Knitting Readers' Choice Awards

  • 01 of 05

    Best Wool Yarn Finalists

    Readers Choice Awards 2011

    Note: Voting for the 2011 Knitting Readers' Choice Awards is now closed. Please check back on March 15 to learn about the winners, and check out more about the finalists below.

    Cascade 220

    Cascade 220 is a classic worsted weight knitting wool, known for providing knitters a good quality product at a good price with a generous yardage (220 yards per hank) and being produced in a dizzying array of colors and styles.

    Not only are there solid colors in the 220 line, you'll also find heathers,...MORE tweeds, superwash and sport weight varieties of this workhorse yarn.

    Knit Picks Wool of the Andes

    Wool of the Andes is a worsted weight yarn made of 100 percent Peruvian Highland wool. The fiber is strong and soft and produces excellent stitch definition.

    Knit Picks is known for making quality yarns affordable to the masses, and Wool of the Andes is know exception. As of this writing, a 110 yard ball cost between $1.29 and $2.19, depending on the color (heathers are more expensive).

    Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted

    Shepherd Worsted from Lorna's Laces is a beautiful worsted weight superwash wool yarn, giving it the advantage of being machine washable. It's available in generous 225 yard hanks and is incredibly colorful and fun to work with.

    That's because all of Lorna's Laces yarns are hand-dyed to produce lovely multicolored yarns that are great for a variety of projects. (There are also sport and heavy weight versions of this yarn, but the worsted weight was the hands-down favorite in the nominations.)

    Madelinetosh Tosh DK

    Another lovely hand-dyed competitor in the Best Wool Yarn category is Madelinetosh's Tosh DK, a light worsted weight superwash merino wool available in 225 yard hanks.

    Tosk DK is available in a wide variety of colors referred to as "glazed solid," which is actually a semisolid look. They are dyed in small batches to maintain the integrity of their handmade products.

    Malabrigo Merino Worsted

    Many Malabrigo products were nominated for the Best Wool Yarn category, but the Merino Worsted came out with the most votes. This worsted weight, hand-dyed yarn is available in 210 yard hanks and includes a wide variety of colors, from "true solids" to kettle-dyed semisolids, neutrals and variegated choices.

    Each bag of Malabrigo yarn is its own dye lot, so it's important to buy enough of this luscious stuff at the beginning of a project to ensure cohesive color throughout.

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  • 02 of 05

    Best Cotton Yarn Finalists

    2011 Readers' Choice Awards

    Note: Voting for the 2011 Knitting Readers' Choice Awards is now closed. Please check back on March 15 to learn about the winners, and check out more about the finalists below.

    Knit Picks Shine

    Shine is available in worsted and sport weights in a nice variety of colors. Actually a blend, Shine is made from 70 percent Pima cotton and 40 percent Modal from natural beechwood fiber.

    This addition gives the yarn more sheen and drape than cotton would have alone, and it also minimizes pilling and...MORE stretching, according to Knit Picks.

    Knit Picks Simply Cotton

    Knit Picks' 100 percent cotton yarn that made it to the finals of the Best Cotton Yarn category is Simply Cotton, a worsted weight (also available in sport weight), 100 percent organic cotton yarn.

    The yarn is available in both natural shades and dyed versions offering an array of heathered colors.

    Lily Sugar n Cream

    Probably one of the best-known and most widely available cotton yarns, Lily's Sugar N Cream comes in a huge variety of solid and ombre shades and is made with 100 percent United States grown cotton.

    It's a worsted weight yarn that can be purchased in cakes (120 yards for solids, 95 for ombres) or cones for larger projects or machine knitting.

    Pisgah Yarn & Dye Co. Peaches & Creme

    Right up there with Sugar n Cream in terms of popularity is Peaches & Creme from the Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co. It's a four-ply worsted weight (double worsted weight also available) available in a very wide range of colors in both cakes (of about 98 or 122 yards) and cones (688 yards).

    A premium version of the yarn offers more multicolored options and more richly colored cottons for knitters' and crocheters' enjoyment.

    Tahki Cotton Classic

    Tahki Cotton Classic is the only mercerized cotton product to make it into the finals of the Best Cotton Yarn category. Mercerization makes this yarn shinier than standard cottons.

    Cotton Classic is a light weight 100 percent cotton yarn that comes in 125 different colors and is great to use for garments and other projects that will be used throughout the year.

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  • 03 of 05

    Best Sock Yarn Finalists

    2011 Readers' Choice Awards

    Note: Voting for the 2011 Knitting Readers' Choice Awards is now closed. Please check back on March 15 to learn about the winners, and check out more about the finalists below.

    Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock

    One of the most popular sock knitting yarns in the nominations phase of the 2011 Readers' Choice Awards was Socks that Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It's easy to see why -- this springy superwash merino is hand-dyed for lustrous colors and is available in what they call...MORE light, medium and heavy weights.

    In addition to those basics, Socks that Rock also comes in a limited-run hand-painted cotton and elastic yarn and a merino-silk blend called Silkie. Whichever version of this great yarn you choose, you're sure to love the socks it produces.

    Knit Picks Stroll

    Knit Picks' Stroll sock yarn comes in multicolored, hand-painted and "tonal" or semisolid varieties, all of which are made with a blend of 75 percent superwash merino wool and 25 percent nylon, making them hard wearing and machine washable.

    All of them were popular in the nominations process, as well, but were combined into one for voting purposes. Each variety is available in a nice range of colors. Note: Stroll Multi used to be known as Essential sock yarn.

    Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock

    Shepherd Sock is another very popular sock yarn, thanks again to the beautiful hand-dyed colors Lorna's Laces produces. This yarn is a superfine blends of 80 percent superwash merino wool and 20 percent nylon.

