Friday, September 20, 2013

Yarn Review: Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand

Since I've been pretty busy this week, I don't have any brilliant ideas on what to review.  No one sent in any suggestions, so I'm reviewing the yarn I've had the most experience with lately: Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand.

You may be asking why that sounds so familiar... This is the yarn I'm using for the Lion Brand Crochet-Along that I've been posting about (here's the original post).

Here is one of the skeins I'm using for the Colorfully Modern Cardigan:

The first thing you see is Vanna's smiling face.  If you like Wheel of Fortune, this might be soothing to you and give you a good feeling about the yarn.  If you hate Wheel of Fortune, you might be tempted to steer clear because what does a letter-turner on a very successful TV show (she's had that job for 31 years!) know about yarn?  Since you asked, Vanna is an avid crocheter and knitter and has her face and/or name on a number of books.  The two she authored are Vanna's Favorite Gift Afghans (Crochet Treasury) and Vanna's Afghans A to Z: 52 Crochet Favorites.  Leisure Arts and Lion Brand have a number of books using her likeness or the line of Vanna's Choice yarns.  You can see more by searching for her on Amazon.

I chose to use this yarn because it is one of the yarns recommended for the Colorfully Modern Cardigan.  The other is Lion Brand's Unique yarn, which is a little thicker.  I didn't want a very thick sweater, so I chose to do it all in one (variegated) color using the worsted weight Vanna's Choice.

Let's have a look at the label.  The first thing I noticed (after Vanna's very white teeth) is that there are rulers on the outside and inside of the label, in inches and centimeters:

The outside goes to 8 inches (20.5 centimeters), and the inside goes to 11.5 inches (29 centimeters).  This is very handy if you're making a gauge swatch and can't find your tape measure.  I frequently lose my tape measure or am too lazy to go get it so it's nice that they've done this.  They didn't have to, but I'm glad they did.

Here's the informational section of the wrapper that tells you everything you need to know at a glance.

If you have a scanner on your phone or device that can read the QR code (the funny block-looking thing on the left), that brings you to the main Lion Brand website.  From there you can search for patterns (you do have to register on the website to see the full patterns), look at other yarns available, etc.

The skein of yarn in the lower right says that it's a 4/medium weight yarn.  That's good to know if you have a pattern that calls for a worsted or medium weight yarn and are looking for the right kind of yarn to use.  To learn more about the different weights and their designations, check out the Standard Yarn Weight System page from the Craft Yarn Council.

This section of the wrapper also has suggestions for knitting needle and crochet hook size to get a 4" x 4" / 10 cm x 10 cm size swatch.

It also says it's 100% acrylic, which used to be very scary, but the acrylic yarns seem to have gotten a lot better over the years, so I'm not ashamed to use them.  :)

The top part of the wrapper has some cute icons.  If you think they're cryptic, flip the wrapper over:

I really like that this yarn is machine wash and dry.  We're not very good about hand washing anything or laying things out to dry.  I had a blouse I had gotten from the State Fair that had beautiful embroidery at the edges of the sleeves, the bottom, and at the neck.  After it came out of the dryer with a bunch of stuff unraveled, we looked at the care label.  Oops!

So, on to the yarn itself.  It comes in 68 colors, and they can all be seen on the Vanna's Choice page on the Lion Brand site.  It says there are 72 colors, but at the bottom there are four 3-skein value packs of colors that were shown above.

We've already discussed the Purple Mist that I'm using and the Vanilla Twist that Mom is using on her cardigan.  There are 44 solid colors, although some of them look like they have a bit of depth to them like the beige:

I don't know if it's a trick of the light or if there are two colors twisted in there, but I think a project made with colors like this will have more visual interest than just beige.

There are 5 "prints", which are variegated yarns with different colors mixed in.  Here's "Autumn Print":

That should give some interesting striping or patches in finished projects.

Then there are 7 solid-color variants, called "mist".  You saw "Purple Mist" above, so you know what that looks like.  Here's "Rose Mist", which was my second choice:

Finally, there are 12 with flecks or twisted strands.  Here's "Gray Marble" with flecks and "Oceania" with twists:

Let's see if I counted correctly:  44 + 5 + 7 + 12 = 68.  Woo hoo!  That Math minor I graduated with comes in handy again (as does the calculator that comes with Windows).

So Vanna's Choice has a great range of colors, but how does it work up?  With one minor exception, I am very happy with the yarn.  It's soft, it's supple (especially with the P hook I'm using), and it looks pretty:

I haven't had any problems with it splitting on me (unless I do something stupid), and it hasn't twisted on me.

My one problem has been:

Ends knotted together.  It hasn't happened in every skein, and it's only been once in a skein.  I don't know if this is common, but I can't remember too many other yarns where ends were knotted together.  Option one is to cut the yarn at the join and weave in each end, but I choose option two: keep crocheting and make sure the knot ends up on the wrong side of the fabric.  That's worked pretty well for me so far.  I think I've had these joins three times in this cardigan, including the one above.  I took out 4.5 rows (pretty short ones, but still!) so I could take this picture for you.

Apart from the occasional knotted join, I have been very happy with Vanna's Choice yarn and will likely use it for other projects.  The price on the Lion Brand website is $4.39.  At Michaels it's $3.99, but I have gotten it as low as $2.50 at Michaels during a sale or $2.39 using a 40% off coupon.

The next time you're wandering around the yarn section looking for a worsted weight yarn, let Vanna's smile beckon you over!

In case you've missed Frisco pictures the last few posts, here's one of him telling me that I had done enough beading for the night:

He's starting to look like a cat instead of a kitten, isn't he?


  1. Can this yarn be used to crochet a stuffed animal? I am planning to use worsted weight yarn.

    1. Hi! I don't see why not. It's a medium weight yarn that works up well. I haven't crocheted a stuffed animal, but I think it'll work well. Good luck!