Yarns We Love

Yarns We Love

Winter 2023-2024

Space isn’t a concern in an online magazine, so we have asked each designer to provide a review of the yarn they used for their projects. When designers submit a proposal for a design, we try to accommodate their yarn choice. They are the best judge of what yarn will work best for their projects.

Berroco Ultra Wool

219yds/200m, 100g/3.50oz
100% Superwash Wool


Berroco’s Ultra Wool is a very reliable superwash wool. Available in over 90 strong, vivid colors and multiple weights (Fine, DK, Worsted, and Chunky), this reasonably priced yarn provides nice stitch definition without splitting. It is indeed an Ultra Wool.
by Charles Gandy—Butterfly Pillow

Brooklyn Tweed Imbue

104yds/95m, 50g/1.76oz
100% American Merino Wool


Imbue is a 20.7 micron, worsted-spun yarn that is 100% processed in the U.S. I can say that it does have great stitch definition. The textured stitches in my Back Tracking were nicely formed and visible throughout the garment fabric. The 5-ply construction makes for a round and springy yarn and is great for this type of stitch pattern. The softness of the yarn made for an enjoyable knit. The heathered yarn color adds an additional layer of depth to the fabric. Imbue was a great choice for my Back Tracking design.

Brooklyn Tweed care instructions: Hand wash cold. Lay flat to dry.
by Trudie Joseph—Back Tracking

Brooklyn Tweed Tones Light

225yds/206m, 50g/1.76oz
100% American Columbia Wool


Once you find a yarn you love, it is hard to look elsewhere. I knew for this simple intarsia design I wanted tones of the same color, so it was natural that I went back to Brooklyn Tweed Tones. I used it for a design last spring for Melba Tones and discovered that this 2-ply woolen-spun yarn produces a wonderful light fabric. American Columbia wool is fleece-dyed into light and dark shades and then overdyed to create “tone pairs.” The Undertone is the darker shade and the Overtone is the lighter shade. As I was requesting the yarn, 6 shades were added to the palette. I never can resist red yarn.

Maintaining even tension in intarsia on vertical columns can be tricky. The “stickiness” of tones made it a breeze. This design is designated as a Confident Beginner pattern as it is such a simple design, and I can’t think of a better introduction to intarsia than working with Tones. I was very pleased and I know this won’t be the last time I select tones for a design!
by Arenda Holladay—So Simple

Cascade Yarns Cascade 220

220yds/200m, 100g/3.5oz
100% Peruvian Highland Wool


What can I say about Cascade 220 that hasn’t already been said? It is well known to have great loft, create wonderful stitch definition, and be quite durable while remaining affordable. I found all of this to still be true when I used it. This medium weight yarn is a classic choice when looking for a yarn that is easy to work with but will last for generations. I’ve heard some rumblings that the yarn quality has fallen off recently, but I did not find this to be the case in the lot I received. I found the yarn to be consistent, evenly plied, and durable. It was a great choice to pair with Cascade 220 Fingering for my Hybrid Holiday cowl.

Cascade 220 should be hand washed cold and laid flat to dry. Although I prefer my Aran cables in natural or gray heather shades, Cascade 220 offers great design versatility since it is currently available in a staggering 169 colors!
by Jennifer Kent—Hybrid Holiday Cowl

Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 Fingering

273yds/250m, 50g/1.75oz
100% Peruvian Highland Wool


Cascade 220 Fingering is the super fine weight version of Cascade 220, so it was an easy decision to pair them in the Hybrid Holiday Cowl. Also, chances of matching the natural shade in different yarn weights were better when choosing the same fiber from the same company. Even though the yarn was a breeze to work, initially I thought the tension was too loose when stranding with a size 3 needle. However, the real beauty of this yarn was not apparent until after it was blocked. My tension worries melted away as the yarn bloomed and took on its final shape.

Just like Cascade 220, Cascade 220 Fingering should be hand washed cold and laid flat to dry. Finding the shades you want should not be a problem, since it’s currently available in 74 colors. And the 50g/1.75oz skeins make it a more economical choice for pattern work, since less yarn is typically needed for each color position.
by Jennifer Kent—Hybrid Holiday Cowl

Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash

220yds/200m, 100g/3.5 oz
100% Superwash Wool


Cascade Yarns knows what they are doing when it comes to wool. Their yarn is hard wearing, dependable, and comes in a great variety of colors to work with. It is one of my go-to yarns when it comes to knitting anything! Specific for children’s garments, though, this superwash is great to work with if you prefer wool because it can be gifted to those with little knowledge in the care of wools. It is machine washable and dryable! I found no knots, no inconsistencies, and although some of the colors are listed as light weight and some as medium weight, they all worked just fine together.
by Sara Louise Greer—Skye

Four Crows Fibers Donegal DK

231yds/211m, 100g/3.5oz
85% Superwash Merino wool, 15% Donegal


Continuing on my quest for great tweedy Donegal-type yarns, I recently found a hand-painted superwash merino wool version of this classic yarn style. Choosing which color to use was not easy as Melissa Brown, owner of Four Crows Fibers, obviously has a lot of fun playing with the colors in her dye pot!

