8 Yarns for Your Next Knitting or Crochet Project

Do you ever wonder how days are declared official holidays or celebrations? Who decided to create Social Media Day or Flag Day or Bring Your Teddy Bear to School or Work Day? There's a whole website devoted to these special days...some are fairly well known, like Earth Day. But then you have Morse Code Day, Hug a Plumber Day, No Housework Day, Vitamin C Day. Today happens to be I Love Yarn Day. Even though I think all of these special days are fairly ridiculous, I do love yarn so I thought I'd post a list of some of my favorites here to commemorate the very special day (sarcasm implied).

Before we get to the list, let me share with you my yarn bias. I love knitting with real fibers. Once I started knitting with cotton and wool and alpaca, the synthetic yarns just couldn't compare. The problem is that real fiber yarn is more expensive than synthetics. In an attempt to be practical, the yarns below are listed in two categories: (1) Yarns That Won't Send You Into Debt and (2) Yarns to Buy When You Want to Splurge

Yarns That Won't Send You Into Debt

1. KnitPicks Shine

yarn

KnitPicks is a great place to find affordable yarn made from real fibers. They have a great color selection, too. One of my favorite yarns from KnitPicks is Shine. If you've ever felt the softness of Modal, you know why. This yarn is so soft and perfect for making baby items, snuggly blankets and other projects that you want to touch. It's also easy to work and displays patterns well.

Content: 60% Pima Cotton, 40% Modal natural beech wood fiber

Weight: Worsted

Amount: 75 yards / 50 grams per ball

Care: Machine Washable

Sample Projects: Sand Cable Baby Blanket, Modal-ly Baby Blanket, Lace Beanie

2. Cotton-Ease

cottonease yarn

Cotton-Ease is my favorite synthetic blend. The colors are amazing. It's also a perfect yarn to show patterns. This yarn is durable and will work well for projects that need to be washed often. You won't feel like you're using a synthetic blend. This yarn has all the feel of real cotton.

Content: 50% Cotton, 50% Acrylic

Weight: Worsted

Amount: 207 yards per ball

Care: Machine Washable

Sample Projects: Baby Blanket for Quirk, Basketweave Blanket

3. Wool of the Andes Sport

wool of the andes

This yarn is a great go-to for wool. It works well for a variety of projects because it's a really strong fiber. Make accessories like gloves and hats or use it for a durable wool blanket. The yarn drapes really well after blocking.

Content: 100% Peruvian Highland Wool

Weight: Sport

Amount: 137 yards / 50 grams per ball

Care: Hand Wash

Sample Projects: Twin Leaf Baby Blanket, Bias Blanket

sugarncream

If you need a durable yarn made from cotton, this is your solution. It comes in all sorts of colors and is great for household items like dishcloths, potholders, rugs, etc.

Content: 100% Cotton

Weight: Worsted

Amount: 120 yards / 70 grams per ball

Care: Machine Wash

Sample Projects: Ballband Dishcloth, Baby Beanie

Yarns To Buy When You Want To Splurge

1. Shelter

Shelter Yarn

Oh my. I love this yarn. It works perfectly for projects that require color work. It drapes perfectly. It's delightful. Did I mention the colors are beautiful, too? Buy a pattern from Brooklyn Tweed and make it with this yarn. You won't regret it.

Content: 100% Targhee-Columbia Wool

Weight: Worsted

Amount: 140 yards / 50 grams per ball

Care: Hand Wash

Sample Projects: Seasons Hat, Tawny Owl

2. MadelineTosh

yarn

My favorite thing about MadelineTosh yarns is the lovely selection of colors. The yarn comes in all sorts of weights and fibers, but one I really like is Tosh Merino.

Content: 100% Superwash merino wool

Weight: DK

Amount: 225 yards

Care: Machine Wash, Air Dry

3. Malabrigo Yarn

yarn

I made a cowl in this pattern that I never want to take off in the winter. It's soft, cozy and warm. And somehow it's squishy, too. The color selection is extensive and will leave you wanting to by skeins and skeins.

