Now for the fun part! Picking the yarn. We all love a soft, wonderfully colored yarn. The suggestions below are divided into two categories: Worsted Weight Yarn and Chunky Weight Yarn. When knitting with the worsted weight yarn, you will hold two strands together as you knit the pattern. When using chunky weight yarn, you will hold it single stranded. If you are crocheting an item, you will just use worsted weight single stranded.
Here are some tips for choosing the yarn for either a lap blanket or prayer shawl:
- The appropriate yarn needs to be machine washable and dry-able. Your local yarn shop staff should be able to direct you to one of the yarns below or to a comparable yarn.
- Regarding needle size. Yes, a 13 is a large needle, but remember the main purpose of these items is to provide comfort to their recipient. The larger needle helps with the airiness of the "fabric" of the prayer shawl or lap blanket. When they have a nice drape, they will be lighter and less heavy feeling on the recipient. Just keep that in mind when choosing your needle size. If you feel you need to go down a size because it is looking too loose, maybe knit a good sized sample in pattern to have a better idea of the look and drape. This would be a good time to check your gauge, too.
- Please stay away from yarns that have a nubby, tweedy, glittery, metallic, or hairy texture. We don't want to encourage picking at the yarn and often those suffering from Alzheimer's disease like to pick and scratch at things that they don't think belong. While these characteristics produce a beautiful yarn, we want these items to provide comfort, not undue frustration and anxiety. Every now and then something comes in with this type of yarn and it needs to be handled differently. We cannot have it in the pile with the other items at our deliveries... it must be kept aside and then we ask the staff if someone is either bedridden or on hospice because they are the only people we would give these items. We really don't want the blanket or shawl to leave the room where someone who might have that picking tendency could find it. If you have sent one in the past, don't worry, we always seem to find a home for the ones that come in. However, the search for that right person can add quite a bit of time to our already very busy delivery and sometimes the item needs to go with us several times before we find the right person for it. THANK YOU very much for understanding and complying with this request.
- If you want to make the stitch's texture to "pop", then a solid color yarn is the way to go. However, we do receive items in stripes and variegated yarns and they bring on another pleasing look to our pretty patterns. Work with a yarn that you enjoy because we know each item received has its future owner out there who will love it very soon.
- Please think of this project as if you are making it for one of your loved ones. You want it to be special and look beautiful. Each person receiving it will be at a different stage in the disease so some will be able to really, really appreciate the time, work, and thoughtfulness that went into it and others will not. However, we want to be sure they are all equally lovely because your special gift will ultimately be going to one of the recipients' family members to love and cherish for years to come.
- The recipient will touch and intertwine their fingers through these items so please take that into consideration when you are choosing the yarn for the item... softness is always appreciated even if they can't verbalize it.
- When we work with colors and textures we love, we knit and crochet for longer periods of time. So keeping that in mind, choose beautiful, soothing colors and soft, luxurious yarns and enjoy the experience.
- We are adding new yarns to the lists below all of the time.
Worsted Weight Yarn
Berroco - Comfort
Berroco - Vintage
Caron - Simply Soft
Cascade Yarn - Anthem
Cascade Yarn - Avalon
Cascade Yarn - Elysian
Cascade Yarn - Pacific
Cascade Yarn - Sateen
Cascade Yarn - Superwash 220
Classic Elite - Liberty wool (it's a DK weight, but could be carried doubled)
Frog Tree - Pediboo
Hobby Lobby - I Love This Yarn
Jojoland - Tempo
Knit One, Crochet Two - DungarEASE
Kraemer Yarns - Perfection
Kraemer Yarns - Tatamy Tweed Worsted
Lion Brand Yarn - Cotton Ease
Lion Brand Yarn - Heartland
Lion Brand Yarn - Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend
Lion Brand Yarn - Pound of Love
Lion Brand Yarn - Vanna's Choice
Lion Brand Yarn - Wool-Ease Worsted Weight
Loops & Threads - Impeccable
Lorna's Lace - Shepherd Worsted
Miss Babs - Yowza
Patons - Canadiana
Plymouth Yarn - Encore
Plymouth Yarn - Encore Dynamo
Plymouth Yarn - Encore Colorspun Worsted
Plymouth Yarn - Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash
Red Heart - With Love
Schachenmayr Original - Bravo Worsted
Skacel Collection, Inc. - HiKoo Simpliworsted
Spud & Chloe - Sweater
Tahki- Zara 8
Universal Yarn - Classic Worsted
Universal Yarn - Uptown Worsted
Chunky Weight Yarn
Berroco - Comfort Chunky
Berroco - Vintage Chunky
Cascade Yarns - Pacific Chunky
Classic Elite Yarns - Sprout
Downton Abbey - Branson
Ella Rae - Seasons
Euro Baby - Babe Softcotton Chunky
Euro Baby - MayPole Chunky
Hayfield - Baby Chunky
James C. Brett - Flutterby
James C. Brett - Marble Chunky
Järbo Garn - Duo
Knit Picks - Brava Bulky
Lion Brand Yarn - Lion's Pride Woolspun
Lion Brand Yarn - Wool-Ease Chunky
Plymouth Yarn - Encore Chunky
Plymouth Yarn - Encore Chunky Colorspun
Premier Yarns - Serenity Chunky Weight
Tahki - Zara Plus
Universal Yarn - Classic Shades Frenzy
Universal Yarn - Uptown Bulky