Noro Silk Garden Solo is available at Webs and Jimmy Beans Wool, and at your local purveyor of Noro.

A Projeck: In Search of the Perfect Handknit

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Dear Kay,
I keep thinking about how awesomely awesome it was to hear everybody’s ideas about how to design the Fern sweater. How helpful. How incredible the brain trust is, here on the Internet. How everybody else seems to know so much more than I do. How all that awesome awesomeness could be channeled into a project that would reflect the collective wisdom of all the knitters of the universe.
Or something.
Here’s what I propose: We do a Future Search. I mean, now that Fern is done, and the younger Fella has started kindergarten, there’s nobody who needs a Future Search more than me.
Our goal: to design the Perfect Handknit.
Future Search is a process designed to build consensus–all sorts of organizations use Future Search in corporate retreats and warmfuzzy weekend workshops. You know, you vote and vote and vote on batches of issues and ideas, narrowing the options until everybody in the whole group agrees: “We should build a new building.” That’s how the Future Searches I’ve done have ended up. Always with the new building, and a big group hug, and a skit in there someplace.
Now, this isn’t going to work exactly the way Future Search works, because we don’t have enough flip charts and styrofoam coffee cups for everybody. But whatever. If somebody wants to put on a skit, go for it.
Over the next week or two or three, we will work our way through all the elements required to make a handknit. The issues will large and small, and it’ll take a while to boil it all down to The Pattern. When the Blogpolls are tallied, and the Tribe has spoken, we’ll have a pattern that distills the collective wisdom of everybody who votes. With the brainpower of the online knitters of the world, and with the ferocious technology that is the Blogpoll, we may very well end up with . . .
The Perfect Handknit.
By the way. I pledge to manufacture this Perfect Handknit, whatever it turns out to be.
No Time Like the Present: Let’s Get Started
We begin with yarn.
Some might argue that necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s a need–socks, a hat, some kind of covering–that drives the making of a handknit. Pah! I say. Nobody’s knitting for need anymore; it’s too pricey! Yarn’s fun, so yarn’s where we start.

Question Numero Uno
Please leave a comment in which you nominate your favorite yarn–and I mean DESERT ISLAND yarn, the yarn you’d take with you on a four-month boat trip, the yarn that you most adore. Be specific. Feel free to explain your nomination, to show us a link, to tape a sample to your comment.

We’ll collate the nominations, then let everybody vote on the perfect yarn. We may need a run-off if it’s tight.
I don’t know where this will lead, and who knows if it’ll actually work. But by jinky we’ll end up with something. The perfect knitted vacuum cleaner cover? You never know what’s going to happen when a group gets started.
Love,
Ann
PS I hasten to add that everybody who participates will be considered a co-designer and shall reap the, er, glory when all is said and done.

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124 Comments

124 Comments

  1. Oh YAY! I am first! This is my reward for sending my editor a review a full two weeks before the deadline.
    The yarn I love the best has to be 100% wool, preferably Merino, with lots and lots of color choices.
    It works well as is and makes a dandy Aran when double-stranded…
    Koigu Merino.
    It is perfection for so many projects.
    It was a tough call between Koigu and Rowan Tweed, DK weight, but since I had to come to consensus with myself…
    That’s my nomination.
    Is that the way this deal works? Does it mean I can’t be the boss? :)
    Robin

  2. Right now, I’d have to vote for Malabrigo. Hands down, the softest merino I’ve ever touched. It is a heavy worsted weight, comes in a ton of almost solids and colorways… However, a worsted Koigu PPM would be great too, as it comes in almost solids and has that wonderful quality of each stitch being a different color instead of the stripeyness of other yarns…

  3. Aw Robin, I’m weepin’ over here at the perfection of your nomination.
    And, um, if nobody else leaves a comment, I’m thinking you’re TOTALLY the boss. Committee of One . . .

  4. Well Robin took the words right out of my mouth. Koigu. Rowan Tweed. Koigu. Rowan. Koigu. Rowan. Its almost too much.
    I would say Koigu.
    I have many reasons. Its a smaller yarn that when on the said Desert Island it will take you some time to knit up which will help pass the days of loneliness on the island. Though, with Koigu, who cares if others are there. Also. Like Robin said, it can be doubled or tripled even if you happen to live on an island where its cooler in the evening.
    Koigu is also great for socks. So, you could make yourself a matching koigu outfit.
    So yes. Koigu.

  5. I can’t believe it…. As I read your post, I’m sitting here thinking perfect yarn, desert island yarn = koigu. Then, I click on the comments and that’s what everyone else has voted for, too!

