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Which yarn is the warmest?
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Aug 23, 2011 12:48:28   #
I want to knit hats for my two sons for this winter. They both work outside...One is a NYC police officer, the other is serving in Afghanistan with the Marines. Winters in both places can be VERY cold and I wondered what you all think is the warmest yarn. A yarn shop saleswoman suggested Lopi, an Icelandic wool, but it seems very scratchy! I don't want to end up with a really warm hat that is too uncomfortable to wear. Would appreciate any wisdom!
Aug 23, 2011 12:50:23   #
Alpaca is very warm but felts easily so be careful with washing.
Aug 23, 2011 13:05:15   #
BrattyPatty (a regular here)
I would say wool would be very warm, at least here in Minnesota I find it to be warm. I have several hats made from Cascade chunky wool. It is not scratchy or itchy, but very soft.
I have 4 cousins retired from NYPD!
Aug 23, 2011 14:24:02   #
I don't think the warm factor has ever been taken scientifically in the yarn community, but who knows! LOL!! Lots of folks discuss it, though. ((:

You will probably get answers that come from a possibility of 32,600+ forum member's stating their personal experiences.


I've heard that the under fibers on animals with outer coats is the warmest to snag and process; fiber is called _______? Fiber, I believe as I think that wool comes only from animals that produce it - like sheep.

The animal that got under fiber producing the rarest (I think) yarn, purportedly to be the warmest, was the ________. If I said '''yak''', I'd probably be wrong. One skein = $295. How many grams, ounces or yards in one skein-hank? Dunno. ((:

With our generally available yarn choices, it seems that wool keeps coming up. Fleece. Alpacas, too; a fiber (?). I've heard that alpaca is warmer than wool - just conversation, though and no scientific test.

So, how does merino wool come in there? Guessing: #2 on the list? Dunno. We have sheep and alpacas.

See more notes in ((((((( )))))))))

[quote=Lassie]I want to knit hats for my two sons for this winter. They both work outside...One is a NYC police officer, the other is serving in Afghanistan with the Marines. Winters in both places can be VERY cold and I wondered what you all think is the warmest yarn.

((((((((( Thank you for this effort and our son is AD Army and just got of of Iraq #2 on 14 May.

Thank them, your sons, both for serving, please!! ))))))))

A yarn shop saleswoman suggested Lopi, an Icelandic wool, but it seems very scratchy! I don't want to end up with a really warm hat that is too uncomfortable to wear. Would appreciate any wisdom!

((((((((( Couple things and I will have my yarn choice for you in a bit:

* Bully for you for doing the 'scratchy test' and the warmth
* Hubby won't wear a hand made hat for outside work in the
winter here in the state of Iowa as he chores. Temps could,
and have been -32*F and the wind chill made it -82*F.
* Here's his choice and from the farm store:
Thinsulate hats in various styles (3M CO, I believe and I
worked for them for 11 years) and they are DOUBLE
machine knit.
* Do you double knit? It's fun! Or double up a yarn?
Your options? How about these and also remember that GI issue items are available if lost, Supply can replace them, and in our modern day wars, there 'usually' isn't the situation that the military didn't issue cold weather gear in the first place. Two or more of things are issued at times, too.

Imaginarium #1: If those things are needed, supply doesn't have replacements, they don't want to pay for a second one, is there a replacement online......?

I've replaced the same for our deployed son, sleep set and also a new carry handle with a scope (night vision) for his M4 assult rifle. YUP. Why? Because online they were cheaper than going to Supply for a replacement - they pay for the second one. His armor wouldn't swap our his scope, he wasn't comfortable with that so snagged one online and sent me the link. I sent it to him; he got everything I sent.

#2. GIs have to be in uniform in combat but for off duty times in the barracks. If they leave, back to uniform. No civvie stuff (non-GI issue - theoretically. LOL!! We know they do it, though.

