Oh my goodness! Why would I even do a write up about yarn that isn’t mine?!
Well, I’m a small-ish independent dyer, designer, and fiber arts business owner and I certainly am not at the point where I have all my bases covered yet (see what I did there?). That means I have friends and family that may not be able to use my yarn due to wool allergies, cost, etc.
It doesn’t mean that these people cannot get the most out of my patterns or even patterns that I highly recommend for my yarn or a good alternative.
I’ve decided that, since I am a former yarn shop owner, and like to be inclusive of everyone, even people who aren’t using my yarn for whatever reason, I want to pass on my recommendations. I do it for the love of yarn.
What do I mean by a yarn study?
Sometimes you see stitch samplers for crochet, knit, cross-stitch, which are basically studies on different techniques.
In this case, I’m working the same project in different yarns and comparing the qualities of each yarn in the hopes to better understand different fiber content, stitched fabrics, and thus inspiring new designs in various yarns.
For this yarn study I chose the Swagger Shawl by Barb Mastre Stanford because it’s a quick crochet project and with less experience designing for crochet, I felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to play with different yarns for crochet projects. And she so graciously designed it for OMG’s expansion back in 2014.
The yarns I chose are:
- Caron Cotton Cakes
- Lion Brand’s 24/7 Cotton
- Knit Picks’ Shine Worsted
The yarns I chose are good Worsted weight cotton alternatives to OMG Liberty, which is what the Swagger Shawl calls for.
Cotton Yarn: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Cotton yarns that are wallet-friendly are notoriously rough and not always the first choice for a shawl that you would wear next to your skin.
When you are lucky to find a good cotton yarn that is soft AND relatively inexpensive, you notice that it has a wonderful drape, but can lack “memory”, meaning it doesn’t always bounce back from stretching.
It is because of its drape that cotton yarns can be good for shawls and other accessories including home décor items.
So here we go!
OMG Liberty (Pictured at the top)
Fiber content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool
Put up: 220 yards per 100 gram skein
- Pros: OMG Liberty is fluffy, takes up dye very well, and has excellent stitch definition. When crocheted for the Swagger Shawl it maintained its springiness and drape.
- Cons: As I mentioned in my introduction, price for larger projects with OMG Liberty might make this yarn cost prohibitive for some. That’s exactly why I did the yarn study. It’s $22 per skein, so you’re talking 66 bucks to make this shawl, plus the cost of the pattern.
Here are my recommended alternatives if you absolutely have to make this shawl (or any other project that might call for OMG Liberty).
Caron Cotton Cakes
Fiber content: 60% Cotton, 40% Acrylic
Put up: 211 yards per 100 gram ball
Added on at the last minute after discovering this new yarn at my local Michael’s store, I included Caron Cotton Cakes, because I thought that Swagger would look pretty awesome using this new yarn.
- Pros: Pricewise, you’re only talking $4.99 a ball at Michael’s (or less since we’re nearing the end of cotton yarn season in the US). This yarn feels like chenille or microfiber fabric, so it is amazingly soft. I also like cotton/acrylic blends because it adds a little bit of memory to your stitches without losing any of the drape from cotton and this yarn certainly lives up to that. The self-striping aspect of the yarn made the shawl itself look unique compared to the other samples I crocheted.
- Cons: The only issue I saw with this yarn was one ball had a knot in it like it had been cut and tied to complete the ball. This is something that occasionally happens with all yarn companies, so not necessarily a con per se.
Lion Brand’s 24/7 Cotton
Fiber content: 100% Mercerized Cotton
Put up: 186 yards per 100 gram ball
- Pros: Pricewise, you’re only talking $5.49 a ball at JoAnn Frabrics (or less since we’re nearing the end of cotton yarn season in the US). I like mercerized cotton yarns for baby items, so this Lion Brand equivalent was screaming my name. It has a beautiful shine and drape in the finished shawl. I am loving wearing it around too.
- Cons: It’s a little rough to touch, but it is hard wearing. With blocking, the yarn softens up a bit.
Knit Picks’ Shine Worsted
Fiber content: 60% Pima Cotton, 40% Modal
Put up: 75 yards per 50 gram ball
- Pros: At $2.99 a ball, this yarn is at a great price point as well, but you will need 6 balls of this to make the Swagger Shawl. It is soft, shiny, and the drape is magnificent. This is the softest cotton blend I’ve found so far, and I’m happy that I tried it out! The yarn blocks well and even held up to me ironing it.
- Cons: With a 50 gram put up, it means more ends to weave in. Other than that, I experienced one knot, but as I said earlier, I know that’s normal so it’s not a con for me.
Since gift season is quickly approaching, I’m sure you’ll want to use some of these good alternatives on your Swagger Shawl.
Here’s a link to the pattern: Swagger Shawl by Barb Mastre Stanford
Let me know how you like the pattern and feel free to tag OMG Yarn on FB or Instagram when you make yours!
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