  6. Although my love for Koigu is undying, I would choose Rowan Calmer. You can wear it when it’s cold with other laters, you can wear it all alone when it’s hot. It makes my hands feel softer while I knit it. No one is allergic to Calmer. It’s a little stretchy so it doesn’t hurt your hands like 100% cotton yarn. The stretch also makes it good for comfortable garments. I love the soft colors it comes in. Calmer makes me happy.

  7. I like the kettle-dyed just barely spun wool from handpaintedyarn.com. It’s very soft, comes in gorgeous colors with exotic sounding names (like Barbie pink!), and felts into a dense but soft fabric that even passes the “it’s not itchy” test from my kids (to include the ones who are still more concerned with comfort over fashion ‘cuz my older daughters will wear just about anything in the name of fashion). The only downside is that there’s no white/cream/natural, but hey- color’s good. Oh, and it’s not very expensive so you get a lot of bang for the buck!

  8. Well, perhaps I am not as experianced in Nice Yarn as all of ya’ll, but Silk Garden is my favorite yarn. So pretty, so easy to work with, so shiny and colorful and all around awesome. Just looking at the skiens makes me happy.

  9. Koigu is absolutely gorgeous, but would it work for a full outfit? When I made a long Koigu scarf, you could definitely tell where I’d added the second skein. That may be the downfall of handpaints.
    Despite the color pooling issue, I’d have to say Koigu. I’m happy to gaze at all their gorgeous colors all day.

  10. got to just love the koigu — i swear it is laced with crack!

  11. I love Koigu, and it’s high on my list of Things to Look for on eBay, but having to carry it double to get worsted weight is a bother. The machine washability is a good thing, though (says the mother of three).
    I’m torn between Lorna’s Laces and Art Yarns Supermerino. Lorna’s comes in a much wider range of colors, but Supermerino is so soft … I guess I’d have to vote for Lorna’s because it comes in solids AND more than one weight, but it’s a close call.

  12. I discovered Mountain Colors ‘Bearfoot’ yarn at a local store this year, and it’s been a torrid affair between that yarn and I ever since – gorgeous color combinations, soft to the touch and feel, and machine washable. It’s sock weight yarn, 60% Superwash Wool, 25% Mohair, 15% Nylon, but I’ve used it in multiple projects, and haven’t been disappointed with it once. I suspect you could even knit a fantastic fishing net out of it, or a hammock too – two essential items one must have on a desert isle!
    Here’s the review page for it on wiseneedle – http://www.wiseneedle.com/yarndetail.asp?id=4041

  13. I’m a bit split. It has to be a pure natural fibre, preferably wool. So a good Shetland 2ply, in a sombre but not morbid colour, heathered with everything they swept up from the spinning machine for those tweedy bits. On the other hand I could go fully colour and take the most colourful Noro Kureyon I can find.

  14. I vote for Lorna’s Laces. Soft, versatile, endless colors (both solid and multi).

  15. Hmm, where do you come up with these schemes… I want a solid colour, I think. And bigger. So I’m going to suggest something like Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. Nice and soft and good colours and knits up fast. We could do the Aran weight if you like, but I’m in the mood for big, right now.

  16. My favorite yarn, and the yarn I most often knit with, is Filatura di Crosa Zara. 100% merino. Knits up perfect on US6 needles. Great colors, so fun for intarsia. Great stitch definition, so it’s great for cables. It’s super soft, and it’s superwash. It’s in solid colors, so it really shows off the knitter’s handiwork, unlike so many variegated yarns which do alll the work for you. Who could ask for anything more?

  17. Lorna’s Laces for me also. I love the colors, feel and sheen of the Lion And Lamb.

  18. My favourites are going to be Cascade 220.. comes in lots of different colours, is affordable, great meterage, not too thin and not too thick and readily available in the US. It’s soft enough to wear and feltable too.
    Another favourite is Debbie Bliss Baby cashmerino. Very soft, machine washable, not too expensive and good meterage. It’s between a sport and 4ply weight so it knits reasonably quickly too. The yarn is springy so hides a multitude of tension problems.
    Lorna’s laces… can there be a more perfect yarn? available in different weights, variegated, non-variegated… in colours to dye for… I love the nearly solids.
    and finally the Jaggerspun zephyr. Delightfully soft, affordable, excellent meterage .. a mix of silk and merino so it has the most wonderful sheen. 2 strand is a 4 ply 3 strand is sport.. 4 strand is dk .. the possibilities are endless as is the colour range, You can buy it on the cone .. less joins too. (I think I have to go get me some NOW)
    Don’t get me wrong I like variegated yarns too but for me the perfect yarn is one of versatility and variegated yarns are less versatile.

