Idiot's Guide Knitting: The Yarn

By Megan Goodacre

Idiot's Guide Knitting: The Yarn

Just a few more days until my book is official!

When you make a knitting pattern design or collection, if you're lucky, you'll be able to get "yarn support" from a yarn supplier where they give you a discount on yarn, or simply give you yarn. (I explain the term, because the first time I heard it from a magazine publisher, I had no idea what it meant but had to pretend that I did because I wanted to look "professional".) One of the first things I had to consider when planning Idiot's Guide Knitting was the yarn. But it wasn't a hard decision. The yarn featured in the book needed to be user friendly, affordable, widely available, and inspiring. Knit Picks was an obvious choice. This North American online yarn retailer and manufacturer has developed a broad product line, with everything from knitting needles, to workhorse yarns, to luxury cashmere yarn. I've worked with them many times, both for my personal projects and for the pattern collection, Study Hall Knits

Knit Picks agreed immediately to provide the yarn for Idiot's Guide Knitting, which was a huge asset for me. Not only did it cut down on my design costs, but also gave the photography a nice cohesiveness throughout the book. But I wasn't surprised by their generosity. Knit Picks works closely and cooperatively with independent designers, selling their patterns, publishing collections, providing yarn, AND giving them 100% of independent design pattern sales.

So today let's have a closer look at the stars of the show:

Galileo YarnGalileo

A sport weight blend, 50% Merino, 50% Bamboo, 131 yards / 50 grams per ball. Sport weights are a nice versatile thickness. Easy to hold, but they make a nice wearable fabric. Galileo has a lovely sheen and drape and is easy to work with. You'll see it in the Branching Eyelet Scarf, Buttoned Phone Case, Buttoned Wristlets and the Fair Isle Fingerless Mitts.

Reverie Yarn


A fun worsted weight blend, 80% Alpaca, 20% Acrylic, 137 yards / 50 grams per ball. Reverie has the look of mohair, but is quite a lot easier to work with. And because of its fluffy character, you use large needles with this one, and the knitting flies off the needles. You can see Reverie in the Infinity Lace Scarf.

Swish Yarn

Swish Worsted (solids, heathers, tonals)

A worsted 100% Superwash Merino, 110 yards / 50 grams per ball or 220 yards / 100 grams per skein. A wonderful workhorse yarn with a fantastic colour palette. Swish comes in solids, heathers, and tonals, which all work nicely together. (My favourites are the neutral Pearlescent Tonal and Squirrel Heather. These 2 colours are lovely blank canvases for your stitches.) Superwash resists felting and can be washed in the machine, and merino has a soft hand and great bounce. Swish stars in the Gansey Scarf, Striped Baby Hat, Striped Baby Jacket, Cabled Hat, and Cabled Headband.

Stroll Yarn

Stroll (solids, heathers, tonals, handpaints)

A fingering sock yarn 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon, 462 yards / 100 grams per skein. Another workhorse yarn like Swish, Stroll comes in solids, heathers, tonals and hand painted. A single skein is just the right amount for a shawl. And it's great for trying out lace stitches, like in the Lace Bookmarks.

comfy Yarn

Comfy Worsted

This worsted weight cotton blend, 75% Cotton, 25% Acrylic, 109 yards / 50 grams per ball, is another workhorse yarn from Knit Picks, and a nice option for warm weather knitting or for people who find wool itchy. Easy to work with, washable, and lovely stitch definition. You can see Comfy in the Simple Raglan Pullover.

comfy Yarn

Andean Treasure

One of Knit Picks luxury fiber yarns, with 100% Baby Alpaca, 110 yards / 50 grams, per ball, Andean Treasure makes beautiful pieces for cool weather. Baby alpaca is very fine, giving your knitting a beautiful softness and halo. This sport weight yarn was used for the Eyelet Triangular Shawl.

CotLin Yarn


A gorgeous DK yarn, 70% Cotton, 30% Linen, 123 yards / 50 grams per ball, this is lovely for summer knitting. Linen has a wonderful matte quality and softens with washing for something you want to wear everyday. You can see CotLin in the Garter Stitch Washcloths and the Spa Towel.

Biggo Yarn


A really fun addition to the Knit Picks family, this bulky 50% Merino, 50% Nylon, 110 yards / 100 grams per skein, comes in fantastic colours. The lovely twist of the yarn give your knitting a great texture. You can see Biggo in the Chunky Textured Cowl.

Cadena Yarn


Another bulky yarn,70% Wool, 30% Alpaca, 110 yards / 100 grams per skein, this is a fantastic cool weather yarn. It's also perfect for felting project. Knit up on really big needles, felt it, and you will have a lovely thick and dense fabric. Cadena stars in the Friendly Critters, Felted Bowls and the Intarsia Messenger Bag.

City Tweed Yarn

City Tweed

One of my favourites, this DK yarn, 55% Merino wool, 25% Superfine alpaca, 20% Donegal tweed, 123 yards / 50 grams per ball is a versatile, affordable, luxury yarn. I've used it in a few patterns, but in the book you can see it in the Racoon. It's what gives him that woodsy look!