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Go For Faux Yarn

Lion Brand Go for Faux - faux fur knit blanket - free knitting pattern

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve probably noticed I’ve been posting photos of a fur yarn. It’s called Go For Faux and it’s sold by Lion Brand Yarn. It’s very on-trend for this Winter. There’s faux fur blankets and jackets, and cropped sweaters popping up everywhere. I’m working on a Go For Faux blanket and finished a simple pullover sweater. I used different colors for each project and had slightly different experiences with them.

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It sheds. That’s been the number one question. My experience so far is some colors shed more than others. The pastels (blue, white, & pink) seem to have more shedding than Bear and Pomeranian. I knit a sweater (that took a total of 2 evenings!) in the Blue Bengal colorway and it created a disaster in my apartment. The photo below is an example, but doesn’t truly convey the full extent of the shedding.

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I didn’t mind the yarn getting all over me since I expected the shedding before casting on. The cats cats didn’t seem to care either. The dog and the boyfriend might have had more of a problem. It got in the dog’s mouth and the boyfriend found it was irritating his face.

How soft the fabric is and how fast the sweater went made me feel ok about the fur particles flying around everywhere while I was knitting. Sort of an ends justify the means kinda thing. I used US size 15 needles and 6 skeins of yarn to complete my sweater. Rick lovingly calls it my “Sexy Blue Carpet Sweater.”

After I was done assembling the sweater I tossed it in the wash. Delicate cycle (cold water) with regular laundry soap and then in the dryer on delicate for a half hour. The lint tray was FULL! But the sweater held up and didn’t shrink. The shedding seemed minimal. I rubbed it on my black leggings to see what happened and there was some fuzz, but none of the flying clumps of faux fur that was happening pre-washing.

I wore the Sexy Blue sweater to work this week. It’s warm! In the office I was actually wishing I’d brought a t-shirt or a flannel to put on instead of the sweater. Since it’s 100% polyester it doesn’t have much breathability. If I’d knit tighter I might have died of a hot flash. But hey, if I was out in the snow and wanted to look good I’d probably have been pretty comfortable.

Unfortunately I wasn’t super impressed with how the fabric held up on the sleeves. The body was fine. But the sleeve of my right arm, which was gliding across my desk all day using the computer or writing, got very worn looking. Picture a little matted and not “fresh” looking. The fur was pressed down and slightly clumpy.

Lion Brand Go for Faux - faux fur knit blanket - free knitting pattern

The blanket using the Bear colorway is amazing! I’m almost done and will have used 12 skeins in total. This color doesn’t shed like the blue. It’s soft and fluffy and will become my new favorite blanket. I’ll have to fight the cats and dog for it, though. They’re all already trying to claim it as their own! I have to ship the blanket off for photographs once I’m done knitting. I’ll be counting the days until I get it back!


Pros and Cons

  • Con – It sheds like crazy
  • Con – It adds more pounds to your figure than a camera
  • Con – High friction areas get matted quickly
  • Pro – It’s super soft
  • Pro – It works up crazy fast
  • Pro – It’s on trend
  • Pro – It’s machine wash/dry
  • Pro – It’s vegan! The fur look without harming animals

Ending Thoughts

Would I use it again? Yes. I’m actually already planning another design that uses the Chinchilla colorway as an edging only. I wouldn’t use it again for a full sweater due to the sleeves. Blankets, pillows, accessories, and garment accents/edges are what I think Go For Faux is best suited for. I’m not sure I would personally want to crochet this yarn. 1) I just generally like knitting better and 2) I feel like it might be hard to see where to put the crochet hook. With that said, I have not actually tried crocheting it.

Mama In A Stitch did work up a crochet pattern for the yarn. You can get the pattern on her website or the kit (yarn and pattern) on LionBrand.com. If you plan on working with Go For Faux it’s worth taking a read through her post to form a fuller picture before diving in.

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My [current] Top 3 Places to Spend Money on Yarn

I have 3 favorite mass market online yarn suppliers that I stalk and shop from on a regular basis. This list changes, but it’s accurate for the past couple months at least. Until I find a new supplier to feed my addiction. 😬 You might be surprised at the combination of shops. Or maybe not. They’re different, and between all 3 I can pretty much cover any project I’m dreaming up.