  19. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport — glorious colors both varigated and nearly solid. Soft, delicious…works on smallish needles (more bang for the buck!) but not too small. Can become *anything* from socks to hats to sweaters to shawls to bloomers too I suppose, hehe. Has no gender either and perfect for any climate, layered or alone, in lace, cables or double knitting!
    For cotton, Calmer hands down.
    Third runner up, Mountain Colors Weavers Wool for the same reasons as LL’s.
    This was fun! Thanks Ann
    PS – Sorry Kay, Linen will be on my list just above bulky weight pure cotton or (eek!) a big hunk o nice, squeeky Red Heart! that linen has a mind of it’s own!!

  20. Baby Cashmerino by Debbie Bliss, it is sooo yummy and soft, comes in great colours. Has a lot of yardage, so on a desert island it would last a while. Still once you do get going it knits up quickly. Then there is Cashmerino Aran and Chunky!
    So much yarn, so many projects…

  21. Having not tried koigu as yet… Colinetteone zero or skye get my vote – soft & yummy, and such a range of handpaint shades that it’s always soooo hard to choose (Lagoon is current favourite though!)
    http://www.colinette.com/sess/utn;jsessionid=15431d4d6b68e80/shopdata/0020_yarns/0007_wools/0020_one+zero/full_range.shopscript
    yum yum yum yum yum!
    Jo
    xxx

  22. I’m torn. I *love* Kilcarra tweedy yarns(http://www.dragonyarns.co.uk/index.html) but I’m currently smitten with Jaggerspun zephyr especially now P has mentioned using it doubled. So Zephyr it is.

  23. my vote;
    if it is wool based Cashmerino Aran (or the RYC CashSoft they are practically the same)
    if it is cotton based Calmer
    if it is “alternative” based I say Inca Alpaca.

  24. Great idea, Ann. I’m with the Koigu crowd, I never get tired of the wealth of colours. Second choice would be Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb, just for the feel of it. For practicality I would vote for Calmer too – somebody made a very good point about it being warm when it is cool, and cool when the weather is warm….
    Do the co-designers get a copy of the pattern…..

  25. I’m going to go a slightly different route and say Tahki Cotton Classic. Veg*n and veggie knitters can use it, and it’s a really high class cotton so even the snobbiest of yarn snobs can hunker down and show it some love. Plus, colors. Amazing colors. Tons.

  26. Debbie Bliss casmerino aran and Jaeger Extra Fine Merino (DK or aran) are my 2 favourites. The Debbie Bliss feels fantastic but has fewer colours so in the end I’d probably go for the Jaeger.
    They seem a bit boring compared to all the variagated stuff, and I do love Koigu too, but my total complete and utter favourite knitwear involves texture so the solid colours and springy merino is just perfect!

  27. I don’t think this vote will count, as I can see I’m outnumbered by the Koigu people, but I’m taking plenty of Berroco Chinchilla to my desert island. It has its drawbacks, mostly that it’s not washable, but the pure softness and sheen and lovely knitability more than make up for the negative. Great idea Ann; I can’t wait to see what we end up with!

  28. I’m feeling very deprived right now not having had any Koigu experience. The best yarn you can get in Australia in my opinion is Patons Bluebell pure wool crepe. I particularly like the 5 ply weight. It’s just beautiful to knit, it feels smooth and delicious and it’s very hardwearing. My mama knit me a lace cardigan in it a couple of years ago which I’ve been wearing pretty much every other day since and it’s only now beginning to show signs of wear. The colour range isn’t that great but of course the perfect garment would be black anyway. But am I jumping the gun on the colour?

  29. Koigu — handpaints or solids. Give me a truckload. If it has to be something else, I’ll go along with any of the above soft-as-possible suggestions. But I’d rather use Koigu.

  30. Rowan Felted Tweed. I’m knitting with it right now, and I love it’s tweedy goodness.

  31. There I was thinking I’d be original by nominating Calmer! As others have said, it’s cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool. It’s wonderful to knit with and that little bit of stretch gives the garment a good fit. It’s also an excellent choice for those of us with sensitive skin.
    I love koigu too, but I’m not sure about it for a whole garment.

  32. Rowan Wool Cotton. And it has to be Rowan not that Debbie Bliss caca yarn. ;-)
    Soft, versatile, gorgeous colors. Perfect for fair isle. Shows texture really well. Year round wear. You can knit and reknit and reknit and the yarn holds up (trust me on this!)
    I’ve got a couple examples to show – here’s my taped sample: http://www.pbase.com/caramou/knitting/mgsweater/ and http://www.januaryone.com/archives/short_rows.
    And best of all, I bet you Kay could wear it. RWC is DEFINITELY my desert Island yarn.

