The Questions of Yarn Shows

The Questions of Yarn Shows

Published by Michelle on 15th Oct 2016

My first real ‘Buy all the Yarns’ Show was Yarndale in its second year.  It was a revelation and the start of a love affair that has gone on and on.  Beautiful yarns, all together in one place, is, simply put, happiness so I knew that, once The Loveliest Yarn Company started to become real, we just had to go to as many as possible!

Even before opening I started applying for yarn shows and, although applications had closed for many, we were lucky to get into three this year, one mini, one maxi and one brand new! : ) To see yarn shows from the other side has been such a rush – the organisation, the people, the S-hooks! (See previous posts ; )).

The outstanding bit, of course, has been meeting so many knitting & yarn lovers from all over the world! As an online shop it is really special to get out and meet folk from our community.  As part of meeting people, the best bit is helping (hopefully) with questions that people have about knitting and yarn.  If I can help a knitter in even the smallest way, it makes my day. 

These are some of my favourite questions from our first few shows.  The In My Head answers are only for fun x.

What yarn should I buy as a new sock knitter?

In my head: ALL THE YARNS!!

Actual answer: WYS Signature 4 Ply – built to last, loads of colours and lovely to work with, without being as expensive as other options.

(Also In my head: And you’ll be addicted for life, Muhhahahaha (Ok, so I don’t think that, well, not the Muhhahahaha bit anyway! : ))

Start as you mean to go on!

What needles do I need for socks?

In my head: How cack-handed are you?

Actual answer: If you are already a knitter, the ones you have already. If you don’t have any or can’t try any belong to other knitters, how cack-handed are you?

Aside: I had never used the term cack-handed until I moved to the UK.  I looked up the definition while writing this to make sure it wasn’t offensive.  I don’t think it is. I think it's important for needle choice because if you are going to spend a lot of time stabbing yourself with DPNs, it may be best to go straight to magic loop!

In terms of needles I don’t know the best answer.  Of the three different types available – Double Pointed Needles, Long Circulars for Magic Loop & the short sock specific needles, I use them all for different sock types.  I really do believe in try before you buy or just buy and try them all!  Most needles cost only a little more than a latte & a cake (well, that’s what I tell myself anyway!).

While typing this up, we asked about sock needles on Instagram - we got some great answers!

How do I learn how to knit socks?

In my head: Winwick Mum blog!!!!

Actual Answer: Winwick Mum blog and a class at your local LYS if you are a beginner.  If not, just buy Custom Socks by Kate Atherley and it’ll change your sock knitting life! (I don’t stock it yet but you can find copies at lots of great yarn stores.  I got mine from Wild & Woolly in Hackney).

Yep, the majority of questions I get are about socks!  Then wool questions!

Can I use this mohair to knit this DK fairisle sweater?

In my head: No.  Life is too short.  Make yourself something beautiful, floaty and in a really easy stitch!

Actual Answer: No.  Life is too short.  Make yourself something beautiful, floaty and in a really easy stitch!

Aside: If you had seen the yarn the lady showed me after the aforementioned mohair.  It was more mohair but it was out of this world.  I nearly made her an offer for the whole lot!

Can I use this 1970s sock yarn for this pattern?

In my head: Give me that yarn, I will keep it and treasure it because it’s magnificent.

Actual Answer: Absolutely but you may need a little more.

Why is hand-dyed yarn so expensive?

In my head: These people are artists and goddesses, we should throw ourselves at their feet. 

Actual Answer: You know, I’m doing a blog post on just that because having done it myself, it is such a skill and so labour intensive, that it is an astonishingly good price when you think about it.

Aside: I’m glad people ask this because we all have different budgets and preferences and the truth is that all yarns have a place, except acrylic that squeaks when you knit with it!  Just say No to Squeaky Acrylic!

The blog post about my own foray into hand dyeing really is coming but I want to finish ‘Best-pattern-worst-ever-yarn’ cardigan before it's posted so you can see just why I think hand dyers are awesome!

Awesome at twice the price

Life In the Long Grass Silk, the pleasure of touching it alone is worth it!

What does this mean?

In my head: What in the name of …?  Where did you get that pattern?

Actual Answer: It’s not quite how I have seen it written before but they mean repeat the pattern for the whole round.

Aside: I do not say negative things about other people’s patterns because that’s not fair and I am definitely not even a pattern writer, let alone an expert on it.  However, pattern quality does vary quite a lot.  If you are stuck with any pattern we have sold you or just in general, get in touch!

Why do my interchangeable needles not stay on the cable?

In my head: *General warm feeling of knowing the answer really helps people*

Actual Answer: You know that oddly shaped piece of wire that comes with it?  Well, let me show you how that works (I always have one with me as this is something that is asked a lot!)

The magic key

The magic key - pop it in, turn to tighten, knit, turn the other way to loosen, hey presto! : )

Will this yarn deliberately colour pool?

In my head: What is this you speak of?

Actual Answer: What is this you speak of?

Aside: I am still promising I’ll look at this properly because there are some folk doing some really clever, interesting things in it.  I am hoping this is the Christmas when I get those extra two hours a day : )

And my favourite question of all …

Are these machine knitted? (about samples on the stand) 

In my head: I love you, I really love you.

Actual Answer: Oh no, I made those myself.  You are too kind.

This gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.  The secret?  Blocking & beautiful yarns! Nothing to do with me : )

So! If you are at a yarn show and have a question, please pop by.  And if you aren’t at a show, please email or call. You don’t need to buy anything from the shop, I am here to bore any and every one almost 24 hours a day.  I may not have all the answers but we can figure it out together or I’ll send you in the direction of an expert.

Now, that ugly-yarn cardigan isn’t going to finish itself!

Happy knitting lovelies,


You can see what shows we are booked into for next year over on our Ravelry group.  We’ll be updating as we know more.    Our first show of next year will be the Olympia in London in March!  We are planning to be better prepared but no promises! Xx

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