Dear knitting community,
No need to say that I am slightly obsessed with giant Merino Yarn.
Some of you have commented on my pictures and asked about my experience with size, quality and my favourite brand. I'd like to mention that I have not been paid by any brand, I have and always will write about my honest and unbiased opinion!
Here we go:
Size: I've been using two different sizes of chunky yarn. One was for 25mm needles and the other one for 45mm needles. Working with 25mm needles can be considered as knitting, while working with 45mm needles is a different thing.
It took me a while to figure out how to work with the 45mm needles. My second XL blanket turned out much nicer than my first one. I posted a small video on Instagram where you can see me struggling with my first blanket and I am planning to do a full video on how to knit a blanket that size, but I won't be able to do that before December (I am going to talk about that in the end of this post). I would recommend to start with 25mm, it is already quite big and looks fantastic! (The "Monday" post I made was written with the 25mm yarn)
Shape: There are significant differences in yarn shape! I didn't know the differences until I accidently ordered felted merino yarn (the yellow jacket). The advantage of felted yarn is that it is not as fuzzy. The yarn is harder, heavier and less flexible. I would NOT recommend felted yarn for clothing, but it might work well as seat covers. Unfelted merino yarn can be very fuzzy. Some brands do not twirl the yarn at all, it happened to me that the yarn ripped/ fell apart a couple of times while I was knitting. I'm always having a felting needle close to me, which is what I use to (re)connect the ends. I prefer unfelted yarn because it feels better than cotton candy.
Costs: When you first see the price tag of a XL merino blanket, you might want to cancel your weekend trip to the spa hotel. Quality comes to its price. the costs of XL merino blankets depend on size and weight and vary between $250-$1000. If you think about it, it makes sense. Remember how much you pay for 100g merino yarn you used to buy for your little crop tops. The blankets are heavy! Mine vary between 2.5- 9kg / 5-15 pounds. Each sheep produces between 2-4kg/ 4-8,8 pounds of wool per year (I googled that, haven't had sheep yet) which means you have to pay for an annual salary of almost two sheep.
You guys asked me for cheaper alternatives and I ordered synthetic yarn to give it a try. 1kg costs around $18, which is a bit less than half the price of merino yarn ($42). My recommendation here is: don't do it. It doesn't look bad, but it doesn't feel great either. I am going to use this one for experiments, but if you want to do it, to it right. Merino to synthetic is like a three course meal by Jamie Oliver compared to microwaved Ramen Noodles.
Brand: I have tried three different brands. Please keep in mind that this is only my opinion, statistically we need 49 more opinions to make a valid judgement.
1. Warm and Tender: The yellow, felted yarn I ordered was from W&T. It was the only felted yarn I ever bought and therefore cannot compare it, but I think the quality is good. If I remember it right the delivery took two weeks. The packaging could have been a bit more professional, but after all I odered it on Etsy and therefore did not expect the highest level of professionality.
2. Manuosh: My first XL blanket (Colour Regal) as well as the 25mm yarn was from the American brand Manuosh. Advantage: The quality was the best I ever had. Manuosh yarn does not fall apart, the yarn is super soft without being too fuzzy. I really liked working with it and although I cuddle with my blanket every day it still looks great. Unfortunately, Manuosh has very long delivery times of almost 5 weeks. I know it takes a while to ship it from the US to Germany, but I order yarn after a customer ordered a blanket (for locked-up capital and stock reasons) and it really sucks if I have to tell my customers they have to wait for at least 6 weeks. The second disadvantage is the extremely high price of Manuosh. It is more than twice as expensive than the other Merino yarn I have tried. Will I order from Manuosh again? I just did. A customer ordered a blanket for his wife for Christmas and said that he does not care about price, but wants the highest quality there is. In that case, Manuosh is my go to.
3. Woolly Mahoosive: The brand from the UK sells fine merino, felted merino and synthetic yarn. I'd say this is the brand I recommend. Although the yarn is a bit fuzzier and might rip once in a while, the quality is still great and the blanket I made looks awesome. The price seems very fair and the best thing is the quick delivery: it took less than 72 hours! I contacted the brand a couple of times through Instagram and the response was always very nice and quick.
Here is a link to their website: http://woollymahoosive.com/
That's it! I hope this helps a little bit. If you have any more questions please let me know, I am happy to help :) If you have any brand recommendations feel free to share it with me.