1. We Are Knitters
This one is a new obsession and currently highly stalked. (I just completed a design using some of their Pima Cotton in Terra-cotta.) I love the simplicity and high quality of their yarns. The patterns are inspirational, but nothing I need as they are mostly basic shapes I can complete without a pattern. However, I do often buy yarn as a kit from them because of the deals they run. And why not? An extra pattern laying around never hurt. Plus the packaging is so cute. Yarn, printed pattern, a garment label, yarn needles, and [optional] crochet hook or knitting needles all come packaged in a heavy duty brown paper bag with a color photo on the front displaying what design the kit is. A+ on the marketing to We Are Knitters.

Favorite Yarn: The MeriPaca

We are knitters the meri paca yarn
We Are Knitters, The Meri Paca Yarn


2. Knit Picks
KP and I go pretty far back. When I was just starting out as a novice knitwear designer they were one of the first companies to back me up and give me a chance to prove myself. For that they will always have a spot in my heart no matter what. Plus they’re really just super awesome people. I met some of the staff this Winter at Vogue Knitting Live and I was not let down. Over the 9+ years since I published my first design with them I’ve had the opportunity to correspond with lots of the staff at KP and they’ve all been a pleasure to work with.

If you need a good yarn that’s not going to break the bank you’ll be able to find something on KnitPicks.com. They used to be strictly plainer yarns. The basic wool and acrylic and cotton. However, as the years go by they’re branching out into all sorts of exciting new fiber combinations. (WonderFluff is like holding kittens on clouds.)

Favorite Yarn: Color Mist, Swish Worsted

Knit picks Color Mist yarn
Knit Picks Color Mist yarn

3. Lion Brand Yarn
If you follow my Instagram (@FiddleKnitsDesigns) you’ll see I use Lion Brand pretty frequently. This is relatively new for me. We Are Knitters is on the higher end, Knit Picks falls comfortably in the middle, and Lion Brand brings in a good affordable option. It’s solid yarn. Most of the offerings are all, or nearly all, manmade fiber. They do have the LB Collection which brings in more natural and higher end fibers. It is, however, online available at their NYC retail store or directly through LionBrand.com. While some yarnies turn up their nose at manmade box-store yarns, I think there is a time and place for them in my project lineup. Good acrylics are what I want for blankets and every day type garments that will endure a lot of wear. Sometimes I want to make things that I don’t want to feel like I have to treat like an heirloom. Give me a sweater I can pull on quickly, get a little sweaty in, and toss into the washing machine.

Favorite Yarn: Flikka/Comfy Cotton Blend, ZZ Twist, and Feels Like Butta

Ikon brand Flikka yarn
Lion Brand, Flikka yarn


So there you have it. My current 3 favorite go-to brands. What are your top 3? Do you usually stay in a niche? Or do you have favorites for different needs? I want to know! Maybe you can introduce me to my next yarn obsession. 😬

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I Have A Problem

As I stood looking through one of my project bags this morning I realized something. I have a problem. I have so many projects in the works that I’ve officially lost track of how many exactly there are. It’s Spring, so that’s official cleaning time. Right? Time to hit the yarn piles. Hard. With cold stony non-attachment. Rip or toss. That will be the question.

Now I need to know, how many projects are too many? Two? One knit and one crochet? Four? Two travel (one knit and one crochet) and two for at home (one knit and one crochet)??

I also have to consider, I’m moving in July! Eek! My boyfriend knows, but doesn’t know, just what he’s getting into with all this yarn. There’s just. So. Much! He’ll learn fast. And he’ll be ok with it. 😬

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Knit it, Drop it

Rewind. It’s one of the new [gasp] acrylic yarns I cant stop playing with. Lightweight, yet speedy quick and bulky. Interesting and fun, but not expensive. This yarn has been keeping my imagination rolling in high gear.

I’m working on a very repetitive cable and drop stitch stole. I envision it being worn walking along a beach on a cool Summer night. Draped over bare shoulders to ward of that chill coming in off the water.

Ok. Two things — I might be slightly romantic. Also, I’m in desperate need of a vacation. I’m thinking somewhere I can put this vision into action.

I frogged this design a couple times over the weekend until I got the arrangement of stitches I was happy with. There is a leaf motif as the center focal point and I was having some trouble making up my mind how best to show it off. I ended up asking Rick’s opinion. (So if you guys hate it we can blame him. Hehe. Also, we’re moving in together in July! It’s good he gets used to being a sounding board for my designs now. Give him a taste of what he’s in for 24/7 😂)

I cannot wait for this design, along with the ZZ Top shell, Rewind raglan, and Flikka shawl to all be wrapped up. Beach photo shoot here I come! 💛

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Revisiting Rewind

A few days ago I wrote about a new yarn I was using called Rewind. It’s made by Lion Brand yarn and it’s a bulky weight acrylic tape. At that point I’d only been working with it for a day or two, so I didn’t have a complete read on how it behaved. Now, almost done with my raglan, I have a little more to say.

