Merino & Acrylic- Deramores a Nice Choice

I was surprised at how soft and gentle I found Deramores Vintage Chunky yarn. It is quite lofty and works up very smoothly. I found it really pleasant to use, and would gladly pick it up again. It is not as springy as I would have thought by looking at it (yet there is a little),it is very stable and giving great stitch definition.

Deramores Vintage Chunky yarn. Www.lindadeancrochet.com

Deramores Vintage Chunky yarn

This yarn is half acrylic and half Merino Wool, which might explain the lack of springiness, as Merino may be known for its softness and warm, but it appears that this combination with acrylic reduces the amount of stretch that might otherwise be present. It is probably the Merino that gives this yarn its loft and airiness appearance, yet the acrylic tempers it enough that it could be worked as a home décor item, instead of the garment wear that I usually feel is better fitting for Merino.

It is a 5 ply yarn may have a slight tendency to pill after excessive wear, yet does not split when being worked. The fiber has a moderate length and this gives the yarn a slight halo, this is also caused by the ply. It allows light to be refracted offering a subtle type of sheen, that I cannot quite fond the word for.

This yarn is a medium weight and a generous 100 gram ball has 153 yards, which goes a bit further then you might first think. I would readily use it for hats and scarves, but also for pillows and afghans. As it does not have much weight for a hearty drape, I would not use if for hairpin lace, and it has a bit too much spring for broomstick lace and love knot stitches, but it will work well with most all of traditional crochet methods.

A Really Fun Technique- Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers

Sometimes you have a design where the yarn does all the work, this means that the stitches may be fairly easy, but since the yarn has character the item really looks more difficult than it is. This is true with color pooling projects, like my latest design Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers from Red Heart Yarns.

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers www.lindadeancrochet.com

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers Photo courtesy, Red Heart

Planned Pooling is when you plan your stitches to have the colors of variegated yarns stack up in a desired way. I might be exaggerating slightly about it being completely easy, you do have to pay attention to your tension so that you place the correct color in the correct stitch (Marly Bird has a great video about it here).

So these wristers look great and keep your arms warm, and only take two skeins (one for the argyle, one for the trim). The argyle is worked in what is referred to as a “Moss” or “Linen” stitch, which is simply a single crochet and a chain 1, worked into a chain-1 space. This stitch has a benefit to planned pooling as it is very forgiving with a change in tension. It is necessary to change your tension (either make a stitch tighter or looser) to ensure that the correct color is worked in the correct location.

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers www.lindadeancrochet.com

Planned Pooling Argyle Wristers Photo courtesy Red Heart Yarn

It may take a little practice to get the hang of this technique, but then you might become addicted…I have talked to several people that once they finally discovered how to make the planned pooling work, had to try it with every color variegated yarn they could find, just to see if they could get that yarn to pool too.

The wristers are worked as a rectangle then seemed, then the trim is added. If you need the wristers to fit a wider arm you simply work the rectangle longer, if you want the wristers to fit your arm longer then you work the trim wider. Making it an easy to customize pattern. The added bonus to this pattern, besides it being free, is that it is available in a free e-book with 9 planned pooling patterns….and did you notice that my design is gracing the cover? Yes, I think that is kind of cool.

Vermont- A Nice Yarn

It seems like I am always saying that not all yarn is created equal….there is really so much that subtly goes into making yarn that it creates a large difference in how it works up in your final project. Tahki Yarns Vermont is a yarn that has some great quality that easily adds a little luxury to your project.

It is comprised of 50% Merino Wool and 50% Superfine Alpaca, since both of these fibers are have a small micron count (the diameter measurement of the individual fiber) this is a really soft yarn. The property of both of these fibers is one of working well to retain heat, so this yarn is warm. It also has a nice soft loft to it, allowing it to trap air, resulting in warmth as well. Even listed as a worsted weight, this yarn seems to be on the light side, but does work up well with 5-6mm hooks and needles.

Vermont by Tahki yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Tahki yarns, Vermont

This is an eight ply yarn, meaning it has eight individual strands that are spun together. This creates a nice and round yarn. That might sound odd, but when you ply strands of yarn together the actually shape is not perfectly round. Imagine twisting two ropes together, there are spaces where the ropes touch that prevent it from being a complete circle. So the higher the number of ropes the more of this gap that is filled in, making a more round yarn.

