just wondering.

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reds, pinks, oranges
Because I know we all like pictures.

Because these are the sorts of things I wonder about, when I have a splitting sinus headache and feel like someone is driving an icepick under my right eye:

What’s a good DK-weight wool yarn? Is there a DK-weight yarn that’s sort of the “Cascade 220” of DK yarns? You know, basic, sturdy, good color range, all that? I ask because I realized the other day that I have almost no DK-weight yarn in my stash (I’ve got lots of worsted, and a fair amount of sport-weight, pretty much), and I couldn’t think of what a good basic DK yarn would be. (Not that I need to add to my stash or anything). I’ve knit with Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and love it, but it’s not really what I’d call sturdy. And I know there are the various Rowan DK-weight yarns, but they’re not exactly in my budget, unless they’re on clearance. Am I missing something obvious?

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35 thoughts on “just wondering.

    • Oooh, I hadn’t heard of that yarn yet. Considering that it’s got over 300 yards per skein, that’s actually not too terrible, price-wise. I just might have to give it a try!

      -whitney

  1. mick

    I’ve got some Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool in my stash and, while I haven’t knitted it yet, I think it’ll end up being a pretty solid yarn.

  2. mick

    Ooooh, also, Jamieson’s has a Double Knitting shetland with an insane color selection. I haven’t used the DK weight, but the aran is one of my favorite yarns ever.

    • Oooh, I just looked that one up and it does have an insane color selection! It’s a bit pricey given the skein size, though. But maybe someday I’ll try it out.

      -whitney

  3. Most of the DK yarn I’ve knit has been cotton, but I’d like to know if there’s an answer to this, too. Being a southern Californian, I’m a big fan of the smaller gauge wool. :)

    • Oh, yeah, I can’t imagine you’d get much use out of something made with worsted-weight wool in southern CA. But now there’s lots of good suggestions in these comments!

      -whitney

  4. I’ll third the Jo Sharp — I’ve made sweaters, hats, and mittens from it, and they’ve held up to wear and haven’t pilled much at all. Also Rowan makes tweedy yarn like nobody else, but I’ve found Grignasco Tango to be a good, cheap substitute for Felted Tweed—some of the colours are better than others, but the ones that are good are great.

  5. I tend to go for the softest yarns I can afford, so they may not be the sturdiest. The two I’ve bought recently are mission falls 132 merino – I think its superwash. The other one is valley yarns northfield (merino/alpaca/silk) which looks like it will give nice stitch definition, if a little pilly (haven’t used it yet). Looking at my stash, I also have some knitpicks merino style, which is pretty basic, soft, but definitely pilly. I like it, though.

    Thanks for asking – I’m curious to see everyone’s suggestions!

    • Thanks for adding your suggestions! I’m definitely a sturdy, basic yarns sort of person. The soft stuff is so tempting when I feel it in the store, but I never end up knitting with it.

      -whitney

  6. I second Bex! I love Cascade 220! I feel the same way about Dale of Norway Heilo, too. That’s sport weight and I’d love to see a DK version.

    • If only Cascade were listening to this little comment thread! Looking through the comments, it looks like Sarah has successfully used Heilo as a DK-ish yarn…I’ve never knit with it, so I have no idea what I’m missing.

      -whitney

  7. It’s not straight wool, obviously, but I’m totally thrilled that Ultra Alpaca comes in a sport/DK weight now. I have to say I think Jo Sharp is the company to go with for plain DK wool. They seem to be one of the few operations not ignoring that weight. I haven’t knit with the O-Wool DK, but it looks awesome (and sturdy). Might be worth paying a bit more if it holds up well, and the color range is nice.

    The other thing to consider is that there’s a lot of crossover between DK and sport weights. Dale sells a bunch of “sport” yarns, but I’m pretty sure I’ve knit Heilo on a US 5 with good results.

    • Oh, I hadn’t thought of ultra Alpaca Light…I actually have a couple of skeins of that in my stash! That’s probably true about the crossover between sport and DK. I know I have some Knitpicks Telemark that’s listed as sport, but knits up more like DK for me.

      -whitney

  8. Maybe we should start a petition to get Cascade to create a DK-weight version of the 220. (This is one of the myriad reasons why I knit more socks than anything else: look, sock yarn. take it, cast on 64 stitches, knit a leg, a heel, a foot, a toe… oh wow! I have a sock and I didn’t have to think about it too much!)

  9. Interestingly, Cascade and its brand family do make a lot of DK-weight yarns, but they’re not the workhorse wool that 220 is (though it must be said that 220 is a “light” worsted, not a full worsted weight).

    A quick browse on Webs has yielded the following:
    – Classic Elite ‘Classic One Fifty’ 100% fine wool (150yd/50g/$5.75)
    – Debbie Bliss ‘Cashmerino DK’ 100% DB’s magic cashmerino formulation (125yd/50g/$8.95)
    – Debbie Bliss ‘Rialto’ 100% merino (115yd/50g/$8.95)
    – Jo Sharp ‘DK Wool’ 100% wool (107yd/50g/$7.99)….though right now on sale for $3.99
    – Reynolds ‘Soft Sea Wool’ 100% wool (162yd/50g/$5.95)*
    – Rowan ‘Scottish Tweed DK’ 100% wool (123yd/50g/$9.95)

    *Although this is a really great workhorse yarn, I would call it more of a sport weight, not DK. It’s spun more like a sock yarn, and the colors are deep and rich solids.

    Considering the kind of choice we have in worsted yarns, it’s pretty amazing how few wool yarns there are in DK-weight. Nearly everything in this weight is a blend or a pure plant fiber. (Webs doesn’t carry Jamieson’s, but they tend to be on the pricey end anyway as they are now done in 25g balls.)

    • I find that some colors of Cascade 220 knit up closer to true worsted for me than others (the “Aporto” color I’m knitting with now knits up more like worsted, while the “Sapphire Heather” I was knitting with before knits up more like a light worsted).

      I did the same search through Webs, and was really surprised to find only a couple of “workhorse” style yarns. It looked like what little wool-based DK weight yarns there were consisted mostly of softer, more “processed” looking yarns. Not that there’s anything wrong with those.

      I’d love to try the Soft Sea Wool out some day, it looks like a nice yarn.

      Thanks for all of the input!

      -whitney

  10. O-Wool Legacy DK, Rowan Pure Wool DK, Greenwood Will Farm 2 Ply DK, and while not 100% Wool, Green Mountain Spinnery Alpaca Elegance is one of my favorite yarns EVER.

    Oh, man, I LOVE a wooly DK…..

    • Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve used their Swish worsted to make squares for a baby blanket before. I don’t tend to knit with superwash yarns for myself, but for babies and other possibly messy creatures, they’re great!

      -whitney

  11. hi
    Delurking to say I love Felted Tweed which is a DK weight. And I think there is a line in the KnitPicks group that is suspiciously similar to Cascade 220 – some of the colors are spot on the same – but in a lighter weight yarn. Can’t remember which one, though.

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