I've been a hooker (!) for two and a half years now, and I still feel like a complete novice a lot of the time especially when it comes to yarn matters. My study in art/textiles mainly focused on fabric and stitch, so when I taught myself to crochet I also had to learn about all things yarn related. I remember standing in a teeny tiny little craft/yarn shop attempting to buy yarn for the first time and being faced with a whole wall of the stuff, it was quite an overwhelming experience. I immediately realised that crochet would be a most excellent way for me to indulge my passion for colour and it was the Colour Thing that I went for first and foremost (of course). I didn't care a jot about fibre content or yarn thickness, I was only interested in the colour playing possibilities.
The very first yarn I bought to make my very first blanket was a mercerised cotton. It was labelled as a DK weight, and the lady in the shop advised me on which size crochet hook I should be using. I bought a dozen different colours and off I went scooting giddily into my first colourful hooky adventure.
When that blanket was finished I immediately began to plan my next one (the Ripple) and it was only then that I started to think about yarns in terms of their fibre content as well as the colours available. I went to a local yarn shop new to me (I had moved house/area by this time) and I fondled. I spent a long touchy-feely time with every single yarn on the shop shelves :: I pulled them all down one by one and I squished them and I rubbed my face against them and I scrutinsied the labels to learn about fibre content. I still had a huge desire for Good Colours, but I also began to think more about the importance of softness, of snuggleability (is that a word?).
All the yarns I've used so far in my Hooky career have been natural yarns and I can honestly say I've loved them all. From cotton to pure wool to cashmere/merino, they've all been beautiful to work with and have made me some gorgeous blankies. However, just recently I've begun to look for alternatives to the luxurious "designer" yarns that I've become accustomed to, wondering if there might be other types of yarn out there that deliver good colour and snuggleability (that has to be a word) without breaking the bank. Blanket-making yarns that feel good and look good but which are also cost effective.
First up for trial was the yarn in the above picture, called Kool Kotton. I wasn't honestly too sure about buying Kotton that begins with a K, but heyho, I overcame that and went ahead and ordered twelve colours to try out. This isn't pure cotton yarn, but a 50/50 mix of cotton/acrylic, and at £1.30 per 50g ball, it's very economical indeed.
Ordering from the internet has it's advantages and disadvantages. Main advantage is that you get the delicious experience of receiving yarn through the post, like a gift sent from a very special friend. Main disadvantages are that you have to hang around by the front door each day waiting for the yarn-gift to arrive, and that the colours are often badly represented on ones computer screen. I was a tad disappointed with the Kool Kotton kolours when they arrived, they weren't nearly as bright as I'd expected them to be. Quite chalky/muted in fact.
But it's surprisingly nice to work with and becomes soft and drapey when worked up. I decided to make a small cot blanket using the Vintage Vertical Stripe pattern (excellent tutorial for this can be found on the Bella Dia blog here). This is a fast stripe to work cos you hook in the gaps between the stitches :: I found it quite therapeutic zooming up and down in stripy rows using all one stitch cos my mind could wander off a little and the hooking didn't suffer too much when my brain was temporarily elsewhere.
So here's the almost-finished result :: not quite a Ta-dah moment as I still need to work a border around the long sides. I'm also planning on backing it with some soft fleecy fabric to make quite a substantial cot coverlet/quilty type thing.
What do you think of the colours?? I worked them completely at random and despite the chalkiness I do quite like them all together. It seems strange not not to see any orange/yellow brightness in there though, I think a teensy bit of orange or yellow always brings life and zing to a colour scheme and I miss it here.
I used the same yarn to make a cushion cover, I do quite like the results but again I miss the sunshine colours. Not had chance to make this up into a cushion yet either, I kind of got sidetracked by the arrival of the caravan.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh now thats SOOOooooo much better isn't it?????? We have Sunshine in the bag again, yaaayyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!
This is my latest yarn experiment, ordered over the internet and very much more successful in terms of colour selection this time...isn't it scrummy? Mmmm mmmm, very delicious indeedy.
top row, left to right ::
63 light yellow
44 light pistachio
Its listed as an aran weight yarn which is normally worked on a 5mm hook, but here I'm using a 4mm to give a slightly firmer finish. It's a lovely soft yarn, quite frustratingly splitty it has to be said, but oh-me-oh-my the colours are so damn gorgeous that I am prepared to overlook the splittiness. Oh the colours!!!!!! They make my heart sing tra-lee-lah :o) !!!!!!!
I'm making a cushion cover to start with, I did these first two squares last night and seriously I was hopping from foot to foot and squealing to myself with delight when I saw how beautifully the colours are working together. Very very very exciting stuff for the likes of me. I've also invented a new way of joining-as-you-go by edging the squares in dc (worked between the stitches), I'm really pleased with it actually, I can't wait to see how it begins to look as I add more squares.
So depending on how the cushion cover turns out, I may well use this yarn to make a blanket with. I'm still contemplating acrylic but my heart is quite captivated by this cotton yarn. I think I might be falling for it in a big way. Ooooh Creative Cotton *Mwah*
Edited to add :: Just a little note about Ravelry...many of you yarn-lovers will already know this, but for those of you who don't, Ravelry is a rather amazing "knit and crochet community". You need to join up to become a member (which is very easy to do) and you can then access all manner of yarn info, patterns, discussions etc and join any number of groups to "chat" about what tickles your fancy. Attic24 has it's own little group going on over at Ravelry, and its FAB!! It's called "we love Lucy" and you are all more than welcome to come and join. There are over 700 members in the group now and we do a lot of chit-chat over there about crochet and the such like, it's a lot of fun. Just thought it was worth a mention xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Me again....(Thurs aft)....the lovely ladies at First4yarns have been inundated with your orders for the Rico cotton and have sold out!!!! I'm told that they've ordered a load more from their suppliers so it should be back in stock next week if you were wanting it, hope this helps xxx