The Amazing Adventures of Tom and Bel

Saturday, February 05, 2005

De plane! Deplane!

IF I were to be stranded on a desert island (a la Julia's supposition), the thing I would want most would be to hear the voice of Hervé Villechaize saying those sweet, sweet words. Failing that, I will play along with her Desert Island Yarn Game:

Julia says: First, you must create categories from the yarn you currently have in your stash (or, if you have some restraint, would like to have - ha!)
Hmmm. Like Julia, I divide by fiber. My categories would be:
  • Wool
  • Wool blends
  • Merino Wool (yes, this is separate - trust me)
  • Mohair blends
  • Alpaca
  • Alpaca blends
  • Cotton
  • Cotton blends
  • Linen
  • Acrylic
  • Unusual fibers (lurex, rayon, soy silk, etc.)
  • Novelty yarns
Julia: Once you've gotten the categories in place, choose the ones you feel you cannot go without. This should be a small number. Mine is six. Aim for five, but if you really have to, you can have seven categories.

Remember to take some thought. These may or may not be your favorite categories, but they are the ones you would really need to do a full array of seasonal knitting. (Or maybe not - maybe your Desert Island is in the tundra - it can happen - DC seems to have broken off from the Mid-Atlantic and floated substantially northward.) Categories may be yarn-driven as well. If you have a single yarn in a category that you can't live without, it may push the category to Desert Island status. Choose wisely.

Okay, it's getting a little tougher, but not impossible.
My absolute must have categories include:
  • Merino (favorite, would run over small children in the street for this)
  • Wool (2nd favorite)
  • Cotton (I love summer too much not to include this)
  • Alpaca (this is just plain sexy)
  • Acrylic (variety means me too)
  • Mohair blends (yarn-specific lust)
Julia again: Now, within each category, you must choose no more than five different yarns that you feel are your absolute favorites to work with - either for the great feeling you get from the process or from the effects they produce.
  • Merino: Patons Classic, Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000, Rowan 4 Ply Soft, Koigu PPPM, Baruffa Maratona
  • Wool: Beaverslide Dry Goods, Bendigo Woolen Mills Rustic, Bendigo Woolen Mills Colonial, Araucania Nature Wool, Noro Kureyon
  • Alpaca: Inca Alpaca, Bendigo Woolen Mills, Inca Tops (this is actually blended w/silk)
  • Cotton: Tahki Cotton Classic, Schachenmayr Catania
  • Cotton blends: Cascade Fixation, Berroco Cotton Twist, Dale Svale, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
  • Mohair blends: Mountain Colors Mountain Goat, Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals, Oak Grove Yarns
Julia's final instructions: Finally, you must choose only one yarn in each category that you would have to have on your Desert Island. This is tough, and you may have to subdivide categories to do it. Just remember - aim for five, no more than seven. (If you can get by on four, I'll be really impressed.)

Oh, crap. This is where it gets hard. Evilly hard. Death by a thousand paper cuts hard.
Here goes:
Merino: I love all of these yarns, and having to choose between them is like choosing between carrot cake (with generous spices and real cream cheese frosting) and death by chocolate cake (you know the one - it's deep chocolate with frosting that's even more chocolate and covered in molten chocolate). Ai ai ai. If I could put variegated merino in a subdivision, there would be Koigu, no question: the incredibly rich colorways and buttery texture.
Otherwise, for a basic merino yarn, Maratona has the edge. It is soothingly soft, yet makes cables and textured stitches "pop." It can be worked at worsted or DK gauges, which extends its usefullness.
It is the first yarn I ever loved.

Wool: Though I am unreasonably obsessed with/enamoured of Nature Wool (the subtle variegation thrills me too much for my own good), this category goes to the Australians (Bendigo's Colonial). It has a classic, cabled construction, comes in three weights (5-, 8- and 12-ply) , a surprisingly good selection of colors and shows off textures like nobody's business. The ultimate cabled sweater yarn.

Alpaca: Here, Classic Elite has the edge. It's is quite soft; I always want to pet it whenever I walk by. The Bendigo is sturdy and lovely, but I think I prefer Elite's color range.

Cotton: Cotton Classic truly is that. The ridiculous number of colors and the shimmery glow entrance me every time. You just can't run out of things to try with this yarn, and it does everything well - lace, cables, whatever you throw at it.

Cotton blends: I love love love Svale - it is so soft and subtle. But then there's Cotton Twist - the rayon component gives it a shimmer and drape unmatched by other yarns. I have to give the barest edge to Berroco, for the better color range.

Mohair blends: No contest here: Mountain Colors rocks my knitting world. This yarn is soft, resilent and makes me glow when I get to work with it. A real splurge, but it knits up into something you want to wear forever.

So there you have it. Whew! That was entirely too difficult - I want all the yarn with me if I'm desert island-ed!

In other news, I'm back to wedding knitting -- and still wondering if I'm insane to even attempt it. Progress can be seen below:

Random bits of bulky alpaca lace. Know what it is?

Does this help?


  • Grrrl - I love this list! This is exactly what I wanted when I wrote this post. I was really hoping for people to come up with interesting yarns and categories that were not on my list, and you've done just that.

    BTW, I have knit with Baruffa Maratona several times and really like it a lot. The downside of that yarn is supposedly that it does not hand wash well (according to a Knitter's Review of the yarn). I haven't tested this myself, as I made two baby kimonos with it and sent them off without washing. However, my sister in law's toddler wears hers all the time and it still looks great, so that at least is a testimonial to its endurance in one category. Next time I use it I'll swatch and wash.

    Love the Deplane! Deplane as well. Thanks for playing along!

    MOW Julia

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:10 AM  

  • Thanks, Julia - I enjoyed yours too - -definitely put some stuff on my "must try" list!

    By Blogger Cher, at 6:24 PM  

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