Not your typical Donegal-type yarn, it works up perfectly in simple knit-and-purl texture, and the colors provide enough visual interest to keep any knitter engaged. It’s a dream to work with, feeling really great as the stitches slide across the needle and under your fingers while you knit. It worked up so beautifully that it almost didn’t need blocking.
by Therese Chynoweth—Vintage Cardigan

Knit Picks Comfy Sport

136yds/124m, 50g/1.75oz
75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic


This is one of my favorite yarns for next-to-the-skin softness, and I especially love how easy it is to launder. It can be machine washed and tumble dried on low, making it excellent for children and baby garments. The cotton/acrylic blend is gentle on delicate skin and easy to knit up. It’s not as stiff as pure cotton and does have some give, so the process of knitting with Comfy Sport is enjoyable. It is put up in skeins so you can start knitting right away and comes in 30 colors.
by Donna Estin—Barrington

Knitpicks Galileo

131 yds/120m, 50g/1.76oz
50% Merino Wool, 50% Viscose from Bamboo


Knitpicks has always been one of my go-to yarn companies. You can’t beat the prices, and the quality is excellent. When choosing a yarn for my Vine Street pullover, I wanted something soft and luxurious but not too expensive. Galileo was the perfect choice.

Galileo is a lush blend of Merino wool and bamboo from viscose in a sport weight. The Merino gives it the softness I was looking for, and the bamboo provided the luxurious sheen. This might sound weird, but I think it has a sinuous drape. That’s the best way I can describe how it feels. It’s great for wearing next to the skin and is perfect for those with sensitive skin.

This yarn comes in mostly jewel tones, ranging from soft grays and pinks to a deep burgundy and midnight blue. It is a hand-washable yarn and tends to grow somewhat when wet blocked by soaking. For that reason, I recommend pinning the piece to the measurements then spraying with a spray bottle of water.
by Betsy Hoenes—Vine Street

Knit Picks High Desert

298yds/272m, 100g/3.53oz
100% USA Grown Shaniko Wool


As I was planning this design, my major requirement for the yarn was that it should provide amazing stitch definition. I love Bavarian stitch patterns, but I wanted something much easier to work, especially in a flat design. I had used a slipped-stitch cable pattern years before, and I thought High Desert would check all the boxes.

I love this yarn. Knit Picks had it on sale not long ago and I bought a bag (soon to be a coat, if I ever get the time!) In my first review of High Desert, I complained that the color palette was a bit limited, but this is no longer true. After looking at their website, I count 18 new colors, including some luscious heathers. As with the original colors, the names reflect colors of the west. The names Woodsmoke Heather, Sugar Beet Heather, and Redtail make me homesick for the west.

I chose Dusk for this design, and I was a bit concerned that it might be a bit dark for the design, but I had nothing to worry about. I think any of the colors would work. I don’t often keep the samples of my designs, but I plan to keep this one. In fact, since this issue will be out before the retreat in Charlotte, I plan to wear it there!
by Arenda Holladay—Interlocking Eights

Miss Babs Yummy-2ply

400 yds/365m, 110g/3.9oz
100% Superwash Merino Wool


Baroque incorporates a variety of stitch patterns and textures, so I wanted a yarn that would work well at a loose gauge for lace and at a tighter gauge for stockinette and cables. Yummy 2-ply did not disappoint! Although it is a fingering weight yarn, it knits up well in stockinette stitch on a range of needle sizes (I tried US #3–6). Despite being a superwash Merino yarn, it has neither the limpness of superwash nor the excessive springiness of merino. It knits up into a beautiful, soft fabric with a slight sheen reminiscent of silk blends. It will be great for traditional fingering weight projects like hats, as well as projects combining different gauges and stitch patterns.
by Ashwini Jambhekar—Baroque

North Bay Fiber Elemental Worsted

205yds/187m, 110g/3.5oz
100% Cormo Wool


Elemental Worsted is a non-superwash, worsted-spun wool yarn with a fine twist. It’s a 3-ply yarn and is nice and squishy. It averages 21 Microns. Cormo sheep produce a soft white yarn naturally that takes dye wonderfully. North Bay dyes a wide range of very earthy colors, ranging from neutrals in white, tan, brown, and greys to brights in teals, blues, purples, reds, and a few yellow tones. All the colors would go well together in colorwork projects, in my opinion, and be a lovely choice for those kinds of projects (especially in their fingering weight of this wool!).