Content: 100% Merino Wool

Weight: Worsted

Amount: 210 yards

Care: Hand Wash

Sample Projects: Linear Cowl

4. Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton

yarn

This is a totally different type of cotton yarn. It's soft and easy to use and has a smooth finish to it. Because it's so smooth and even, the yarn looks perfect for any stitch pattern.

Content: 100% Organic Cotton

Weight: Worsted

Amount: 210 yards

Care: Hand Wash

Sample Projects: Baby Sweater

 

How about you? What's your favorite yarn?

saltine toffee recipe

My camera is sitting on a shelf in my living room. It isn't small. It's there staring me in the face every day. Yet I somehow managed to forget to take pictures of my last two knitting projects. It's a shame since they were both so cute. Maybe I was too excited to give them to an expectant mother and a mother of a newborn.

The first project I forgot to photograph is the Sunnyside Baby Sweater. I knitted it with grey wool and found the cutest little aqua buttons for it. This project knits up quickly since you make it all in one piece and attach the arms afterwards. Maybe I'll take a picture of the little guy wearing it when he's born in November.

The second project I forgot to photograph was for my neighbors. They had an adorable baby boy 2 weeks ago and I made him a simple Baby Beanie with self striping yarn. His parents put the hat on him when I went over to deliver food on Friday and he looked so handsome. (And even more exciting, the hat fit him well! I'm notorious for bad hat sizing.)

So enough about the things I didn't take pictures of...let me share something that I did manage to photograph!

saltine toffee, one of my favorite desserts! (from paintinglilies.com) #desserts

I can't believe I've waited this long to share one of my favorite recipes. This has been a staple dessert for me since college. It's so easy, incredibly delicious and only uses a few ingredients (most of which you probably have in your pantry). Best of all, you can make this in about 30 minutes.

My favorite part about this dessert is that it looks and tastes like it took hours to make. No one will believe you when you tell them you made it saltines, butter, sugar and chocolate.

It's addictive. Just try to only have one piece.

Saltine Toffee

Ingredients:

About 40 saltine crackers (or enough to cover your baking sheet) *Note* I've also used matzo crackers. They produce a slightly different consistency, but are just as delicious.

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt

1 package of chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

1 cup toasted almonds (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet first with foil and then with parchment paper, making sure to cover the entire baking sheet.

In a medium saucepan, heat up the butter and brown sugar. Stir the mixture until it starts to boil over medium heat.  The mixture will thicken as it heats, so make sure to stir it continuously. Once it starts to boil, continue to let it bubble for about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt.

Quickly pour the mixture over the saltines. Spread it out so that the mixture covers the saltines evenly. It will begin to set pretty quickly, so work fast.

Bake the covered saltines for 15 minutes. Watch it closely so it doesn't burn. If the edges start getting dark, you can reduce the heat.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Let the chips sit for about 5 minutes or until they start to melt. Then use a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate out evenly over the crackers. Sprinkle on nuts.

Allow the chocolate to set. I typically put the entire sheet in the freezer.

Once the toffee is set, break it apart and serve!

what's next?

After finishing the never-ending project (aka the Tunisian Tweed Blanket), I'm trying to figure out what to tackle next. It's summer, which means I'm way less excited about knitting. It's hard to get motivated to make warm garments when you're sweating and winter seems a million miles away. Also, knitting large garments and blankets doesn't exactly help you cool down.

But the problem is that I don't start knitting again until it's already cold. At that point I want to be wearing cool, handmade items, not knitting them.

Plus, there's the goal I set this year to knit a sweater. A sweater that I can wear. And I'm pretty sure that I should start that soon so that I'm not scrambling to do it in December.

Why are all the cute sweater patterns for kids? I can't seem to find an adult sized sweater that doesn't look...well, super homemade.

Maybe I'll start by knitting a kid-sized sweater and then move onto one that works for me?

I love this Duck Soup Sweater from Blog A La Carte.  (Pattern here)

kid's sweater
kid's sweater

And how about this Sunnyside Baby Cardigan from Learn to Knit with Katie? (Free pattern here)

sweater
sweater

Does anyone have any summer knitting suggestions? How about any good patterns for adult sweaters?