  33. Koigu for me, too. Solids, variegateds, I never get tired of knitting with it or wearing it!

  34. Oh, I made the horrible mistake of reading the first 33 comments instead of just answering the “what’s your favorite yarn” question for myself!
    But I’m going to go with my original suggestion: Auracania Nature Wool. I love the subtle variations (Lorna’s Laces variations are often so JARRING it’s hard to imagine an actual garment made from them), I love that it’s wool (breathes in the summer, warm in the winter), I love that it’s not chunky (I’m not a fan of chunky yarns or the needles to work them), I love that you can do fun textures and cables with it, but that you don’t actually have to do anything that exciting for it still to be fun to knit, and fun to look at when you’re done knitting.
    But some people are sensitive to wool, so perhaps the Perfect Handknit must be cotton? If so I think I love all cottons equally, but shiny ones maybe a little bit more equally than others.
    I am not as huge a fan of Koigu as most other knitters in the known universe. I hope that doesn’t mean I’m out of the club!
    Ann, really, this is just the *coolest* idea! I think we should all agree to make whatever it is we agree is the World’s Greatest Handknit. Wouldn’t that be a fun photocollage?
    Yay, Ann!

  35. It would have to be Noro Silk Garden in color 87. I made a Babies and Bears for Grownups in this and nearly had it ripped off my back when I walked into the LYS. Everyone had to try it on and then had to buy the yarn and pattern for themselves. The colors go with everything and the yarn is like a big hug. I lurvvvvvvvvvvve this yarn.

  36. What a fun idea, Ann! I didn’t read everyone’s comments, but my first thought for a garment has to be Rowan Wool Cotton, or maybe the Scottish Tweed Aran weight.

  37. Count me in for Cascade 220. It’s soft, versatile, relatively affordable and comes in great colors.

  38. I recently knit something in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and it was a joy to knit with. Even stitches, deep rich color that is true throughout. Soft and smooth. Easy to tink (come on now, you know this is important, anyone who has met KSH knows tinkability is major.) I loved working with it.

  39. I love this idea! My favorite yarn, which I obsessively rave about to anyone who will listen, is Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece. The 80% pima cotton gives great stitch definition, while the 20% merino adds the perfect soft elasticity. It’s the always-versatile worsted weight gauge, comes in dozens of colors, and has great yardage (200+ yards per skein) for the price. Plus it can be washed in the machine (gently). What more could you ask for from a yarn?

  40. I would have to vote for Inca alpaca, or maybe Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool, or I could always go for Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb. Something gorgeously soft and DK or Worsted weight.
    Jayme

  41. Yeah, Koigu’s nice, but too fine to knit a whole garment, and too colorful for one too.
    I vote for Calmer, for its softness and stretchiness, and its versatility in terms of temperature. I enjoy wearing it as much as knitting with it and vice versa.
    Karabella Aurora 8 is a close second, a really soft merino with fantastic stitch definition and lots of good colors.

  42. I love Calmer, its great to knit with, especially compared to other cottons and it isn’t too warm or heavy.

  43. I am with all the other Calmer voters.

  44. Koigu gets my vote too. No question.

  45. A short moment of silence for Rowan Magpie. Yes this would be my pick but, oh right, they discontinued it. Sigh.
    I do love Inca Alpaca. I also love Cascade 220. And Rowan Tweed. I think if I had to take one to a desert island it would be the Inca Alpaca or no Cascade 220. Oh! The dilemma! Eenie Meenie… Fine- Cascade 220 it is. Only because of the great yardage and great colors. I still love you Inca Alpaca!

  46. I vote for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. This yarn is sooo satisfying! Soft, sproingy, delicious colors, and a perfect weight. Not jumbo stitches, but not teeny tiny when-oh-when-will-I-ever-finish-this-blasted-thing stitches either. And MACHINE WASHABLE. I do heart the koigu, but really only the KPM. I don’t dig the variegated yarns all that much.

  47. It’s not that I want to stand out from the crowd, this being my first comment after months and months of reading, but…
    Licorne from Phildar.
    100% cotton, even I can wear it directly on my skin, wonderful colours.
    It’s a pain to knit with, though, like all cotton yarns. I’ll bring my crochet hook to that island too.

  48. Artyarns Supermerino. The colors are fantastic, it’s machine washable and I just LOVE the way it feels in my hands. I can’t get enough of it.

  49. i have to vote for koigu!

  50. Ah! I thought I’d already posted, but I think I closed the window instead of sending it.
    My vote is for Rowan Calmer. Oohhh Rowan calmer. It is so soft and cozy. Also, the gauge is neither too fine nor too chunky, and it’s easy on the hands. What a great yarn.

