This is the blanket that I knit for my mom when she was first diagnosed. Sitting on the blanket is her koala bear. Her oldest brother gave her this treasured keepsake when he was living in Australia. I believe my mom was in her teens or early 20's. She had him for at least 50 years!

This is the blanket that I knit for my mom when she was first diagnosed. Sitting on the blanket is her koala bear. Her oldest brother gave her this treasured keepsake when he was living in Australia. I believe my mom was in her teens or early 20's. She had him for at least 50 years!

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 use worsted weight yarn, 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, confetti-like, or hairy texture.  See the photo below.  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 our 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 find a home for the everything that come in.  However, the search for that right person can add some time to our already 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.

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- 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 yarn to the lists below all of the time.

Worsted Weight Yarn

Berroco - Comfort

Berroco - Vintage

Caron - Cakes

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

Premier Yarns - Deborah Norville Everyday

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 - Anthem

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

Hayfield - Chunky With Wool

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

Lion Brand Yarn - Wool-Ease Tonal

Loops And Threads - Charisma

Paintbox Yarns - Simply Chunky

Plymouth Yarn - Encore Chunky

Plymouth Yarn - Encore Chunky Colorspun

Premier Yarns - Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky

Red Heart - Soft Essentials

Red Heart - With Love Chunky

Stylecraft - Special Chunky

Tahki - Zara Plus

Universal Yarn - Classic Shades Frenzy

Universal Yarn - Uptown Bulky