I would love to try Brava, but haven't yet. I have knit with RH Soft, and I love the way it knits up. It feels good and looks good, especially for a relatively inexpensive yarn. Michael's often has it on sale (like now - $2.50 a skein). At Michael's, the Loops & Threads acrylic isn't too bad, either. I used to use Caron SS a lot, but I'm not as sold as I used to be. I find the result a bit limp. But it is soft. I also agree about Vanna - I've knit a number of items with it, including blankets, and I like it.
I do a lot of charity knitting, and always wash items before I donate them because I have cats. I keep the cats away when I am knitting, but the cat hair travels... Anyway, even when I knit with regular Red Heart, it softens up considerably when it is washed.
If you want to use bulky yarn, the Deborah Norville chunky is really nice!! I get it at Joann Fabrics.