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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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ZZ TwistY!

I’m working on take II of a crocheted shell I designed in Lion Brand’s ZZ Twist yarn. This yarn was created with a “Z” twist meant for crocheters. (Z is opposite of the standard S twist. It’s spinning term stuff relating to spinning a single and then counter-spinning to balance the energy in the yarn.)

I like the definition and drape of the fabric that this yarn produces. This is another yarn that I wasn’t overly impressed with when I first touched it. I was like meh, I like natural fibers. Truly. However, the appeal of a washable garment is pretty strong because I hate hand washing and feeling like I have to treat garments like they’re about to break. I have some weird contradicting feelings and habits I guess. 🙂

Anyway, I gave the yarn a shot because it was there. So really, why not? The top came out nice (Annalee already added it to her wardrobe) and I’ve begun to consider other patterns I can write for it (all garments). Something that I found does happen, though, is the yarn gets a little twisted up. I think it might be a little overspun. Just my opinion. As I worked I’d notice the strand of yarn feeding into the project would twist around and start to double back on itself. Like when you’re making a twisted cord. (Twist, twist, twist, fold and let double back on itself. That kind of thing.) It’s a very minor annoyance and so far my only semi-negative comment.

As soon as I finish and photograph take II of this top I’ll get to work sizing up the pattern. After that it’ll be some proof reading and the pattern will be listed!

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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!