I still really enjoy this yarn. It is not a beginner friendly choice. Because it is a very airy smooth tape, instead of a more substantial rounded strand, there are moments when it slips or drifts right out of my hand as I work. This happens more frequently the faster I start to knit. Annoying? On occasion. Overall would it prevent me from using the yarn again? Nope. In fact, I’ve already begun designing a second pattern using the stuff. (Design two will be a warm weather stole in a cable and drop stitch pattern. I’m in love with the idea!)

I’m very close to done with my simple top-down raglan sweater. The next thing to see is how this yarn stands up to wearing and washing. Stay tuned!

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Revved Up Over Rewind

Rewind

I feel like I’ve been into all sorts of new yarns recently. New companies, embracing new colors, and breaking out of my little niche of hand-dyed fingering weight merino. Currently I’m working with tape yarn. Yup. TAPE yarn. It’s this flat, paper-like acrylic stuff. A year ago if you had said I’d pick it up by choice and *like* it I might have laughed at you. However, that’s exactly what I did.

Lion Brand Yarn released a new yarn called Rewind. It’s a bulky weight tape yarn made from 70% polyester and 30% viscose. There are 242 yards per 100 grams. Since this is a bulky weight (I’m using US size 11 knitting needles) you can get a sense of how airy the yarn is from the yardage per grams.

The color I’m working with is Greige. Doesn’t that translate to gray? It’s really more of a non-descript tannish kind of color. Almost like that weird thin paper in cheap notepads for kitds. Sounds kind of awful, but it’s not. Rewind

So why exactly do I like this yarn? It’s fun. It’s light. It works up fast. It’s a good alternative to cotton for warmer weather projects (I hate cotton). It’s great value. On LionBrand.com it goes for $7.99 for a 100 gram / 242 yard ball. And remember it’s a bulky weight. You can go pretty far on that. And let’s face it, yarns that feel good, look good, and are reasonably priced are pretty appealing.

I decided to make my first project in Rewind a top down raglan. Simple. I wanted to see the texture of the yarn. So far it’s working up nicely. I got through the entire sleeve increase section with just a single ball of yarn. (Yes! Value.) Even though it’s bulky, I don’t think the sweater will be crazy heavy/warm. On the US 11 needles the fabric is relatively open (13 sts per 4 inches).

rewind

Once I finish this project I’m going to move on to a stole using the Olive You, a muted olive green. (The website describes is as a “dark charcoal gray”. This is incorrect. It is very much a green color. Not a bright green, but not charcoal gray. I think fringe on the end of a shawl in this yarn will look amazing. And the lightness of the yarn… So breezy.

Lion Brand Rewind

So far I haven’t found anything I don’t like about the yarn. I’m not a huge fan of the fact it’s manmade materials, but that’s my slight yarn snob coming out. We’ll see how it washes and wears and if it stands up and keeps its shape. Only time will tell.


*Note: This post was not commissioned. The yarn was purchased by me (not supplied by company) and the content is purely my own opinion.

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Love for the LYS

Tomorrow is Local Yarn Store Day. If you use yarn then I *highly* encourage you to participate. Why? Because everyone can always use more yarn and I’m an enabler. But also, the LYS is a fading gem and if we want any to be there when we need them then they really need us yarnaholics to show our support.
Yes, shopping online in the comfort of your home in pajamas, no make up, with your furbabies cuddled up to you is very appealing. I’m guilty of spending most of my allotted yarn money in this fashion, especially since I enjoy companies I can’t actually pop in to a store for. (We Are Knitters, Knit Picks, Wool and the Gang) However, it’s a special kind of awesome when you can take your time to browse and
combine your sense of touch with sight and smell for a full yarn experience. Shopping in a store gives you a greater sense of what you can do with your yarn.

OK, so this is a whole bunch of stuff we already know. The main thing? If you like having an LYS handy then go on and let them know, otherwise there’s a good chance they’ll be gone soon. Can’t physically get out? Most stores these days have website and yes, that kind of online shopping counts for supporting your local yarn seller. I’d include local indie dyers as well. Go for it. Celebrate LYS day and enhance that stash. …. And then Knit Faster!

