You can often find me, knitting in a corner, still in my pajamas, jabbering on about the internet and what it has done for knitting. And here I go again...
For knitters who have been knitting for a long time, you'll know that the variety of yarn choices that we have now is incredible. Not just in the yarn stores, but online. Online sellers sometimes cut out the middle seller, allowing you buy more directly, which means better prices and more options. I used to mailorder sacks of yarn from Briggs & Little, and there was a certain charm to that system. Filling out forms, sending them in the mail, waiting for a couple of weeks for that sack of skeins.
Knit Picks is one of the best examples of the evolution of mail order yarn. Knit Picks sources their own yarn, and ships directly to the customer. You can see browse the selection online at their site, www.knitpicks.com, and you can also order color cards before you commit to full balls.
I've checked out a few, here's an informal list:
Gloss DK 70% Merino wool, 30% Silk.
Love this yarn. Really versatile, wears really well, good drape, soft to the touch. The silk gives it a bit of shimmer. You can see an example of Gloss DK in color Admiral in the Fifth Street Jacket. Gloss also comes in fingering, lace, and heavy worsted. You can also buy the fingering weight undyed.
Comfy 75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic. Cotton is a tricky fiber for knitters. It doesn't have the same bounce as wool, and it can squeak on the needles. Comfy is a great compromise; the acrylic gives it some bounce and makes it easy to care for. Great for people with sensitive skin. The Comfy can get heavy in large garments. Comfy comes in Fingering, Sport, Worsted and Bulky. Check it out in Bulky the Montgomery Mitts and Scarf, and in Worsted in the Toddler Raglan Hoodie.
Simply Cotton 100% Organic Cotton. My favorite thing about the Simply Cotton is the color palette. The colors are all heathers, which is unusual for a cotton yarn. You sometimes have to sacrifice color depth for comfort. And since cotton crops use a lot of chemicals, it's great to have an organic option. Simply Cotton comes in sport and worsted weights. You can see it in Brass Heather Worsted in the Maple Ripple Pullover.
Palette Fingering 100% Peruvian Highland Wool. Great price and yardage. Huge color selection with heather and solids, at least 100 choices. Great for experimenting with color, Fair Isle work, and lace stitches for beginner knitters. It is wooly, for not best for sensitive skin. Also, take care when washing, it will felt. That said, felts beautifully! I used Palette for the Bookmark Trio.
Telemark 100% Peruvian Highland Wool, sport weight. Really affordable wool yarn. Really nice color depth in the heathers, good stitch definition. Makes a nice warm dense fabric. You can see this in the Old Orchard Vest in color Royal Heather.
Andean Silk 55% Super Fine Alpaca, 23% Silk, 22% Merino Wool, Worsted Weight. The silk gives this lovely drape, the merino makes it gentle, and the alpaca gives it a love soft halo. You'll see Andean Silk in color Wallaby in my new seamless cardigan, the Cordova.
Andean Treasure 100% Baby Alpaca, Sport Weight. Lovely soft yarn with great heather colors, reminds me of a kitten.
Shimmer Hand Dyed 70% Baby Alpaca, 30% Silk, Lace weight. Pretty selection of colors, and great yardage.
CotLin DK 70% Tanguis Cotton, 30% Linen. A lovely matte finish and subdued colors. Great for warmer weather, softens with washing. Used in the Lucky Duck Tunic.
CityTweed 55% Merino 25% Superfine Alpaca 20% Donegal Tweed. This comes in Aran and DK. Lovely and soft to work with, and very forgiving, easy to join in new yarn. The "tweed" makes is quite old-fashioned looking, would be great for men's sweaters too.