Typically the rounder a yarn the better it can highlight a stitches definition, that is true with Vermont. This yarn has a nice definition, the only distraction from the stitch itself is the marbled color of the yarn. All color options for this yarn look like natural colors, and are worked together in a manner that is reminiscent of tweed, but a bit more consistent. This makes for a very gender neutral color scheme, allowing it to be perfect for an item accepted my many.

Vermont by Tahki Yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Vermont by Tahki yarn

The ball size is not that generous, on 93 yrds/85m per 1.75oz/50g, so one ball could probably complete a hat, but any other project would need to have a few more. Overall though, a very nice yarn, that will create a very treasured item. Due to the size I feel that this is a yarn best suited for accessories, a nice hat, gloves (fingerless or otherwise), or maybe a scarf. I could make a nice sweater, but the yardage needed would require many balls and might be price prohibitive.

A Different Sheep- Blue Faced- and the Yarn

It is becoming a bit more common to find the breed of the sheep listed as the fiber content of yarns, but without some knowledge of the breed it can make it difficult to assess what to expect from the yarn, it can actually make it difficult to assess the yarn itself, as often you may not even realize that it is a wool breed.

Blue Faced Luster or Bluefaced Leicester is an English Sheep breed, and the Leicester (sometimes seen as Luster, especially in the American market) is actually a reference to a geographic location of this long fleece breed. The staple, the actual individual “hair” of the fleece, is long; anywhere from 5-18” (13-46cm), so this means that the yarn can hold together even with less “twist” then some other wool. Essentially what this means is that because the fiber is longer it does not need to be twisted as often to catch hold of other fibers, as a result they may not hold as much air being less warm as some shorter stapled fibers…but not by much as the fiber also has a fine crimp.

Bluefaced Leicester yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester Aran Prints yarn. (color pheasant)

Wool fibers can retain heat due to air pockets. Like insulation the more “pockets” that can trap air the more it can trap heat. So when a staple is twisted with other staples the spaces between cause pockets of air. The crimp of a fiber, is how much “wave” it has. It is a zig zag effect, and the more crimp the more the fiber can create air pockets and retain heat.

The staple also has a fine micron count, this results in a soft yarn. The micron count in the diameter of an individual strand of fiber. The easiest way to think of a comparison in micron count is to think of the hair of a small child and a grown adult. The child’s hair is noticeably softer then the adults, this is because its micron count is smaller, it is thinner, then the adult.

So with Bluefaced Leicester having all these qualities you can expect that the yarn will have a softness and billowiness to it, as I discovered in West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester Aran Prints. This yarn is true to the nature of the breed. It has a soft yet durable ply that results in a well-defined yarn that gives good stitch definition. This particular yarn has a very versatile quality and can easily create an accessory such as a scarf or hat, item for home décor or a light sweater. I think that this can easily be a go to wool yarn, which fits the build for many projects.

There is some subtle qualities of various wools, and the subtle differences in this one is not something that you will regret.

Big Squeeze by Ancient Arts- A Lofty Experience

I have played with a lot of yarn over the years, but I do not think that I have ever found a yarn that is so forgiving, or as “squishy” as Ancient Arts Big Squeeze.

This yarn is 100% Superwash Merino, as a result it will not felt or shrink but has a very soft feel. The way this yarn is spun it has a great loft to it, and this has a couple of benefits. Not only is it forgiving in the stitches, and adjusting well for uneven tension, but it also holds more air making it warmer.

Ancient Arts Yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Ancient Arts Yarn Big Squeeze color Frolic

This bulky weight yarn comes in a skein size of 127 yards (116 meters), which is comparable to other skeins of this weight, and one skein can easily complete a scarf or hat project. With the larger yarn, it garners a need for a larger hook a J/10/6.00mm will give you a pretty dense fabric, and you may prefer working with a hook size of at least K/10 ½ /6.5mm or greater.

The smooth even ply of this yarn also gives great stitch definition so it makes your stitches the star of the show, even though it comes in over 125 brilliant colors.

I feel this yarn will work up nicely in any home décor, simple accessory, or outer wear garment project. Due to the weight and lofty, it is obviously not the choice for small delicate items (in either look or feel). I also would not necessarily recommend it for projects that have a lot of fine detail, as the large bulk and hook make the details almost disappear.

My overall impression of this yarn is that I could just wrap myself in it and it would be a pillow and a blanket, maybe an all in one cocoon, which I could happily go about my day. It is a dream to work with.