  51. I’ve fallen in love with RYC Cashsoft DK. So soft, lovely sheen, snuggly. Perfection.

  52. I wanted to say “Denim” but was afraid folks would think I was just kissing up to Kay. I feel that cotton is best b/c of the allergy factor, so I’ll go in with the Calmer crowd on this one. For the record, a large part of me opposes the concept designing anything by committee, However, notice that the smaller part of me, driven by that innate human need to add my two-cents worth, nonetheless wins out . . .

  53. I’m sure I’m not worthy of the, uh, glory, whatever that may end up being.
    I’m a knitter on a budget that doesn’t include the purchase of the fancy yarns you all use, so my vote for yarn would be the 100% lambswool I recycled from a sweater I bought at the Goodwill for 99 cents. It’s really lovely stuff, soft and not scratchy and winter white. I may dye it, but haven’t decided yet.
    I don’t usually go in for group projects, but this is just crackpot–I mean, unique enough–that I’m in. Strapped in, ready to roll. Yee haw.

  54. My desert island yarn would be denim. Not too hot, machine washable, easy to knit with, a nice worsted weight, and less expensive than many of the designer yarns.

  55. Mountain Colors Weaver’s Wool. Richest, deepest, funnest colors ever. And you get good yardage for your coinage.

  56. Wow, there’s lots of Koigu fans out there! And I love it, too. But, if we’re talking versatile, affordable and durable I’d have to go with Cascade 220. It comes in loads of colors and it’s soft and when I need to knit with worsted weight yarn I always go for the cascade.

  57. You really have a generous spirit Ann, I could never do a sweater by consensus.
    But, since you asked: I say Cascade 220. Its soft, its 100% wool, its a good weight, great yardage & colors, its durable. What if it rains on the deserted island? That cotton yarn’ll never dry in the tropics. I can barely restrain myself from variegated yarn but I say a solid color for sweaters. Save the Koigu for gorgeous accessories.

  58. Filatura di Crosa Zara DK. It’s 100% merino, it’s spun so that the stitch definition is just awesome, and it doesn’t pill. I absolutely love it.

  59. Late responder here. That’s what I get for not turning on the computer on Labor Day. I throw my lot in with the Rowan Wool Cotton crowd: soft, warm but not too warm, good stitch definition, a pleasure to knit with. I love Koigu, too, but I have a hard time envisioning a whole garment made of it. No, definitely RWC.
    Great idea, Ann! Are we going to have a nationwide knitalong once this creation is hatched?
    Kathy

  60. My desert island yarn is one I happened onto almost by mistake. Noro Cash Iroha, all the way. I’m on my third sweater with it, and I love the pallette, the feel of the yarn both unwound and knitted, its’ slubby texture and the amazing sheen of the silk. Surprisingly warm and soft enough for babies and sensitive folk.
    Ah, Cash Iroha, I nominate thee.

  61. Alpaca, anything that’s been raised over 13,000 feet.

  62. I have recently begun contemplating wallpapering a room with Koigu, so I’d have to say….Koigu. Although if I was really surrounded by walls of Koigu, I’d probably die. For a solid garment, I’d say: RYC Cash Cotton DK, Rowan All Season’s Cotton, or Karabella Aurora 8. But really, Koigu.

  63. ….cascade 220 is a fave….colors are rich…and it’s not too price-y for a larger type project. i’m thinking new england “practical” here! hey, this is fun!

  64. I vote for any yarn that is 100% superwash merino in a DK weight. Solid color, but heathery NOT variegated. Like Thomas, I want what they sweep up when they’re done for the day. Supertraditional but soft (not like shetland) and machine washable.
    There are several brands of this out there. What’s on sale?

  65. Hmmmm. What if part of the “collective wisdom” involved in creating the ultimate handknit is not wise? What if, for example, it’s little old me, who has been knitting or all of four months, and who has made a grand total of six items, two of which involved fun fur and one of which did not fit its intended wearer?
    Didn’t think about that, didja?
    I’m not nominating a yarn, since I haven’t used enough different types of yarn to have any idea what to nominate. Knit Picks “elegance” sure feels nice, but I haven’t started knitting with it yet.

  66. fav yarn out here in the wild west is brown sheep worsted – it’s inexpensive, comes in loads of colors, and knits lovely warm things – felted or not. sure, i like koigu, and my all time fav ‘high end’ yarn (so far) is definitly filatura di crosa’s zara, but remember people, we all have to *buy* this yarn –

  67. Golly, this is hard. There are lots of great nominations out there. Giving a nod to Koigu, Cascade 220 and Rowan Wool-Cotton, I think I’ll cast my vote for Manos del Uruguay – the colors are just amazing and I’ve loved everything I’ve knit with it.

