The suggested yarn for the Great American Afghan is Cascade 220 wool (100g, 220 yards per skein). This is a worsted weight wool yarn, and the closest substitution from Knit Picks would be Wool of the Andes. If you didn't want to use wool, though, you could substitute another worsted weight yarn in your preferred fiber. Comfy is a soft cotton/microfiber blend, Shine is a cotton/modal blend, Swish is a machine-washable merino wool yarn, Main Line is a pima cotton/merino wool blend, and Andean Silk is a silk/alpaca/merino blend. You have lots of choices!
(Note: For Shine, Main Line, and Andean Silk, you will have to calculate your new yardage when purchasing, as they are not 110 yards per 50g ball. Comfy, Wool of the Andes, and Swish are all 110 yards per 50g, so their yardage is similar to Cascade 220. Just make sure that you buy the correct amount, as the Cascade 220 skeins are 100g apiece, and Knit Picks sells worsted weight yarn in 50g balls.)
I just finished the Cropped Raglan Cardi (#10 in the April 2008 Knit 'n Style magazine). Instead of Lion Organic Cotton, I used Moroccan Red Cotlin. The jacket is gorgeous (sorry no photos). The stitch definition is wonderful and the feel of the jacket is great. It looks completely sophisticated and elegant. I lengthened the jacket by 3-4 inches as my daughter is quite tall. I had purchased 5 balls of yarn to do the jacket, but may need to dip into a sixth ball to finish the final front band! Given the additional length I added to the jacket, I am not surprised. I made the jacket in the smallest size. The gauge with Cotlin was exactly the same as that called for in the original pattern. It's a great stylish jacket. I will probably knit it again with different yarn, and if I do I will change one thing about working the sleeves. I would finish the row in which the sleeve stitches are slipped to stitch holders and then go back and knit the sleeve ribbing onto those stitches before knitting the next round which closes the underarms. It would be far easier to finish the sleeves using another ball of yarn than to do it after the arm hole is closed.
I have plans to do a jacket from the Knit Komono book using the same Moroccan Red Cotlin for myself. It's a gorgeous color and I love the look and feel of the yarn.
Thanks, Kerin! I had not seen your post before. She was EXTRA happy. I'm going to visit this week with the Mesh Tank (see below) and a half-finished jacket exactly like the CotLin jacket made with Noro Silk Garden Light. I think she'll keep me..... Now it's on to knitting for myself for a while!
The second item I'm busy with is the 'Little Silk Shrug' from Lace Style. Thanks to Knitpicks Allison, I am knitting it with Olive Andean Silk. She was a huge help in guiding me to the 'correct' yarns to subsitute for some projects. Andean Silk is just perfect for this piece. It's the right gauge and the right fiber content and best of all, it's soft, silky, beautiful, and shows off the little leaf pattern wonderfully. I sent for Andean Silk in Pitch to make a second one for my daughter as I think she will get a lot of use out of both of them. It's a good lace pattern for a 'beginning' lace knitter too. I made some errors in the beginning, but using a red thread lifeline saved the day. I also learned to use TWO lifelines! I leapfrogged them so that I wouldn't run into trouble moving my one and only..... which I did early on. In any case, Andean Silk is a pleasure to work with. It just feels good running through your fingers.....
I finally added 'my' image to the site. The splendid red hat is an example of using Knitpicks yarn instead..... My daughter loves this style hat, which is #33 in the 100 Hats book (I think that's the title). I have made this hat for her with several different yarn combinations, but this one is red merino worsted combined with 'Beach Ball' Twist. The silky bits in the Twist make the wonderful color accents. I have two other colors of Twist to combine with other merino yarns. I have also made the hat combining merino with a 'trellis' type flat yarn. That would be similar to the original hat deisgn. I made a wild 'summer' hat in the style combining Twist with a 'trellis' yarn to eliminate the wool content. That hat is turquoise, aqua, and hot pink predominantly. The nice thing about great yarns is you can take a favorite pattern and make it into lots of different looks.
Just realized that the mesh tank isn't posted here yet... It's from the summer Vogue International magazine. In the mag it's shown in marine blue Colinette yarn I think. I'm using the Butter Shine Sport. It's just feeling and looking fabulous! I'll get my magazine and post the proper information tomorrow.
I'm happy to report that I FINISHED the Mesh Lace Tank today! The Shine Sport in Butter has made a super fabulous garment. Everyone who has seen it is just raving over it.
Thanks to KnitPicks Alison for some timely advice and to hers, I will add some tips of my own.
First, when blocking the front and back pieces, do NOT wet the pieces. That creates a hair-raising experience accompanied by heart pounding and anxiety. Steaming is good..... The result ultimately was no problem, but don't put yourself through it unnecessarily.
Second, when knitting the back, I kept track of how many rows I knitted before changing to the next needle size. When knitting the front I did not pay attention to how many inches I had knitted, but simply knit exactly the same number of rows with each needle size. When seaming the sides, the horizontal rows above and below each mesh unit match perfectly as a result. It increases the good looks immeasurably!
Third, while the mesh pieces seem nothing but wiggly, as soon as you add the neckline and armhole edging and seam the shoulders, it really starts to firm up. The side seams finish off the process and create a really quite nice fabric.
Fourth, I would use Shine Sport again for any project using this weight yarn. It's a dream yarn to knit and the appearance and feel is really extraordinary.