Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Yarn Snob Recants

Sometimes a wonderful yarn is right under your nose, it is just mislabeled. In the past, I had tried Lion Brand “Fisherman’s Wool.” And, I did not like it at all. The yarn band recommended big needles, i.e., US # 9. When Lion Fisherman’s Wool was on sale, I would buy some, and start something using the recommended # 9s, and I was never happy with the product. For example, I have one knee sock that I knitted from this yarn in a fancy Scottish pattern on # 6 needles, and despite the fancy pattern, it looks - Well, home made. I could never bring myself to knit its mate.

But the other day I was looking for a portable project, and I hit upon taking little balls of left over yarn from my stash and knitting the same little pattern swatch on US # 1 needles from each of the different yarns. You guessed it! One of the balls of yarn was left over Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool.

I got back, and had a bunch of 3-inch square swatches in my bag. After blocking, the swatch that I liked best was from the Lion Fisherman’s Wool. Knit continental style, at 7.4 spi (over moss stitch), it is a firm, flat fabric with excellent stitch definition. With a knitting stick, I can easily knit it at 8 spi and the effect is even better. Forget the fancy wool I bought in Scotland last year, my next gansey is going to use Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool. I am very excited! Because it is a firm fabric, a gansey knit from this yarn will require real attention to tailoring. It requires knitting a garment that fits and is carefully blocked. And, it is a warm fabric – maybe too warm to wear in modern centrally heated buildings. But, it is a glorious fabric. Unfortunately, it only comes in the natural cream color, but it is less itchy that the wonderfully colored Cottage Craft yarn that I love. So get ready to dye. (I have no connection to either company.)

One funny thing is that Lion sells a wide variety of knitting stuff including needles, but the finest needles that they now sell is #2. Go figure.


tycho said...

I've made a couple of sweaters out of this stuff, and I have a couple of points:

1. you can't get it in the great 8oz skeins that you used to be able to. It was really an exemplary deal thee, and it's a shame that it's virtually unavailable in that form now. This means that it's much more expensive...

2. I've had pilling problems with it...

Aaron said...

Lion's Brand Fisherman's wool is still available in 8 oz skeins at for example:

Any soft yarn will pill. Lion Brand is softer than most of the true Aran yarns and will pill more. Likewise knitting tigher will reduce pilling.