  68. For me, the desert island yarn is Lavold Silky Wool. It’s good for lace, texture, and stranded color. It comes in odd and yummy shades. It’s light but warm, but not too warm. It can be spit-spliced (I hate sewing in ends). I realize I’m a small and late voice crying in the wilderness of Koigu (which I do love), but really, Silky Wool.

  69. Definitely wool. I vote for Cascade 220, or rather than Koigu, use Gems Merino Pearl which is what the Koigu is before it’s dyed.

  70. I have really fallen for Lorna’s laces. that would have to be it, but before I discovered Lorna’s I would have chosen Kogiu and Debbie Bliss’ baby Cashmerino – it is lucious

  71. Denim.
    But you knew I’d say that.
    My computer is dying so I can’t use my usual quota of words. xoxo Kay

  72. The alpaca yarns from Henry’s Attic come in wonderful natural alpaca colors and are my favorite for mittens, hats, anything small and removable – sweaters out of it are unbearable unless you spend the cold half of the year working in Antarctica.
    For sweaters my favorite is Harrisville Shetland. It comes on cones or in hanks and is fingering/sport weight. The colors are amazing in their breadth – heathers, bright clear colors, full spectrum, and if they don’t have exactly the color, it takes dye nicely. They also make a heavier yarn called Highland.

  73. mountain colors bearfoot. hands down.

  74. ArtYarns Supermerino, without question. I keep making up excuses to buy more of it. The colors are great — even the more boldly variegated ones (which I usually don’t like), it’s machine washable, it’s crazy soft, it’s got a lovely sheen, and it’s a very versatile weight.

  75. I’d have to say one of three (yes, I know) things- I love koigu, of course, but Filatura Crosa’s 501 Superwash is nice for a basic wool, and RYC Cashcotton 4-ply is *so* soft and lovely! (great on turbos)

  76. Calmer has my vote.

  77. My pirate chest would be opened to reveal KSH (and its siblings, Douceur & Soie and Kid Seta) OR a big pile of Manos, in every color. And a complete set of Addi turbos, of course.
    (You can see that my desert island gets quite cool in the evenings, and there are some very nice shade trees on the lawn.)

  78. Cascade 220. Inexpensive, huge variety of colors, and big yardage per skein. It’s pretty soft as well. And the perfect felting yarn. It wins the All-Around.

  79. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Absolutely luscious. Followed closely by Mountain Colors Bearfoot… handpainted goodness.

  80. I vote for Killian’s Hardware (up there on Germantown Avenue) five-bucks-per-big-hank lanolin-rich yarn dyed with one packet each of Mango, Pineapple and Pink Lemonade Koolaid…but I think I might have the only existing hank, so I vote for Axelle de Sauveterre’s aran weight cashmere in the Bumblebee colo(u)rway which I’ve been dreaming about for the past week.

  81. Alpaca would be my absolute favorite. It’s softer than wool, comes in a huge variety of natural colors and “unnatural” colors as well. I’m glad winters are cold enough to wear alpaca accessories here in NYC.
    Zephyr would be my second choice if I can’t have alpaca.

  82. Malagbrio (I’m sure I’m spelling this wrong!), it’s the same yarn that’s sold on handpantedyarn.com, so make sure that votes for either go in the same column (or row), I can’t imagine how you’re sorting through all this! I love the softness, the texture, the freshly dyed skeins….yum!

  83. I love this idea! Based on the votes so far, it seems the perfect handknit might be socks.. My vote is for Peace Fleece.

  84. Okay, I’ve read all the comments. We’ve got people on the committee who have been knitting for 4 months (hi Kristen!) and those who are into all sorts of unique and potentially difficult to find, let alone knit, yarn. And everyone in between, so to speek. Although Ann wants us to pick our favorite desert island yarn (mine is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport), we probably need to make considerations for a group project that will be a must have for every person on the committee. We need to consider the vegans and vegetarians who might not be keen on anything with silk (the worms are killed in the process). Then we have the allergic (for whom I feel so very sorry) and those in climates where wearing wool is pretty much a three-days-a-year event. And of course the newbie knitters, and the ones who have seen it all and knit it all. So, we need something easy to knit with, easy to get, great color choices, and not too expensive. In other words, suitable for all on the committee. Must be Rowan Calmer!

  85. Misti Alpaca, sport weight.
    This has all the softness of angora, without the fuzzy things in your nose. And the strength AND resilience of animal fibers.
    It leads me beside the still knitting and restoreth my soul. Yea, though I be not out of this yarn, I shall order more.
    Right now.

  86. Misti Alpaca, sport weight.
    This has all the softness of angora, without the fuzzy things in your nose. And the strength AND resilience of animal fibers.
    It leads me beside the still knitting and restoreth my soul. Yea, though I be not out of this yarn, I shall order more.
    Right now.

