New Yarn (for me, anyway…)
I remember when I first learned to knit, back in 1983, and there were precious few yarns that blended animal and plant fibers. As a matter of fact, knitting with cotton was very difficult, there wasn’t much that I really enjoyed (except for a yarn called ‘softball’ which had a binder thread that created a ‘kink’ and gave it a much nicer tension than the average cotton yarn.)
I remember ‘discovering’ Baruffa Maratona (my first exposure to merino yarn – ah, young love…) and ‘discovering’ the first cotton/wool blends (I thought the wheel had been reinvented and I’d died and gone to heaven! – it BREATHES! It has MEMORY!)
Today blends are old hat, but they’re still a minor miracle to me. Even the ‘pure’ yarns – 100% of something – are more knittable these days than the first rough and unforgiving cottons.
I’m working with Tahki’s Willow right now for a twinset project. I’m so excited about the project (it will be simple, yet – hopefully – so beautifully engineered that beginning knitters feel comfortable attempting it and experienced knitters will be intruiged.)
Willow is a heavy (4.5 sts = 1″) Linen & Cotton blend that does have a tendancy to split – but has a beautiful hand and lovely drape when it’s knit up. Every positive has a negative. The splitting, while annoying, also allows the yarn to flatten out and have a nicer hand when knit up (more woven fabric-like) which leads to a good drape.
It’s a trade off, but I think it’s worthwhile in this case.