#3: What's left for you then is gifts. Choose any material you want, any color you want and style. But, I gift to get as close to uniform as possible as they make break that rule.

I'd use my yarn and choose military colors and a simple pattern.

#4: Back to the warmest wool. How cold, literally, will it be in an average winter in either of our wars and let's not forget our troops who are not in a war zone and may be in far worse climates?
*** My guess, at at war, it won't be that cold to matter which warmer yarn you choose, get the parameters you want down, snag your pattern and work away.
* If it's worn only for barracks time (like sleeping, too), your yarn and color choices can be anything.
* If you suspect the item may be worn illegally under
combat gear, choose this, perhaps:

Non-scratchy wool
100% washable wool (We don't want it to shrink.)
Yarn colors = black or OD (olive drab) and nothing else though
the Airforce has a blue camo ACU, so I'd slip in the blue. LOL!!

I support troops, too (particularly our son) and send helmet liners at times; my yarn choice is:

Moda*Dea's 100% washable wool
'''Not''' scratchy
It sheens...or shines....
...making the FO look nice, too - particularly with a
simple SC pattern. The knit was nice, too. I put it on my
head, face, touched it before starting the product and knew
that it was not scratchy; Price of a 3-pak? Very affordable.


Donna Rae
Aug 23, 2011 14:31:54   #
I do have Alpaca & it is warm but needs careful washing. I do have Lopi & find it scratchy. I would find a nice Acrylic so the men can wash as needed without worry. Something that looks like a natural fiber.
Aug 23, 2011 15:11:20   #
BrattyPatty (a regular here)
After Donna Rae's post I hope you are not sorry you asked a question! LOL
Aug 23, 2011 15:11:36   #
jbandsma (a regular here)
Quiviut, with yak a close second. Both kind of pricey, though. But both, while not waterproof, are water repellent...will take longer to get soaking in wet weather.
Aug 23, 2011 15:21:19   #
How does one wash "alpaca" without felting it?
Aug 23, 2011 15:22:43   #
Do you have the pattern for the helmet liners, or can share it?
Aug 23, 2011 16:26:20   #
Colorado knits
jogs4201 wrote:
How does one wash "alpaca" without felting it?

Carefully. In the sink with fiber wash (many brands). Do not twist. Lay flat to dry.

Alpaca can be up to 5 times warmer than wool. I have a lot of alpaca in my stash and just last week finished a shawl with 76% alpaca mixed with silk and wool.
Aug 23, 2011 16:43:10   #
Hi, thanks for writing! Long time troop supporter here and I'm a veteran, too.

My pattern I snagged on the net. Surf for:

.........(K or C). I could probably track it down again, but a quick surf will get you there.

I didn't like the neck extension for what is called a gaiter, talked to my troop about his preferences, he said I don't wan't the neck so make just the cap.

I took the gaiter pattern I had and as it was top down for the cap first, I eliminated the neck portion and did the rest per the patern - simple sc for the most part and top down. The K in the round was stockinette (bottom up).

So, surf for:

Knit gaiter
crochet gaiter
Knit cap
Crochet cap
..........note the gender, too as I also support female troops. Get the head circumference - some folks are different sizes. Hubby and I are about the same size = 23" I have more hair than he does! LOL!

Or, just make a cap of choice, get their head sizes and go for it using any pattern your want but I'd keep it simple and in black or OD. For rocker caps in the barracks, jazz it up, eh, and the yarn and colors would meet the troop's specs or yours.

There are many gaiter patterns out there and you may find this useful. Surf for:

Helmet liner
..........will give you different patterns; specify K or C; note size.

This tells me that if you want to just make a cap, if it's a gift to be worn while sleeping or just knocking around the barracks wearing a rocker type hat, your pattern choice and yarn could be what you want; I'd not use wool then - wool only for if it '''may'''' be worn under the helmet (Kevlar) pit pf unifrom; it happens.

