I can't decide on yarn! (design help needed)

I’ve decided to make the plunge, and at least buy yarn and the pattern to make Knit Picks’ “Janet Lace Shawl”, but I can’t decide which yarn! :wall:

I thought that their “Alpaca Cloud” would be nice because of its warmth, but would the “halo” interfere with the stitch definition? Would a 100% merino look better because it’s not fuzzy? I really like the glow that the “Shimmer” yarn has because of the 30% silk, but again, with the 70% alpaca…is it too “fuzzy”?

Then I thought about color–I’d kind of like something that would go with everything. I don’t have a special occasion planned to wear it with a special outfit, so I wouldn’t be matching it with a specific outfit in mind. Something about this shawl tells me that it almost needs to be multicolored (like the hand-dyed “Gossamer” or “Shimmer” yarns), but these look like they might knit up kind of striped from what I’ve seen from some of the other projects they show using these yarns, although maybe that’s not accurate? If it knitted up more striped, I was worried that the striped pattern might take away from the intracacy of the lace pattern, although maybe, it might add interest?

Argh! I can’t decide!!! :hair: I know part of the decision of course is based upon personal preference of color (and my favorite color is [color=blue]blue[/color]–it’s my “neutral” :teehee: ), but what fiber content will do this pattern the most “justice”? And what colorway–a solid, or a variegated (hand-dyed)?

After all this, it will probably be a chart pattern (which I’ve never done before), and I’ll probably wind up putting it away for fear of not being able to do it. :verysad:

Help! Am I as hopeless as I feel???

There are a ton of lace projects out there that i want to tackle, so when my next yarngasm hits, I plan on buying a cone (or three) of Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk. The yardage is amazing and the yarn is really a pleasure to work with (I have some of the hand-dyed that I’m going to use for a project for myself).

Alpaca is really the way to go, I think. Whether it’s Valley Yarns, or Misti Alpaca Lace (also incredibly inexpensive for a ton of yardage) or Knit Picks, you really can’t go wrong.

When I am trying to decide on a yarn, I will sometimes google the name of the pattern and also google it in images.

Looking at what others have done and what yarns they have used can help me decide.

Mama Bear

According to the description, this pattern calls for using the laceweight yarn doubled. I have been knitting lace for many years and personally I think you will be far better off (i.e. less frustrated) using a single strand of a fingering weight yarn instead.

Double stranding lace weight yarn makes fingering weight yarn so why not use fingering weight to begin with? Working with two strands of laceweight can be very frustrating. Every time you do a decrease like k2tog you have 4 loops to worry about instead of just 2. It is easy for one of those loops to slip out and then you wind up with a dropped stitch. Save yourself the aggravation and use fingering weight yarn.

As far solid vs. variegated goes, I would recommend solid yarn in a medium or light shade if this is your first lace project. Dark yarns can be more difficult to see and variegated yarns are even harder. Plus I have seen a lot of people say afterwards that they wished they had used a solid color instead. And I have even seen a few people who have gone to the trouble of dyeing the project a solid color after completion.

I haven’t made this particular pattern but circular shawls in general are not as difficult as they look. The hardest part is getting them started because you have to start them on dpns and usually you only have 2 or 3 stitches on each dpn. The dpns have a tendency to fall out while you are trying to knit with them and you may have to start over more than once because of that. That’s another good reason to use a single strand of fingering rather than double stranded laceweight. If you know how to knit in the round with 2 circs, you can use that method and it is much easier.

In regards to the Knitpicks laceweight yarns, I have been knitting lace for several years and I don’t care for them. Alpaca Cloud is very loosely spun and will stretch terribly. I made a lace cowl out of it and one end is much longer than the other. You can imagine what would happen with something much larger. The colors of Shimmer are too intense for doing lace for most people. I have seen more than one person say they wound up overdyeing the item they made with it a solid color when it was done.

I haven’t used Gossamer but I have used Shadow and for a merino yarn it is quite rough to the touch. Personally, I believe the absolute best laceweight yarn for most projects is Zephyr, a merino wool/silk blend. It’s only a few dollars more than the Knitpicks yarns. It really is the gold standard and comes in over 40 colors:


I’ve made this before with the gossamer… I did it in blue jean and you do hold two together… it doesn’t have a chart its all written out for you… I would buy at least 2 extra skeins though just to be safe… I didn’t have enough for the border… also the pretty border with the open work is crochet and I couldn’t figure out so mine doesn’t have it :verysad: you start in the center and work your way out… its pretty cool to see the process… I think you will really like it… and as long as you have a place to think you will be ok… I found out really fast I could not work on this if the kids were not sleeping…

ETA: if you want I can e-mail you my knitting photos link in yahoo… I have it set on private cause I also have photos of my kids… I don’t have the photo of the shawl on this computer to size it for KH… just lmk…