Welcome to Post No.1 in the No Frills Knitting Yarn Showcase where we're looking at our DK Yarn selection.
If knitting has taught us anything, it’s often that what we imagine in our heads, doesn’t always translate to the needles. And the same can be said for yarns.
This is particularly true when you are shopping for yarns online. As you know, as well as our Real Life Shop, we also sell our yarns online, but shopping through the screen isn’t always easy unless you are already familiar with that particular yarn or fibre. You can’t tell how soft it is, or get the best idea of colour. Plus, sometimes it’s just nice to have a physical ball of yarn to touch and squish and even sniff.
Even then, what might look delicious in ball form, might not translate into the right fabric for the knitting project you have in mind for it. It can be difficult to visualise how the yarn knits up and more importantly, to get a sense of what the knitted fabric might feel like and/or how it might behave.
Swatching is key
Every knitter knows, even if they don't act upon it, that swatching before you start is crucial to the success of your knitting project. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that your gauge is correct, i.e. your finished object (FO) is going to end up the size the designer intended. However, swatching also allows you to see the fabric your choice of yarn will create.
This can be useful for many reasons, particularly when substituting yarn in knitting patterns. Very often knitters, for whatever reason, want to use a different yarn to the one stated in the pattern. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this - you’re a free knitter and you can do what you want, so long as you meet the correct gauge - but every yarn is unique and thus behaves differently. So, even if your gauge is correct, your yarn choice might not necessarily be so.
Every yarn is different
As I said, every yarn behaves differently, so swatches are a great method to see how your knitted fabric looks and acts before you commit to buying a whole bag for the hand-knit jumper you have in mind. Some yarns have a great drape; others are stiffer and denser. Some yarns are hefty, others are lofty. Some yarns will bloom after blocking; some will have excellent stitch definition and make patterns and motifs sing. Some yarns will have a high amount of elasticity and stretch whilst others may have no give at all. It all depends on its fibre content, spin, construction and so on, and so your yarn choice will depend on the requirements of your knitting project.
Furthermore, fabric swatches are also useful to see how yarns work, look and feel together if you are holding multiple strands at once. Take the classic 4-ply/mohair combo; you’ll want to see how they feel together (almost certainly fan-bloody-tastic), but also see how the colours combine.
A No Frills Yarn Showcase
In the Real Life No Frills Knitting shop, we have swatches or samples of pretty much every single 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 @nofrillsknitting, but we also wanted to create a series of blog posts to walk you through our lovely yarn selection and give you as much information about each one as possible; show you what they look like knitted up and tell you what they feel like so you can feel confident in deciding which yarn to order for your next knitting project.
We asked our Instagram followers what they wanted to see first and DK was a firm favourite, so DK is where we are beginning with this blog series.
DK Yarns At No Frills Knitting
DK yarns are the most popular of all the yarn weights and a weight we recommend when first starting to learn how to knit. Often paired with 4mm needles, it’s perfect for all kinds of hand-knit items including jumpers and sweaters, cardigans, hats and a myriad of baby knits.
We have a fantastic DK selection here at No Frills Knitting, so without further ado, let’s get to know them.
The Stylecraft Recreate is a blended yarn made entirely from recycled fibres. It ticks all the boxes in the sense that it’s both budget and environmentally friendly, plus it's machine washable too. Knitted up, it has a lovely cotton-like feel and excellent stitch definition. All in all, it's a fantastic choice for baby garments and blankets that are at high risk of getting grubby.
The Merinoull is a lovely superwash yarn that is perfect for baby knits just like the Beginner’s Jacket by PetiteKnit that we have in the shop. The yarn is beautifully round so the stitch definition is good on this one. Knitted up, it produces a soft fabric that will be kind to you and your little one's skin. An excellent choice for projects with details you really want to pop!
An absolute cracker of a yarn, this. The King Cole Merino Blend is a super soft, machine washable yarn that we hands down recommend for everything baby and kids related. The yarn knits up easily and produces a solidly fantastic fabric that is soft and easy to wear.
If you're feeling a little fancy pants, you can take this baby to the next level by pairing it with a mohair. This affordable merino blend is instantly elevated into something extra special with an extra strand of fluff. We held it with a strand of Tynn Silk Mohair which measured up at a gauge of around 18 stitches per 10cm, meaning this dreamy duo would work with a pattern calling for an aran weight yarn. The resulting fabric feels so luxurious, you wouldn't ever want to take your knit off.
Oh Sunday, what a yarn it is. It’s warm, and soft, has excellent stitch definition and is an absolute pleasure to knit with. The yarn creates a really really good fabric that is the base of many a loved knitting patterns, particularly those by PetiteKnit - think Marseille Sweater and Champagne Cardigan. It ticks all the boxes for a classic cosy sweater - we 10/10 recommend.
Made from 100% British wool, the Saddleworth by Warth Mill is a stunner. It's slightly grittier for those who love a bit of substance to their knits, but not too gritty that you won’t want to wear it. We would recommend this yarn for colourwork patterns, although Meg has made a very lovely Novice Cardigan Mohair Edition by PetiteKnit using it which can often be found in the shop. Softens up lovely after a few washes and wears - Meg’s Novice is now fully t-shirt friendly.
Alpaca and wool combine beautifully in this yarn to create a knitted fabric that is nice and lofty and soft to the touch. The yarn does sit on the fatter end of DK (so even more of a reason to make sure you knit up a swatch to check your gauge!), but remains light and bouncy for all your cosy knitwear. Would make a lovely Sophie Shawl by Petiteknit - 12/10 recommend.
I think it’s safe to say that the Marble DK is a bit of a No Frills Knitting favourite, especially now we have a whole new selection of colours in-store and online. This beauty is made from 80% merino wool and 20% silk which combine to create a wonderfully soft fabric with a luxurious silky sheen. Would recommend it for most DK patterns, although the option is there to hold it double if you’re planning a chunky knit. I opted for the Marble when knitting my Novice Cardigan Mohair Edition and it is tip top *chefs kiss*.
Peer Gynt is a yarn you can rely on. Not only is this yarn a ridiculously affordable option for any avid knitter - you can knit an adult’s jumper for less than £50 - but it’s a top quality and durable yarn that is perfect for cardigans and sweaters. Knitted up, it produces a soft and warm fabric that feels like a real traditional knit. Meg just cast off a Louvre Sweater by PetiteKnit with this baby and my goodness, it's a beauty - an ideal choice for a solid winter sweater.
That's a wrap for our DK Yarns
There we have it. Our line-up of DK yarns. Prefer a lighter, or heavier weight? Don’t fear, we'll be giving you the lowdown of all our yarns across this Yarn Showcase series so keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment where we'll be looking at our Sport and 4-Ply selection.