As a quick disclaimer before I start, there are still many fibers that I haven’t had a chance to use yet and would like to try (bamboo, silk, and alpaca just to name a few). This post is just about the fibers that I have used so far.
To date, I have used yarns with the following fibers (including blends):
- 100% wool (not specified what type)
- 100% merino wool
- 100% superwash merino wool
- 100% Peruvian Highland wool
- 20% wool/80% acrylic
- 75% pima cotton/25% acrylic
- 100% cotton
- 100% acrylic
- 75% superwash merino wool/25% nylon
Yes, that is a very short list compared to the vast number of fibers that are available. It’s also possible that I have missed a few that I just can’t think of right now. Those who are observant will realize that 2/3 of the list have something in common. The other thing that they have in common (with the exception of one), is that they’re also the types of yarn I have really enjoyed using so far.
I really like using wool and wool blend yarns that are mostly wool. For me, it has the perfect amount of give, the right amount of drape, and the proper amount of structure. Yes, I know that part of this depends on the size of needles that I use, the pattern, and how tightly I knit. So far I do think that these are my favorites to use.
Using wool and wool blend yarns isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, though. Wool yarn can’t really be used for lighter garments and warm weather garments. Well, you can them, but you’re just going to sweat waterfalls.
I’ve used a few different wool and acrylic blends that are mostly acrylic. In my experience the blends as well as the 100% acrylics almost always end up being stringy and the plies never seem to stay together. They’re usable but make knitting a bit less fun for me. There is one exception to 100% acrylic yarns and that is Knit Picks’ new line called Brava which, in my experience so far, hasn’t suffered from these problems and is worth checking out because I can see myself using this more.
My nemesis so far has been any cotton or cotton blend yarn I have tried. For me I’ve had no luck with good drape or structure using cotton yarns. Everything I’ve tried so far has come out looking like a mess where I was 5 years old and tried to knit with chop sticks that were mangled and cracked. If you have any tips for how to create knitted items with cotton that end up looking great, please let me know.
Well, this is all my two cents worth on the topic. I’m sure a few years from now after I’ve had a lot more experience with even more fibers, I’ll look back and laugh at parts of this. And don’t worry, I haven’t given up with my nemesis yet.
If you are curious, some of my favorite yarns to use are Knit Picks’ swish lines (it’s a superwash wool that is machine washable) and Sheep Shop yarns (the company is out of business now so it is very hard to find).