Pin size skein of berry cobbler yarn blues purples pinks
Knit Tip | Knitting | UFOs | Yarn

What’s Your Favorite Yarn Made Of?

What’s your favorite yarn made of? When I was a newer knitter, in a well stocked yarn shop, I was easily distracted by the colors and textures available. I bought whatever I liked without thinking about how it knit up and how it would wear. That meant I had to search for projects to fit the yarn I already owned. It’s not always easy to find a good match, and that can lead to UnFinished Projects (UFOs). Even now, with planning I sometimes end up with yarn that needs a different project than what I bought it for.  I’m still attracted to color and texture first!

Pin size skein of berry cobbler yarn blues purples pinks
100% Merino yarn skein of berry cobbler in blues purples, and pinks. By Madelinetosh.

Above is the skein of yarn I bought for it’s color only. I wanted to knit a pair of socks with it. Sadly I didn’t check what it was made of before buying. What yarn’s made of matters! I saw the beautiful dye job, and that was it! Unfortunately it’s one-hundred percent merino, and not Superwash. That means it takes dye really well, but not the pounding of feet. Most folks need a bit of nylon in their sock yarn to increase the wear time of their socks. Some people prefer all merino socks and feel the shorter wear time is worth it. I’m not one of them.

My Top Three Yarns – What They’re Made Of

  1. Merino and wool blends. These feel great on my hands.  Unless they are loosely spun, they show off fancy stitches. They keep their shape and are available in Superwash to make machine washing an option.
  2. Cotton. Regular or organic it draws the moisture out of my hands when I knit. So moisturize your hands more often if you plan to spend a week working with cotton yarn. It also has a tenancy to stretch out.
  3. Silk. It feels smooth but strong and really lets you tug on the last stitch to make it even. No fear of breakage here! Caution, when wet it becomes fragile. Silk requires extra care when washing, so it’s not a good choice for baby items.


Wool is a great everyday yarn, with elasticity. It stretches while being knit, making it easy on your hands. Then it snaps right back into place without any sagging. It looks great in stockinette stitch and in stitched designs. Seek out a high quality yarn, that’s not loosely spun, to avoid pilling. Sometimes pilling is unavoidable, like under the arms of a sweater you wear frequently. Just take those off before you store your hand knits for the season. Check out blends of wool or Superwash yarn for easier care. French Blue Sweater in cotton knit in garter stitch
100% cotton in garter stitch Cascade yarns

Cotton is best for spa washcloths and feels great on the face. While wet it stretches out but once machine washed and dried it’s back to it’s original size. Although I have knit a sweater with one-hundred percent cotton, results vary depending on the stitch you use. The sweater above was knit entirely in garter stitch. Garter stitch uses more yarn and holds it’s shape better than stockinette does, in cotton. Frozen Ocean Swiss Silk skein on cotton garter stitch hand knit
Frozen Ocean Swiss Silk by Handmaiden Fine Yarns skein on cotton garter stitch

Silk is my newest infatuation. It can be a very expensive purchase. Be sure you’re buying it from a well established yarn manufacturer. See what other knitters have to say about the company’s yarn. Silk has a tendency to stretch out a bit or relax once knit and washed. That’s more of an issue in a fitted garment rather than a shawl. The color options are great though, and silk has a certain sheen to it that I like. That sheen gives the colors great depth.

What’s your favorite yarn made of? Are you trying something new or moving in a new direction lately?

KNIT TIP! One way to reduce UFOs (UnFinished Projects) is to check out the content of yarn before you buy it. What’s it made of? Will that work for your project? What yarn’s made of matters!!

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