Cormo fiber is long-stapled and this, along with the nice twist in this yarn, should help reduce pilling. It was a joy to knit with and blocked beautifully. My boot toppers took quite a while to dry, though, so keep dry time in mind when blocking with the worsted and bulky weights of this fiber. (I have blocked the sport and fingering weights of this fiber, and those dried quicker.) They also recommend hand washing with cold water (as you would any non-superwash wool) and using a color-catcher if multiple colors were used, or if dark shades were used.

All of North Bay Fiber’s yarns are 100% sourced, spun, and hand-dyed in the USA. All of their yarns are non-superwash and 100% American Wool and sold in lines that are breed specific. Their Elemental line is Cormo Wool, and their Heritage line is Targhee-Polypay. (North Bay Fiber acquired Elemental Affects’ Cormo line last year, so if you’ve used that in the past, this yarn will be familiar to you.) I highly recommend using this yarn when you want a yarn that has great stitch definition and is super squishy and warm! Bonus points for supporting an all-American-made wool yarn!
by Heather Storta—Toplo Boot Toppers

Plymouth Yarn Plymouth Select DK Merino Superwash

130yds/119m, 50g/1.76oz
100% Superwash Fine Merino Wool


If you are looking for a DK yarn with amazing stitch definition, available in some 50 vivid colors, that is superwash and, thus, easy to care for, then you are in luck if you choose Plymouth Yarn Plymouth Select DK Merino Superwash. A pleasure to work with, this yarn may soon become your go-to yarn for those textured knits. It certainly has become that for me!
by Charles Gandy—Horizontal Banded Hat

Purl Soho Good Wool

383 yds/350m, 100g/ 3.5oz
100% Andean Highland Wool

http://www. purlsoho.com

I was searching for a good wool to use for the Scandinavian Dubbelmössa hat. The Dubbelmössa requires a solid consistent fine wool in a variety of colors. Purl Soho Good Wool fits the bill for these types of projects. Purl Soho lists the yarn under two weights, Sport and DK. I originally planned to work the yarn at 22 sts per 4” but found that the yarn worked much better at 24 sts per 4” or sport weight.

Each skein has 383 yards, and they are reasonably priced at $17.00 per skein. The color saturation of the yarn is fantastic. Each color comes in a variety of shades, so it’s easy to find a combination of colors that work well together for stranded work. There are 38 total colors to choose from. The yarn has a nice hand. There is plenty of loft, and the stitches work up evenly in all the colors I used. It blocked easily and looked great. I will definitely use this yarn again for a stranded project.
by Leslie Gonzalez—Three Gardens

Purl Soho Wigeon

359yds/328m, 100g/3.5oz
100% Fine Falkland Merino


Purl Soho has steadily become my “place to go” when looking for yarn. A clean, easy-to-navigate website with good photos helps, but it is the yarn itself that is the temptress. Wigeon is a gorgeous offering that I was very excited to find.

A true sport weight yarn, with three very consistent ply, Wigeon is tightly spun and yet has a very soft, plump hand. The Falkland merino base is very soft and fine, which couples perfectly with the tight spin, ensuring that what might otherwise be a soft and fragile fiber is constructed to maximize and enhance its strength. The stitch definition is crisp and clean, and the final fabric blocks beautifully. Wigeon responds favorably to spit and splice, with the joins being undetectable.

What ultimately drew me to Wigeon was the color pallet. I had a very specific color combination in mind: clean, modern, earthy, but not necessarily rustic; Wigeon immediately caught the eye. The dye is a true solid that looks good in all types of light. In addition to the gorgeous colorways, the yarn weight of Wigeon was an unanticipated bonus. A sport weight yarn is somewhat of a rarity, despite it being absolutely perfect for seasonal transition pieces and for those who live in warmer climates. I was amazed at how quickly it knit up, all without the added bulk of a worsted weight.