  87. Koigu is beautiful, but I must say, having made a few things in it–one being a sweater–that it tends to be…itchy. Sorry, maybe I’m being overly sensitive. My vote is for Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool, which I consider to be the ultimate, the Yarn of the Gods–it’s soft, tweedy and beautiful, and the colors are fun. Also, not a SINGLE knot in any skein I have ever knitted. Perfect. Barring that, I would have to second the vote for Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. Soft, easy care and about 9000 colors.

  88. I vote for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino!
    Yummy.

  89. I’m guessing that a lot of your voters have either knit Charlotte’s Web, Butterfly or Audrey – don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion. ;)
    Although I like Calmer and Koigu (solids for a garment, please), my votes are for Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK and RYC’s Cashsoft DK.
    I think you’re pretty much stuck with a merino or merino blend with us as your mob.

  90. Euroflax. I like Euroflax too.
    LOL at Ageless and Gaugeless. I’m the latter, at least. xoxo Kay

  91. My personal favorite is Lana Grossa Merino Cool Wool Big. It has a beautiful smooth springy texture.

  92. Oh yeesh, I’m late to the party again… I have really been loving all things Brown Sheep lately, but its true the Lamb’s Pride is a little wooly for the sensitive among us. The Cotton Fleece is great for lots of things, comes in good colors, and is next on my list for a project in the planning stages… but somehow, it seems a little too… practical for my desert island stay. Manos, Koigu, or something a little fancy-shmancier. I’m loving my recent Habu purchase, but some of that stuff is on the desert island already. Pineapple fiber, anyone?
    I’ll just wait and see what the Tribe decides.

  93. Oh yeesh, I’m late to the party again… I have really been loving all things Brown Sheep lately, but its true the Lamb’s Pride is a little wooly for the sensitive among us. The Cotton Fleece is great for lots of things, comes in good colors, and is next on my list for a project in the planning stages… but somehow, it seems a little too… practical for my desert island stay. Manos, Koigu, or something a little fancy-shmancier. I’m loving my recent Habu purchase, but some of that stuff is on the desert island already. Pineapple fiber, anyone?
    I’ll just wait and see what the Tribe decides.

  94. My vote is for lace-weight merino. I find knitting endless lace patterns with that stuff to be a heavenly experience. Current project uses Lorna’s Lace (Helen’s lace).

  95. Any pure wool, 4ply fingering such as Rowan 4ply botany. (I have a good stash of it). Oh, all right, since it’s discontinued I will just have to go for Koigu premium merino instead!

  96. Wow… I’m feeling bad about not reading more than the first 35 or so of the 94 comments before commenting BUT:
    I had 3 yarns pop immediately to mind. Koigu KPPPM. Koigu Kersti. Malabrigo. (crap. Just read another comment – forgot about LL Shepard Sport/worsted. A softer superwash is not to be found anywhere)
    And, right now, I gotta go with Malabrigo. Its pretty darn yummy. But maybe Shepard Sport or Worsted. Ack!

  97. My pick is Jo Sharp DK wool. Perfect weight, perfect colors and so cute in the little dumpling packages.
    I do have to add that Rowan wool cotton is a very close second, but I’ve knitted many more items with Jo Sharp so it wins.

  98. I know it’s Ann asking for the Desert Island Yarn and not Kay, but I’m going with Rowan Denim. Or Calmer. But then I live in Texas and can’t get past the heat and humidity that the words “desert island” produce in me. If you must have wool, then Koigu because single stranded you can knit socks or a lightweight garment and you can double it up for a heavier garment. The only thing you can’t do with Koigu is felt it.

  99. If there was a cotton equivalent to Koigu, I’d go with that–fingering weight with tons of colors. Gotta go with cotton, though (I have slight wool issues). Year-round comfort; ease of care. I love Rowan Cotton Glace, but it has limited colors. Maybe Phildar Licorne–very unassumming, inexpensive, good color range.

  100. Well, I see so many votes for Koigu which I love but exceeding that yarn is…rowan cotton glace!It is heaven to work with, has none of the BAD characteristics of cotton, makes lovely baby and adult garments, has outstanding colors ( I haunt eBay looking for it) goes in the washer and dryer, and works up on small needles. Love it!

  101. Calmer. Rowan Calmer. Calmer. Based on the sound and imagery of the name alone. Calmer. I’ve never seen it, but I want some. Calmer, calmer. Feeling better already.
    “What are you making?”
    “A sweater.”
    “Oh, what yarn are you using? It’s nice.”
    “Calmer. Rowan Calmer.”
    “Will you teach me how to knit?”