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Higher End: A Side of Lion Brand You May Not Know

My first projects used Lion Brand Yarn that I’d purchased at my local Michaels store. Combined with Red Heart and Caron, that’s all I knew of yarn. (Nobody in my life was a yarn crafter.) This was years ago, probably about 10. I remember piles of Fun Fur and Homespun and Vanna’s Choice. None of which I was a fan of. I never liked textured yarns by any brand. And Vanna’s Choice was just “too acrylic.”

I never considered myself an outright “yarn snob,” but I definitely appreciate good stuff. Recently I’ve become addicted to We Are Knitters. (Particularly their MeriPaca yarn.) Over the years I’ve used a whole lot of Knit Picks yarn, which I consider somewhere between the big box store offerings and the higher end.

Recently I’ve been exposed to a lot of Lion Brand yarn . With a lower price point and weekly promotions, it’s good for being on a tight budget. Easily accessible. Yada yada.

And then there’s the LB Collection. This set of higher end yarns from Lion Brand can only be found in their NYC retail store or tucked away on their website. No running down to Michaels for this stuff. I was completely unaware of its existence until my local knitting guild was visited by Shira Blumenthal, LB’s brand ambassador.

If you go looking for LB Collection yarns in the LBY Studio (34 West 15th street, New York, NY 10011) you need to walk all the way to the back of the shop. It’s like their best kept, public secret. It’s there, but not really discussed.

My favorite in the LB Collection (so far) is the Angora Merino. Kinda want a sweater in the stuff. Is super soft. Right now I’m using small smidgens of it mixed in with Superwash Merino and Merino Yak Alpaca for a garter stitch squares blanket I’m making for my cousin’s wedding. I completely want to keep said blanket for myself, but I will try not to be greedy and actually gift it.

At some point I’ll do an in-depth review of the yarns. For now I will say that the SW Merino is pretty good, very bouncy. Merino Yak Alpaca is a little scratchy. Angora Merino is a dream. And I’m not a huge fan of the Cotton Bamboo, but only because I don’t really like plant fiber yarns. There are other yarns in the collection too. The Jumbo Alpaca I used for two scarves this winter is another.


Note: This post was not commissioned by any brand and was written completely from my point of view.

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Rainy Days Call for Sunshiny Yarn

scarfie yarn

It’s practically a monsoon out there today. I’m working from home, thankfully. Otherwise I think I might have floated away. Accompanying me are my four-legged furry coworkers and some bright sunny Scarfie yarn.

knitting with cats

The furbabies are quite happy I’m home today since I was away all weekend. They have barely let me out of their site. Even Deetz (the fluffy black one that’s blending into my knitting bag) who usually likes to have her own space, has been hopping up on the couch with me off and on.

scarfie yarn

I’m going between real work and knitting on this one-piece baby duffle coat in Scarfie, one of my new favorite yarns. That black and gray blanket Kaya is sleeping on is also worked in Scarfie yarn. (Pattern is written, but I need to finish the sample! I’m about half way. Next Fall/Winter pattern release!)

Follow along with the process of all my projects on my Instagram! @FiddleKnitsDesigns


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Comfort Crochet

Lion Brand zz twist

When teeth get pulled you need some comfort crochet.

This past weekend I had the oh-so-lovely experience of getting two wisdom teeth taken out. I was not looking forward to the ordeal, but on the other hand my mouth had been in such agony for the week prior that I welcomed the inevitable pain of the extraction because at least the bad tooth (and its partner above) would be gone and there was an end in sight.

Ricky (and his family) was amazing and kept me supplied with mush foods. We spent the weekend watching TV and lounging. He serenaded me on guitar and I made some good progress on a new Spring/Summer top I’m designing in Lion Brand’s crochet-specific yarn, ZZ Twist.Lion Brand zz twistThe schtick with this yarn is it’s spun opposite than normal. Most yarn has a “S” twist and this is a Z, hence the name. (It’s a spinning thing. You spin the single ply one way and then when you put the plies together you spin in the opposite direction to balance the twist of the yarn. So this yarn is spun single with an S twist and plied with a Z twist whereas most yarn is the other way around.)

ZZ Twist is supposed to be ideal for [right handed] crocheters due to how you wrap the yarn around the hook. I am no expert on this phenomenon. I can say, however, that it crochets up pretty nicely with a good drape. With that in mind, it seemed like a good yarn to test out a simple crochet top. Crochet design hasn’t been a big focus for me and the things I have designed were mostly accessories or baby items. So the adult-sized top is kind of new ground, so to speak. Let’s see what it turns out like. Especially since it was conceived in a moment of complete agony. I promise photos regardless of the outcome. Let’s see if I’m proud or embarrassed!