    The tight spin and delightful colors help knitters make socks that will last a long time, and that you'll continue to enjoy for a long time as well.

    Malabrigo Sock

    Malabrigo yarns are known for their softness and beauty, and Malabrigo Sock is no exception. The vibrant colors -- either semisolid or variegated multis, all hand-dyed -- highlight the beauty of this 100 percent merino light fingering weight yarn.

    And at a generous 440 yards per hank, you can easily knit even a long or large pair of socks with just one hank, which is always a nice thing.

    Wollmeise Sock Yarn

    Imported from Germany, Wollmeise Sock Yarn can be a little difficult to find in the states, but people who like it swear by this yarn's softness and durability. It's a blend of 80 percent superwash merino and 20 percent polyamide (nylon), which makes it easier to care for and harder wearing than a 100 percent wool sock yarn.

    Two versions of the sock yarn are available in light, medium and dark colorways -- one is slightly thicker than the other but they have the same components and twist.

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  • 04 of 05

    Best Knitting Needle Finalists

    2011 Readers' Choice Awards

    Note: Voting for the 2011 Knitting Readers' Choice Awards is now closed. Please check back on March 15 to learn about the winners, and check out more about the finalists below.

    Addi Turbo

    Both the Addi Turbo and Addi Lace needles got a lot of nominations, but the Turbo version of these popular German knitting needles alone made it into the finals. It's easy to see why if you've ever knit with them.

    The nickel-plated brass tips are smooth, light and easy to use; some knitters even say...MORE they knit faster using Addis than other needles. They're made to exact metric measurements (a more accurate standard than American measurements).

    Hiya Hiya

    Hiya Hiya needles come in both bamboo and stainless steel varieties, but nominators who voiced a preference seemed to prefer the bamboo needles.

    In both categories Hiya Hiya produces both circular and double-pointed knitting needles; they also make stainless steel interchangeable circular knitting needles. The needles were developed by a Chinese family business; an American company takes care of its dealings here.

    Knit Picks Harmony

    The Knit Picks Options Harmony interchangeable knitting needle set is a very popular choice for knitters who want a whole set of customizable needles for a good price.

    The laminated birch wood needles are beautiful, thanks to waves of color on the needles, and the tapered points make them easy to use with a variety of knitting yarns. Knitters who like wooden needles will find a lot to appreciate with the Harmony needles.

    Knit Picks Options

    Many knitters who nominated their favorite needles specified that they preferred the Harmony needles, but others said they liked the original nickel-plated Options needles better, and both were so popular they ended up being finalists for Best Knitting Needles.

    The metal options are cool, smooth and nice to knit with for people who like metal needles, and the interchangeable knitting needle set is a great value (these needles, as well as the Harmony needles, are also available as individual interchangeable needles, fixed circular needles and double-pointed needles).

    Signature Needle Arts

    The creme de la creme of knitting needles is the needles produced by Signature Needle Arts. These needles were particularly popular among the sock knitters among the nominators. The company offers a wide variety of needles, including straights, double-pointed needles and circular needles.

    The company also makes needles with different points -- blunt, middy or stiletto -- to suit different knitters' preferences or projects. The needles are handmade in America to exacting standards -- a true luxury product.

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  • 05 of 05

    Best Knitting Book of 2010 Finalists

    2011 Readers' Choice Awards

    Note: Voting for the 2011 Knitting Readers' Choice Awards is now closed. Please check back on March 15 to learn about the winners, and check out more about the finalists below.

    Knitter's Companion Deluxe Edition by Vicki Square

    The Knitter's Companion Deluxe Edition is an expanded version of the original handy reference book, which includes more diagrams and illustrations than the previous edition, as well as an expanded index.

    The book is deluxe because it includes two DVDs that show...MORE Vicki Square talking about and demonstrating many of the techniques in the book. In all, there are more than five hours of video included in this edition.

    Knit. Sock. Love. by Cookie A.

    The only finalist in the Best Knitting Book of 2010 category that was self-published, sock virtuoso Cookie A's Knit. Sock. Love. is a beautiful book featuring 19 patterns, nine of which are new to this volume. Illustrations and charts make these mind-bending patterns easier to grasp.

    In addition to being available as a print book, Knit. Sock. Love. can also be downloaded as a PDF, and individual patterns from the book can be purchased as well, which is pretty darn cool.

    New England Knits by Cecily Glowick MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre

    There's something about New England that just says easygoing, inspiring and "pack a sweater." Knitters from around the region share projects inspired by a part of the country they love in New England Knits.

    This lovely book is inspired by small towns, changing seasons and coastal life, and will provide options for those who live in New England, are planning to visit the region or just want to bring a little Yankee good sense to their wardrobe.

    Power Cables by Lily Chin

    Cables as we all learned to knit them are nice, perfectly adequate for a wide range of projects. But Lily Chin wasn't willing to let acceptable be good enough, and she's spent years perfecting different ways of making cables to make them reversible, multicolored, multitextured and more.

    She spills her secrets and shares patterns that will help other knitters make awesome cabled garments in her book Power Cables, a must-read for people who want to design their own cabled knits.

    Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

    The One-Skein Wonders series has provided knitters with a lot of inspiration as to what to do with that perfect gem of a yarn we just had to have but that's been languishing in our stash for lack of purpose. Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders helps avid collectors of sock yarn to come up with ways to use some of those beauties, often in ways that don't involve the feet.

    As with other books in the series, this one has a whopping 101 patterns, so there's little doubt you'll find something (or many somethings) you'll want to knit here.