Welcome to Post No.3 in the No Frills Knitting Yarn Showcase where we're looking at our Aran and Chunky Yarn Selection.
If you’re reading this post after devouring Post No. 1 and Post No. 2 (if My Favourite Things did it with knitting patterns, we can do it with blog posts, okay?), then you will know of the benefits of swatching your yarns before you use them. If you’re brand new to this series of blog posts, you’ll almost certainly want to check them out (actually - check them out even if you already know all there is about swatching!), but they both essentially began with me explaining why knitting up a swatch has multiple benefits beyond checking your gauge.
Yep, multiple benefits. Now there’s even more of a reason to make sure it’s a process you don’t skip!
Not all yarns are created equal
Not only does taking the time to knit up a swatch allow you to check your stitch counts match that of the designers’, it also gives you an opportunity to see what knitted fabric is created with that yarn/stitch/needle size combo. Every yarn is unique and as such behaves differently, so it’s important to check how the characteristics of your yarn choice will affect the resulting fabric before you embark on your knitting project.
There are yarns that have an incredible softness about them which create a lovely and smooth fabric, whereas others are grittier which produces a rougher, more traditional knit fabric. The fibre, spin, weight etc of your yarn can affect the drape, elasticity, strength, stitch definition etc, all of which might need to be taken into consideration when choosing the right yarn for your knitting project.
A No Frills Yarn Showcase
In the Real Life No Frills Knitting shop, we have swatches or samples of almost every yarn we sell in the shop.
Recently we did a yarn showcase on our Instagram stories where we showed off each yarn alongside its swatch counterpart. It went down an absolute storm, so not only did we save these as highlights on our Instagram account, but we also wanted to create a series of blog posts to walk you through our lovely yarn selection and give you an idea of how each of them looks and feels when knitted up.
Aran and Chunky Yarns At No Frills Knitting
Aran weight is a very traditional yarn choice for knitting sweaters. It is a versatile yarn which lends itself to a huge array of projects from jumpers and cardigans to hats and scarves. Chunky yarns work up quickly and are often a first choice for larger knits like blankets and scarves.
We have a fantastic selection of aran and chunky yarns here at No Frills Knitting, so without further ado, let’s get to know them.
A yarn on the cusp of being either a heavyweight DK or a worsted weight yarn, the Knitting For Olive Heavy Merino is a cult classic for sweaters and cardigans alike. Knitted up it is deliciously soft with a beautiful and natural structure. It’s hard wearing making it a perfect choice for your new favourite sweater, just like Sweater No.19 (not 18 like our swatch stories say.... ooops!) by My Favourite Things Knitwear.
The World of Wool Isle is a classic and satisfying aran choice. Cosy yet cool at the same time, this is a yarn that holds colourwork well. It’s also made from 100% British wool which has a softness and warmth when knit up. The resulting fabric has fantastic stitch definition making it an ideal choice for knitting projects with a little detail, just like Sweater No.18 (not 19 - yep, we get them muddled too...!) which we knitted a swatch for.
The Sandnes Garn Kos is a blown yarn which means the fibres are ‘blown’ into a tube, rather than being twisted together. Because of this, they are a lofty, lightweight yarn which knits together to create a fabric which is ultra cosy and holds a lot of warmth. When washed and locked, it blooms into a chunkier, fuller looking fabric that is well suited to a cosy sweater or cardigan. It’s a yarn that lacks elasticity, though, which means it may not hold its shape well over time. As such, it could be worth considering holding it with another fibre to help lift it a little.
Lopi Plotulopi is a traditional Icelandic yarn. It’s an unspun yarn which is why we wouldn’t necessarily recommend to beginner knitters as it does have a tendency to quite literally fall apart in your hands and, in Meg’s words, ‘sheds like a puppy’. Despite this, the finished fabric is strong and robust, whilst also being light and airy. It’s a yarn that vastly improves with washing and wear as demonstrated in our shop sample - Meg’s self drafted jumper. Can be used held single or double depending on your project.
Lettlopi, aka, Alafoss’ little sister. This Icelandic beauty knits up to create an incredibly warm fabric which has a grittiness to it to please even the most traditional of knitters. It is a light and plump yarn which softens well and wears beautifully.
The Icelandic OG. Alafosslopi is a 100% pure Icelandic wool of the highest quality. Chunky and extremely warm to wear, it’s a favourite for traditional Icelandic sweaters (have I said the word Icelandic enough?!). It doesn’t necessarily produce the softest fabric, but it’s grippy and perfect for colourwork. It’s a knit that will wash well and will keep its shape wear after wear. See it in action as Meg’s Aosta Sweater-Steeked-Cardigan by The Knit Purl Girl.
Just like its DK counterpart, the Stylecraft Recreate Chunky is a blended yarn made using 100% recycled wool and synthetic fibres. It’s a very round yarn which results in excellent stitch definition when knitted up making it a solid choice for cables. The finished fabric has a durable, cotton-like feel which, just like it's DK counterpart, would lend itself to projects like baby blankets which stand a (very!) high chance of getting grubby.
Hefty and lofty, the World of Wool Chubbs is a real super soft, chunky number. This super chunky merino yarn knits up quickly and creates a super soft fabric ideal for super chunky cardigans.
That's a wrap for our Aran and Chunky Yarns
There we have it, our line-up of aran and chunky yarns. Do you have a favourite?
This aran and chunky weight guide is the third instalment in our yarn showcase blog series; keep your eyes peeled for the fourth where we'll give you the lowdown on all the sock yarns we have instore.
In the meantime, read up on our other yarn weights here: