blanket and materials alone cost me in excess of $50; to resell this as a finished item, I either have to charge $60-65 to make a profit, or sell it for $50 or less and either break even or lose money.

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The Lion Brand Pound o Love is nice to work with, but it doesn’t come in a large variety of colors. It is a more moderate price (especially for the huge amount of yarn that you get), and it is good for basic projects that don’t require a variety of colors. Even though it is listed as a worsted weight yarn, it is a little on the thinner side and is more like a DK or sport weight.

The Vanna’s Choice I really do love; so, why is it in the Not So Bad classification: Sadly, this one all comes down to price/quantity. I do appreciate the texture and feel of the Vanna’s Choice and it comes in a nice assortment of colors. The problem is it is one of the pricier brands, and has a lower yardage count than some of the others. The few times I’ve been able to find this on clearance (thank you, Craftsy) or sale (thank you, Joann’s), I tried to stock up with as much as possible because I do love to work with it – it just isn’t a cost effective yarn for me to use long-term.

Speaking of cost effective and limited colors, we come to the yarn that almost made it to the next category – it was a hair’s breadth away: Lion Brand’s Feels Like Butta. Oh my goodness, do I love this yarn. It is so luxurious to work with and provides an ultra snuggly Luvvie. The problem is, like the Vanna’s Choice, it is on the higher end of the price spectrum for a smaller yardage than other brands and it only comes in about 13 different colors. I think even if Lion Brand would add more colors and keep the cost the same, I would be more willing to use, bump up to the next level.

THE PRETTY DARN AWESOMES

There are a few yarns that were able to make it up into my (as of now) highest level of usage. I don’t know if any of these will become the yarn that I want to crochet with exclusively, but they are pretty darn awesome and I do love them.

A recent find and addiction is Knit Picks’ Mighty Stitch. Oh my word. While they may not have quite as many colors as I would want, they have a good assortment and the quality is awesome. A mixture of acrylic and superwash wool, the material has a nice stretch, it is super snuggly, and holds the fiberfill stuffing well without stretching out. I have tried about 10 different colors so far and have an order in for some basic colors (white, tan, black) to try them out, but I have been so happy with the results so far.

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All but the turquoise blue in Harmony Sock Monkey were made with Mighty Stitch

Along a similar line, Caron Simply Soft and Bernat Satin both bring similar texture and sheen to amigurumi projects. I feel the Simply Soft has slightly more colors to offer, which gives it the slight edge, but both provide consistent texture, feel, and stitch definition and are very pleasing to work with and also make a super snuggly Luvvie at the end of the day. Until I found Mighty Stitch, Simply Soft was on its way to becoming my favorite yarn, but now it is up for grabs again.

And then, there is Paintbox. Oh Paintbox how I love you so. The availability of color and the reasonable price make these yarns almost perfect. If only it was just a touch softer…just a touch, then it would hands down be the one and only yarn that I would use. With about 60 colors and a variety of weights from Cotton, to Aran, to DK, to Chunky – this is one of the most versatile yarn brands I know of. As I said, my only issue is it doesn’t have quite that silky soft feel that Mighty Stitch, Simply Soft, or Satin have. But, other than that, it really is my go to when I need something.

What are some of your favorite yarns? Do you have a brand you only use for specific projects? Are you a yarn loyalist? Do you shop around? Is having one brand to fit all an impossible dream – am I like Don Quioxte chasing windmills? Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time….hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

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