Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I use 100% Wool yarns for most all of my diapering woolies. Below are the properties of most of the bases I use that are non-superwash (not machine washable.) Machine washable wool (superwash) can also be used, and I have several nice superwash options in my inventory. However, they will not behave as well for diapering as non-superwash wool does. Superwash wools will be harder to lanolize, not be as absorbent, will need washed more often, and will be more prone to compression wicking. However, the flip side is that they are machine washable.

The ideal yarn I look for is a worsted to aran weight, or even a slightly bulky weight yarn that is 100% wool, non-superwash, and as soft as possible while maintaining durability. Minimally processed with a lot of lanolin still present is an added bonus.

Malabrigo/Purewool Single Ply/Galenas Merino/Single Ply Uruguayan – These are all essentially the same yarn base. They are all a single ply, super soft merino wool yarn from Uruguay. The wool is very, very soft and fine. It knits up to a soft, buttery material with a nice drape. It is wonderful for newborns especially, but can be used for all ages. It is mid-weight for standing up to wetness. It does pill and felt more easily than some other bases, but a sweater shaver helps with the pilling, and its softness makes up for the bit it is lacking in durability.

3ply Purewool/3ply Uruguayan - This yarn base comes from the makers of Purewool. Many Indie Dyers use this as a yarn base, but it can also be purchased already dyed by Purewool. It is the same wool that is used in their single ply yarn, just spun up a bit differently to create a 3 ply yarn. The spinning process makes this yarn a bit more durable than its single ply counterpart; however it is still nearly as soft.

Cestari and Targhee – These are both woolen spun, 2 ply yarns. Cestari comes in 3 types, Fine, superfine and traditional. All 3 are very similar, the only difference being the fine and superfine are softer than the traditional. The fine and superfine are 100% merino, and the traditional is a merino blend. Targhee is its own breed of sheep, but similar in touch to Cestari. All of these create a nice, durable fabric that is virtually pill free, heavy weight for standing up to wetness, and indestructible. Great for crawling and/or outdoor toddler wear. The fabric softens more and more over time and use.

BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) – Most BFL’s that I work with are aran weight, but some are a bit more bulky. This breed of sheep is silky and soft. The yarn takes dye in a lustrous manner, giving the color(s) a beautiful shine. BFL is a great, all ages yarn. It is soft, yet sturdier than a super fine merino like Malabrigo. It does pill, but after it is shaved a few times, the pilling decreases dramatically. It is medium to heavy weight standing up to wetness.

Peace Fleece – This is a Wool/Mohair Blend, 2 ply. Not very soft to start, but does soften up with wear and over time. It is ideal for babies 12-18 months and older. This wool wears like Iron. Heavy weight when standing up to wetness and perfect for crawling and outdoor play. I’ve heard of moms washing Peace Fleece in the washing machine on gentle with no issues of felting. This is the hardest wearing wool I knit with.

Blackberry Ridge Merino – This is a 2 ply merino that is a bit lighter weight than the Cestari/Targhee, but one of my favorites. This wool is very soft, yet wears well and is virtually pill free. It is medium to heavy weight for standing up to wetness.

Wool of the Andes Worsted – This is a multi-ply yarn spun from Peruvian wool (a merino/corriedale blend). It is not one of the softest yarns, but does soften very nicely over time, It does tend to pill quite a bit, but always looks new after a shave. It comes in many solid colors and is a nice, basic yarn. It is light to mid-weight when standing up to wetness.

Wool of the Andes Bulky – Like it’s worsted counterpart, but a bit heavier. This wool is mid to heavy weight when standing up to wetness and comes in several solids and some great variegated colors from Knit Picks. It is a perfect workhorse yarn.

Mountain Meadow Merino - This yarn is a 2 ply merino that is a bit lighter weight than the Cestari/Targhee, but one of my favorites. This wool is very soft, yet wears well and takes color beautifully. It is in between Blackberry Ridge and Cestari for thickness. It does tend to pill a bit more than those 2, since they don’t pill at all. It is medium to heavy weight for standing up to wetness. This is a fabulous yarn base.

Gaia Organic – Comes in both a worsted and bulky version. They are both very soft. Both pill quite a bit, but yet hold up nicely to felting. The worsted version will give a light weight protection to wetness, while the bulky version gives a mid-heavy weight protection to wetness. A fabulous all ages yarn.

Corriedale Aran – See BFL. The weight, spin and feel of Corriedale is very similar to BFL. It is lacking the sheen and not quite as silky, but very similar.

Cormo – See Cestari/Mountain Meadow, CormoVery similar to these 2 yarns. It is in between them in thickness and softer than both.

Lion Brand Wool, Lion Brand Fishermans, Patons Classic Merino – All 3 of these are very similar to Wool of the Andes Worsted. Good workhorse yarns in solids and some variegated colors available in many big box craft stores, so readily available and highly affordable.