  102. I love Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. Soft, light, good stitch definition, every colour imaginable. But, those nights on a desert island can get pretty chilly so my vote is Alpaca. The fiber coming out of Peru is lovely, clean, nicely spun, and cheap even for us Canadians! Alpaca please.

  103. reynolds odyssey merino is fabulous stuff. soft, good definition and lovely to work. it’s tied, in my mind, with zara – i guess i’d happily go with either.

  104. Definitely solid colour(s) and something with at least a little bit of wool. Since where I’m from you can wear a sweater practically every day of the year. There must be over air conditioned offices and theatres on desert islands, too!
    I’m not familiar with Rowan or Jo Sharp, so I’ll have to go with what I know: Lorna’s Laces Shephard. Can’t decide on a weight.

  105. Malabrigo.
    or
    Angora. Ohhhhhh, has to have some angora in it.

  106. THE MOST BRILLIANT IDEA EVER! I’m so excited to see what we all come up with. And somewhat glad I’m not going to knit it haha. I think with my limited experience with different yarns I’m going to forego a nomination and just jump in when the voting starts. Yaay!

  107. Koigu’s nice (solid KPM for clothes), but Fleece Artist’s (well, Hand Maiden, actually) Lady Godiva talks to me. ;)
    http://www.fleeceartist.com/handmaiden/yarn.html

  108. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino !

  109. Cascade 220. I love working with it! It’s tough, versatile, washable, affordable, feltable, the colors are super, and it’s everywhere you want to be! HAHA! This IS a fun idea. I can hardly wait to see what comes of it.

  110. Cherry Treey Hill Supersock for my island. Incredibly soft, gorgeous colors, and easy to wash. Lovely, lovely stuff.

  111. cashmerino aran, hands down

  112. So hard to choose!
    First thought: Koigu
    So yummy, so colorful, great for small items but I’m having a hard time imagining a whole garment out of Koigu. I keep seeing the lemon & lime green sweater that the man in the Koigu ad wears, with the awful drop shoulders and the rolled up sleeves….
    Second thought: Calmer
    Another yummy yarn, but it’s cotton and we’re coming up to the fall & winter. I’m thinking wool.
    Third thought : Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
    Oh so soft and springy. Supersoft & washable.
    My true loves, however, are basic wools. Cascade 220, Nature Spun, Peace Fleece, Galway etc. So versatile, so warm, so many colors. Plus, if you like a hand dye, grab the natural color and DIY.

  113. The yarn that I’m currently in love with is “Kidsilk haze”. As for my dream pattern…it would definitely be an asymmetrical cardigan.

  114. I vote for Arucania Nature Wool! While it may not be much use on the island, it’s so soft and comfy and the colors are gorgeous!

  115. Any worsted-weight merino would be lovely. Either that, or a merino-silk blend. Koigu is too thin for my patience.

  116. I just love Mission Falls 1824 wool. Great colors,
    nice and soft, superwash!

  117. I agree with anyone who says alpaca of any type or brand (I’ve never used Inca, but I may have to try it after so many have mentioned it). Warm without being itchy like wool, and not outrageously expensive for what you get.

  118. My actual vote, which is a throwaway because it’s never going to be picked, is Classic Elite Miracle. A part-tencel yarn in gorgeous colors that does great with lace or not-lace items and is soft and gorgeous.
    My votes for useful yarns on a desert island that I really love and that might be picked for a committee project are Lamb’s Pride Worsted and Tahki Cotton Classic.

  119. I love Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Wound perfection wrapped in paper.

  120. Rowen Calmer or some sort of basic tweedy wool if I need to be practical, but I’m currently in love with Kid Silk Haze. Knit it double and it’s so warm and cozy. Knit it single and it’s light and airy. Plus I get all Zen when I’m knitting with it. Yeah, KSH–light in the sunshine of afternoon and warm for those chilly desert island nights. (and Kay, since it’s a DESERT island we should be safe from humidity! Right? Maybe? I’ve never been on a desert island…someone educate me)

  121. It’s so hard to pick just one, but I’m going to go with Cascade 220. It’s sure not as glam as Koigu, but it’s so versatile! It knits, it felts, it’s soft! It’s the perfect weight – small gauge, but not too small! Lots of colors! So much yardage! Yep, that’s my vote.

  122. If I had read this yesterday, I wouldn`t have had a clue. BUT, last night arrived a big bag of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply. What`s not to love about them? Yummy doughnut shaped little balls of gorgeous subtle tweedy colours. They are perfect!

  123. I’ll go for Rowan Wool/Cotton. That content will allow more of us a chance to wear it in the tropics!

  124. I’m going to have to vote for Artfibers Chai or Kyoto. Love the colors in silk!