Sharing a Secret…Lotus Yarn, It is Fantastic!

ScannedImageSo I have been keeping a secret, not really intentionally, but because I have been caught up in the use of a really great yarn.
The yarn fits my climate, it is a cotton rayon blend, so it is great for warm weather, the biggest problem I have with it is figuring out what project to work next with it. I have even worked on projects at knitting and crochet gatherings and had several people go out of their way to ask me what yarn I am using. The yarn you ask, well it is Lotus by Designing Vashti.
I should mention that the yarn was developed and created especially for crocheters by my friends Vashti Braha and Doris Chan, but that has not influenced by words about the yarn. They did not ask me to give a review of the yarn, they do not even know that I am writing this, but I felt that I should let the cat out of the bag about this little secret.


Swatches I worked up in Lotus, as I was playing with circles. The colors, white, teal and grenadine are beautiful!

The yarn is created with a “Z” twist, this means that the yarn is plied in the opposite direction as most yarns that have an “S twist” (basically it is the direction that the threads are spun together). This may not seem like much of a difference, but as a long time crocheter, I can tell you that there have been many yarns that always seem to slip when I use them. I never really thought about it, I just accepted this has the norm. So why did the yarn split? I never really investigated it before, but when you really pay attention to the way the yarn works, I am right handed, and by working yarn overs it actually works the yarn in the opposite it is plied for traditional yarns, removing twist. But Lotus holds up very well, as working a yarn over actually is in the same direction as the twist and firms up the yarn instead of twisting it a part. So that is a bonus, but not my favorite part of the yarn.
This is also the only yarn I can think of that I actually prefer after it is blocked, or washed. It seems to actually get softer and the strand feels like it fluffy up without distorting the stitch, it is quite a perk. It also has a nice gleam to it. It is not so shiny that it feels limited, but it is definitely not dull. It reminds me of an expensive fabric, but a fabric that carries the heavy lifting of everyday wear and is not so delicate that it hides in the closet.
This yarn is only available on-line, but it seems quit to ship and is in my hands impressively fast. There is a vast array of colors that will inspire many ideas. Classic jewel tones and flattering pastels are easily accented with the nice selection of neutrals, including white, grey, pearl, and black. I will admit, the hardest part of ordering for me it choosing which color, so I often left the family make a vote and I have never been disappointed with their choices.
The combination of cotton and rayon, seem to perfectly complement each other and create a fabric that has really nice drape, yet is very breathable in my California weather. It is a fine weight yarn, listed as #2, which is another thing I actually like. Finding a cotton yarn that is smaller than a medium weight or #4, and greater then thread can sometimes be difficult. I find that hand of this yarn very versatile. It has a recommended hook size of F/5-3.75mm or G/7-4.5mm, but I found that I enjoy working it with an H/8-5mm and even at time a J/10-6mm.
If you are feeling like trying something new, check out Lotus yarn, I am sure you will find it as noteworthy as I have.
(If you happen to attending the Knit & Crochet Show, Saturday, July 26, 2014 at Manchester, NH stop by the show floor at 12:30 and try out Lotus at the “Cented Flower” Make & Take demonstration I will be giving).

Differing Yarn Weights…what are they really…

ScannedImageI was asked a question the other day, of something I kind of take for granted; yarn weights. You hear a lot about different yarn weights, and as a crocheter I have always had a grasp of the traditional worsted (medium) weight acrylic yarns, but when you hear phrases like “I need to get some DK”, or “ I really enjoy this fingering”, there is a smile and a nod, but not a full appreciation of the statement.

So I will address my perspective of yarn weights (note; this is not about threads, that is a whole different discussion, but the same conclusion applies). The Craft Yarn Council of America has been attempting to help standardize many things in the yarn industry for consumers, including yarn weights. But that doesn’t mean that all worsted weights are created equal.

You have probably noticed numbers listed on the skeins of many commercial yarns, these are on a gradient scale with 0 being thinnest and 6 (or greater) being thickest.

So for the 0, listing this is categorized as Lace weight yarn, but has gone by other names such as Fingering, and 10 count crochet thread. While 1 is categorized as Super Fine, and has gone by the name of Sock, Fingering, and Baby. Not to be confused with 2, known as Fine, also called Sport or Baby. Confused yet? Basically the name terms have a more loose interpretation of what they really are. The number scale is devised of by using yarns with hooks that given an even drape and measuring the number of double crochet stitches over 4 inches (just like a swatch, that we are suppose to do before every project…and sometimes realize later that this is good advise). The greater the number of stitches, the finer the yarn (You can find the complete table and all the hooks used, and stitch range used for each category here).


Yarn weights, 0 to 5- lace to chunky

This may work great when shopping at larger box stores, but not always helpful when buying yarn at some smaller local yarn shops or at larger events such as Stitches, or other venues that small distributors, yarn dyers, and personal yarn spinners. As they may not use the numbering standards and instead using the other terms; Fingering, Sock, Baby, Sport, DK, Light Worsted, Worsted, Afghan, Chunky, Craft, and Bulky (At these large events I don’t usually see a lot of the heavier weights, often it is hard to find what I would consider a worsted weight yarn), or simply give you a number of stitches per inch on certain size knitting needles (not really helpful to someone that doesn’t knit). Often they are using another unit of measure to determine the classification they are using such as the number of twists per inch in a length of yarn (the higher the number of twists the finer the yarn), or the numbers of yards in a pound (meter in a gram) (the more yards per pound the finer the yarn), so don’t feel intimidated to ask. I know you may feel like you will get slighted as a crocheter by knitters for asking, but if the booth wants to really sell yarn they will treat you like the valued customer you are.

A good mental note to use is to close your eyes and gently rub the strand between your fingers, let your instincts guide you. If you were to pick up a hook just now and crochet what hook would you pick up? The other thing to remember, if you like it, you’ll find a way to make it work. The classification only really matters if you want to substitute exactly, but let’s be honest, how often do we follow the patterns to a tee? (Okay I am not suggesting that you can substitute a lace weight yarn for a chunky and not have some difficulties, but reasonably close and you can make it work). We know how to make it our own, even if we don’t feel confident in explaining this. Everyone crochets differently, no two are the same, and we always make adjustments for this, yarn weight is no different.

If you have not left your comfort zone and have not attempted some finer weight yarns, what are you waiting for? There are many beautiful yarns that are finer weight that you can have fun with, remember ultimately you set the rules.