Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been thinking for a while about how to celebrate I Love Yarn Day, since I first read about it on the Craft Yarn Council website. The CYC has several suggestions about what to do to celebrate (and several projects from famous designers, too!).
My post for today is a celebration of my favorite yarns and also about yarncrafting for charity. If you have been crocheting or knitting for any amount of time, you have probably found that we yarncrafters are a generous lot. I even have some Finished Objects to share, in the form of charity crochet projects.
My Favorite Yarns
Cascade Eco Duo
Like most of the yarns on my list, I discovered this super soft yarn in my LYS, Knitty City. As the name implies, Cascade Eco Duo is an eco-friendly yarn made of undyed baby alpaca (70%) and undyed Merino wool (30%). Since it is undyed, it is offered in a relatively limited range of colors (mostly browns, blacks, whites – very gender neutral) and it is marled. The softness is incredible and it is really nice to work with. There is a kind of self-striping effect with most of the colors. The one drawback for me is that it isn’t machine washable, and since I hate handwashing, I only use this yarn for small accessories.
Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Alpaca Love
This is my favorite big box store yarn. Alpaca Love is also a wool (80%) and alpaca (20%) blend. I love the feel of the yarn – a great combination of softness with firmness. It comes in some very fun coordinated colors. This yarn is very affordable (especially when purchased at Michaels using a coupon!). The drawbacks for me are the handwashing issue again, and the limited color range. I usually get around the handwashing issue by felting projects made with this yarn :).
Dream in Color Classy
Dream in Color Classy is another great yarn that I first tried out at Knitty City. This yarn has recently made several appearances on the blog (in my crocodile stitch project and my yarn haul post). Classy is a 100% superwash Merino wool yarn that is spun and hand dyed in the U.S. The colors are variegated and are really fabulous. The only drawback here for me is the cost, which means that I have to save it for slightly more special occasions. At least there are 250 yards in each skein, which makes me feel a little less guilty when splurging!
Patons Classic Wool
Patons Classic Wool is another big box store yarn. It is 100% wool and it is available in a great variety of colors, including both solids and ombres. (A few colors are also available as tweeds.) The solids have 210 yards in each skein and are reasonably priced. It isn’t the softest wool I’ve felt, but it isn’t scratchy, either. It is a great, firm, workhorse yarn which doesn’t split. The only real drawback for me is that it isn’t machine washable.
Spud and Chloe Sweater
Sweater is probably the yarn in this group that I’ve worked with the most. It is a blend of 55% superwash wool and 45% organic cotton. I also found it at Knitty City 🙂 about a year ago. I first picked up a skein of Turtle for a design submission which wasn’t accepted. I loved the yarn so much that I submitted two more designs with it, which were both accepted. The first was my Sunshine Blanket, published in the August, 2011 issue of Inside Crochet. I am also in the middle of a top secret project using these colors for Cooperative Press‘s Fresh Designs Crochet (Kids) book, which should be published in 2012. I honestly can’t think of any drawbacks to this yarn: the colors are great, it is machine washable, and it feels nice :).
You may have noticed that all of these yarns are worsted weight – yes, I am one of those American yarncrafters that prefers a heavier weight yarn! You may have also noticed that all of these yarns are made with natural fibers. I am by no means a “yarn snob” – I work with Red Heart Super Saver, too. But recently, I have really tried to limit my purchasing of acrylic yarn. I just don’t feel comfortable buying a yarn made from crude oil anymore. This is my own personal choice as part of changes I’ve made in my life to be more environmentally conscious. On the other hand, I can’t just let the existing acrylic yarn in my stash go to waste (that’s not too eco-friendly either), and so that is where some of my charity crafting and experiments with freeform crochet come into play.
One great way to use up your stash while finding a home for some of your creations is through charity crafting. I especially like to make items for infants and pets (because they are fast and cute, and because my very own special cat was adopted from the Humane Society).
I was inspired by the phrase “Think globally. Act locally.” and decided to make up a list of local NYC charities that accept handmade donations. I checked in with all of these organizations, and the list is current as of October, 2011.
Snuggles Project sites:
- ASPCA, the first humane organization in the Western hemisphere, has a wishlist of donated items for their Manhattan adoption center which includes handmade bedding or toys. Items can be dropped off during regular adoption hours.
- Bideawee, the oldest no-kill animal humane organization in the U.S., welcomes Snuggles in any size for cats and dogs in its adoption center. These can be delivered in person, or mailed to the attention of Lauren Bonanno at the Manhattan location.
- S.A.V.E., a pet rescue organization in Queens, is looking for small or medium sized bedding. Email the organization at [email protected] to arrange pick up.
Knits for Infants is looking for hats, booties, sweaters, and blankets in soft, machine washable yarns for newborns and infants being treated at the North Central Bronx Hospital. Having worked in the health care industry in the Bronx for years, I can say that families served by this hospital would really benefit from the donations. They also accept yarn donations (no novelty yarns or “scratchy” yarns like Red Heart Super Saver, please).
For those of you who live in the U.S. outside of New York, some great organizations you might consider donating to are one of the organizations listed on the Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation website (Oglala Sioux Tribe families and elders), Knit Your Bit through the National WW II Museum (scarves for veterans) and The Red Scarf Project through Foster Care to Success (scarves for foster care students in college). Internationally, you can find a participating animal shelter/pet rescue organization that accepts handmade donations through the Snuggles Project. Of course, this is just a small sampling of organizations, and there are many more out there!
Today, I’m showing off some of the projects that I’m donating to charity for I Love Yarn Day.
My post yesterday was a reflection on my craft goals for the year, and I’m thinking that when I update them, I will add some charity crafting goals. I used to donate a lot of projects to charity, and I would like to make more crocheted donations in the coming months.
For more finished objects, don’t forget to stop by Tami’s Amis!
A Final Word on Awesome Yarn
A few weeks ago, I won a giveaway from Danielle at A Stash Addicts Ramblings for my choice of sock yarn from her Jane & Michael Etsy shop. This lovely skein arrived yesterday, just in time for I Love Yarn Day!
(On a side note, I remember being totally confused by The Emerald Forest as a kid, since I was, of course, way too young to have any real sense of what the film was about!)