coming to a realization…

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Yarn for Jenny's wedding shawl

Sit down for a moment (er, you’re probably already doing that, really, since you’re reading a blog and all, but play along with me here!), because I’m about to say something rather shocking: I think the primary reason I’m not knitting more on my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s shawl is because I don’t like the yarn. Don’t get me wrong, this Schaefer Trenna stuff is a beautiful 50/50 silk/merino that shimmers like nobody’s business. The only problem is that it’s laceweight. And I mean true laceweight. And you know what? I don’t think I enjoy knitting with laceweight yarn, at all. There you have it.

See, the thing that I love the most about knitting is the tactile sensation of yarn running through my fingers. As readers of my blog have probably noticed, I like sturdy yarns, yarns with a bit of heft, yarns I can tug on here and there without breaking them, or getting a tangle. This very fine laceweight yarn is none of those things. It’s beautiful because it’s so delicate, and I will freely admit that I love the ethereal quality that lace knit from very fine yarns has, once it’s been knit up and blocked. But it forces me to completely alter they way I knit, and since I like how knitting feels for me already, I don’t really want to alter it. So there.

So, where does that leave me? Well, the Shetland Garden Faroese shawl (the one my future sister-in-law picked out) actually calls for either fingering or laceweight, and the sample shown is in fingering weight (which I know I do enjoy knitting with). I probably should have shot for fingering weight to begin with, since that’s what the sample used and she liked the sample, but when I found this lovely laceweight on sale I thought, “oh, perfect!”. But not for me, and quite possibly not for her, either. I have a feeling that I would actually really enjoy knitting this shawl with a nice fingering weight yarn. So, does anyone have any suggestions for a nice fingering weight yarn? Is the undyed version of Knitpicks Gloss nice to work with? How about Elann’s Baby Cashmere? Is there anything from Henry’s Attic that would fit the bill? (I’ve tried looking at sites that sell it, but have such a hard time telling what weight the yarns actually are, because I have terrible intuitions about how many yards various fiber blends should have per pound at fingering weight).

And relatedly, is there anyone out there who would like my laceweight yarn(s)? I just honestly don’t think I will ever knit with it, at least not any time soon. I’m trying to stick with knitting things I enjoy, and I just don’t enjoy it. Right now I’ve got the skein of undyed Trenna as well as a skein of it dyed in sagey greens (I picked them up together, on sale…I’d thought that I’d try to knit something for my mom after I knit the shawl for my future-sister-in-law, and she likes greens). And then I’ve got a skein of Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in light grey (I think about 10 yards of it have been used), a completely unused skein of Knitpicks Gossamer in Trail, and a completely unused skein of Shadow in Redwood Forest Heather (those last ones came in a sampler pack that I randomly won somehow from Knitpicks, several years ago now…I’ve since used pretty much everything in the pack except the laceweights). I’d be open to exchanging some or all of it for something that would make my fingers happier to knit with, if anyone’s interested in a swap of sorts.

Wow, I feel so much better.

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12 thoughts on “coming to a realization…

  1. OO. Lace weight. I have a pound of cotton I am willing to trade for the green Trenna and the Shadow in Redwood Forest Heather.

    The cotton is about a medium/worsted weight, 1/2 lb in white and 1/2lb this red maroony colour.

  2. Your laceweights sound fabulous. I’ll have to do some stash diving to see if there’s anything swap worthy. As for fingering weight suggestions: Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Alpaca is delish in the skein, but I haven’t knit it yet, so I can’t review it that way. Another one I haven’t knit yet, but have stared at online is Alchemy’s Monarch yarn. It’s 70% cashmere, 30% silk in a fingering weight.

  3. I am so on the same page with you about laceweight. It feels so awkward for me to knit. I didn’t think it could be that much different than fingering but boy was I wrong!

  4. I probably wouldn’t go with elann Baby Cashmere; it’s a really light soft yarn, but a skinny fingering weight and not very durable. I love it for indoor fingerless mitts or delicate things, but it pills and I wonder how it would block. If you were to go with something elann, you might consider Baby Silk.
    However, any sock yarn is fingering weight, probably a little sturdier and happier for your fingers. I have some natural color Cherry Tree Hill Supersock which is extra; I bought it when preparing for Mystery Stole 3, but decided to knit it in black fingering weight with black Supersock. (Check my blog (search Mystery Stole) or me, CathyCate, on Ravelry if you’re on Ravelry, and you can see how the black Supersock looks in a lace shawl.) Anyway, since the off-white Supersock is now extra, I’d be happy to trade it for the undyed Trenna — equivalent yardage, which would be three skeins (420 yds each) Looks like the cost would be quite equivalent too, the Supersock originally was $54 altogether.
    Email me if interested! I have lots of other fingering weights too, but looking at what you started with and what you’re thinking about, I think you’d like the Supersock. I was surprised how much I liked it in lace; it blocked really well. It’s not ethereal in feel so if that’s the look you want, it’s harder to achieve in thicker yarn (but the Baby Silk/Cashmere etc. would be more so); it has great stitch definition. I haven’t tried Gloss yet.

  5. I agree with you about laceweight. I’ve tried a few different yarns, and I have two skeins of Merino Oro in my stash, which I adore…in theory. Every time I pick the stand up, though, it just doesn’t feel like knitting to me.

    I adore the sturdy, “workhorse” yarns (as Eunny Jang calls them) that slide through my fingers predictably. My favorites leave a little trail of lanolin to soften my hands and smell a little “sheepy”. I love fingering- and sport-weight yarns as much as DK and worsted, but I’ve never fallen for laceweight, even though I enjoy knitting lace.

    Thank you, Whit, for being honest. :)

  6. Isn’t it freeing to realize that just because we love yarn and knitting, we don’t have to love EVERYTHING related to yarn and knitting? I agree with you that fingering weight is much nicer to work with than laceweight. The good thing is that there are many who love the laceweight, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding good homes for the stuff in your stash.

  7. whew – good to get that off your chest. I know the Schaeffer Anne is a really thin sock yarn also – hence why I haven’t knit with it- I just don’t like the thinner yarns! Good that you now realize it and can move on and knit!

  8. I don’t have anything to offer up as swap but I wanted to put in that I knit a shawl for my daughter from Lisa Souza’s Sock Merino (the one that is 100% merino) – it has a pretty sheen and comes in big skeins in lots of colors. Something like Mother of Pearl or Jellybeanz would be nice colors for a wedding. Beware of her website, though… http://www.lisaknit.com

  9. You put the words to how I feel about laceweight as well!

    I have knit several things with Knit Picks Gloss, and I love it. I think that would be a good choice for a merino silk blend fingering weight yarn. It’s definitely more substantial than even some of the thinner sock yarns.

  10. I am totally with you on not liking knitting with laceweight. Strangely enough, my first knitting project was with laceweight, Rowan Kidsilk Haze. (I can’t believe my friend who bought me the yarn and needles trusted me with that on my first project.) I guess since I didn’t have any expectation of what knitting should feel like, I wasn’t driven to give up on it. I have another scarf just like that first one on the needles now, for a friend, and I can’t wait to get it off the needles and never knit with laceweight again.

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