What yarn to use?

I found a couple of shawl patterns that I want to execute after awhile. What kind of yarn should I use that would be both soft and warm?

Also, any needle brand preferences? I have been using Boye, but I saw some great-looking bamboo ones at the store that I would like to get.

All ideas and suggestions are welcome…

I like bamboo needles, but the yarn doesn’t slid very quickly. I don’t know about the yarn, though…

Needles - I really like my Boye Needlemaster set and actually bought a second set. I do have some bamboo DPN’s, but they are not my favorite for general knitting.
Yarn - I have an alpaca, cotton, silk blend that I can’t find a label for that is soft. I also find that baby yarn is really soft. The warmest yarn of course is wool, but it is sometimes hard to find truly soft and comfy wool (IMHO). My favorite wool is Cascade 220 or baby alpaca.
Do you have a LYS where you can go touch and feel and pick what you like?

I buy yarn at HobbyLobby usually, or sometimes Walmart when I’m really desperate (don’t much like cheap). What does IMHO mean?

In My Humble Opinion.