In all, I hope to knit with Wigeon again. Not only was it a tactile delight, but the finished fabric was quite luxurious.
by Mary E. Jacobs—Martha

Stacy Charles Janelle

121yds/110m, 50g/1.75oz
68% Cotton, 22% Baby Alpaca, 10% Merino


I am always on the lookout for soft yarns to create with. Stacy Charles Janelle is a lightweight blend of cotton, baby alpaca, and Merino wool that has a soft, fluffy halo. Compared to other yarns that contain mohair to generate the soft halo, Janelle is especially easy to wear year round because of the high cotton content.

On top of being perfectly squishy, this yarn has a little color variation that reminded me of my affinity for yarns with a tweed look. This yarn also provides good stitch definition, which makes it ideal for the Embrace sweater. The basic knit-and-purl stitch background allows the slipped-stitch columns and purl bumps to just pop out of the fabric.

I chose to use the color Rust for the sample because the glow of the fluffy, rusty halo reminded me of the golden lights you see at this time of year.
by Renate Kamm—Embrace

29 Bridges Studio Go To Sock

463yds/423m, 100g/3.5oz
75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon


As I was walking through the h+h trade show last June, I had to stop at a booth that had the most fabulous pink I had ever seen. Not all vendors at the show offer cash and carry, and I am so glad the owner of 29 Bridges did, or I would have been tempted to shoplift!

My weakness at fiber festival markets and trade shows is sock yarn. You don’t have to think about what you are going to use it for, and this habit of mine explains why I have enough sock yarn to knit every person I know a pair of socks for every month for 10 or 12 years.

I rarely wear pink, but I designed a pattern for these socks fairly soon after the show, and I was so pleased with them that after seeing a very popular movie this summer, I had a name for them.

Mary Herron, my contact at the company, was a delight to work with, which is another plus for the yarn. That isn’t always the case. After looking at her website, I see quite a few tempting colors…

I loved working with the yarn. I had to check the label several times to see if it had any silk as it was so soft on my hands, and the resulting fabric has a lovely sheen. Before I make my next comment, I want to let you know I used Size 0, very pointy stainless steel needles, and the stitch pattern has quite a few decreases. I did have to watch out for split stitches, but I can’t really blame the yarn, and I definitely won’t let that stop me from using this yarn again!
by Arenda Holladay—Dream House

Universal Yarn Deluxe Bulky Superwash

106yds/97m, 100g/3.5oz
100% Superwash Merino


When I was designing this oversized cowl, I wanted to combine a delicate lace pattern with a bulky yarn—something that’s not often used for lace knitting! The Deluxe Bulky Superwash yarn from Universal Yarn was a great choice, with its beautiful array of colors and the easy care of a superwash yarn. It has a nice twist, and the number of plies gives the large stitches very clear definition. And because the yarn is bulky, this project knits up very quickly. While the yarn is labeled as superwash, I recommend washing by hand or using a delicate machine-wash cycle before placing it on a flat surface to dry, stretching the lace and pinning out the picots.
by Tonia Lyons—Cobby Lace Cowl

Universal Yarn Uni Merino

437yds/400m, 100g/3.5oz
75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon


Universal Yarn’s Uni Merino is a soft, evenly spun, 4-ply yarn that provides distinct stitch definition—perfect for the lace of Ellie’s Sunflowers baby blanket. It comes in over 50 colors: some bright, some muted, all lovely. It is also available in 25g skeins, which makes color work much more affordable.

Uni Merino is ideal for a baby blanket as it’s machine washable and dryable. It also responds beautifully to traditional wet blocking, which is what I used for this blanket.

To save the knitter valuable time, the yarn comes already wound into a center-pull ball. Uni Merino is a quality yarn that I have used in the past and will definitely use again.
by Mary Forte—Ellie’s Sunflowers

West Yorkshire Spinners The Croft 100% Shetland Wool Aran

182yds/166m, 100g/3.53oz
100% Shetland Wool


I’ve loved working with Shetland wool since the first time I tried it. Shetland wool makes knitting feel like it should! The finished garments are wonderfully warm and perfect for damp dreary weather.

West Yorkshire Spinners The Croft range of Shetland wool—which also comes in a light DK weight as well as this medium Aran weight—is available in a wide range of colours, full of beautiful earth and sea tones with both solid colours and tweed-flecked shades.

Although I am always incredibly inspired by the flecked-tweed shades of this wool, I chose a solid colour for this pattern to better allow the stitch pattern to stand out. Blues, I must admit, are the colours of my comfort zone, and the soft comforting blue from their range used here is perfect for this pattern—or any winter warm knitting.
by Ciara Doyle—Seersucker Hat, Scarf, and Mittens

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