If they'd for some reason wear it under the Kevlar helmet (out of uniform as all items must be GI issue (not mom issue), a simple pattern (no texture stitches) would be ideal and my lighter weight yarn choice, Moda*Dea (100% washable wool) is not real thick and perhaps like DK; Ideal = washable. they can adjust the head band inside the helmet (I've had to do it) to allow for any thickness in the pattern design.

I thought it (Moda*Dea 100% washable wool) solved all the specs I was after. I couldn't find a reasonable one in the real world, so I went online. From the left overs, I make prayers squares.

I love the stuff and have used 6 skeins with three more in the basket for later; Online, of course.

In the event they end up wearing a non-military issued gaiter or just a cap under the Kevlar, I choose nothing but the black or OD and perhaps sneak in an Airforce color to my Airman. LOL!!

I have two Airmen that I support, btw and the one is heading out on his sixth deployment - this time it's Afghanistan; Iraq twice, A three times then A again. The other troop is in Japan; it's cold there, too.

I've supported him (sixth deployment) since '08 and his mother - miles from me - and she is very stressed out. They don't stay as long as the Army's one year and perhaps four months but they go out more often.

Our son got stuck with Bush's three month deployment extension over the one year when in Iraq '07-'08. Argh!

I told him (Airman) and her (mom), "I will be at your wedding!" LOL!!

Good luck! Do you support a troop? I've done it so long I forget when I started. The hardest one to support is DS.

His driver's license - renewed early as a coutesy to the military - is lost. I've spent hours now tracking it down = no go but have three options now. ((:

After tracing the how to/s for shipping a pistol, and using the carrier of '''my''' choice, I still don't have an answer. LOL!!

Guess what? He no longer wants it and will ship me his long gun. I want to know the laws governing this, too. Bottom line: Can USPS do this and they're my preffered shipper. No answer yet.

I know I can do it Fedex, but I want USPS. Most of the PO people don't even know that only one of the people involved needs an FFL (Federal Firearms Licence), so I get that argument.

Ack! LOL!!

Feed me! LOL!

Donna Rae

jogs4201 wrote:
Do you have the pattern for the helmet liners, or can share it?
Aug 23, 2011 17:30:11   #
Jessica-Jean (a regular here)
jogs4201 wrote:
How does one wash "alpaca" without felting it?
The same way you wash wool without felting it. Gently, by hand, NO AGITATION, and lay flat to dry.

If you google for helmet liner patterns, you will find dozens - some of which date from WWII, but all of which are still warm.
Aug 23, 2011 17:43:09   #
Go to Charity Knitting or Helmet Liners to take you to a site that will provide all the info you need for doing military hats. For off duty, military hospital ships, you can do anything you like, cheerful colors requested... For on duty, there are very specific rules and that includes fiber rules due to washing considerations.....

To provide warmth, use a machine washable wool. Although there are definitely warmer fibers, the all require special care and that is not easily available. You don't want son having to handwash and try to dry in tents..... Air provides warmth, you could do 2 hats with DK weight and then crochet edges together or whipstitch or blanket stitch to have double layer or knit one and pick up cast-on stitches and knit another in opposite direction. Easier than double knitting, if you aren't already familiar with it...
Aug 23, 2011 18:04:41   #
cool water, no agitation. Use an animal shampoo, or something like Orvus (I use this) on all my sweaters. Beware of some cleansers, shampoos, etc. which remove color.

jogs4201 wrote:
How does one wash "alpaca" without felting it?
Aug 23, 2011 18:57:01   #
WOW! I knew I could count on all of you! Donna Rae, don't worry...It's never TMI if you're talking about knitting! I already got the low down from DS about colors. And this is his 3rd deployment, so we're all veterans, so to speak. He has gotten issued cold weather gear, but says they all make his head itch and don't come down far enough to cover his ears. I'm planning to make him one for sleeping and one for on duty wear. I've already made a few helmet liners, and he's set for the moment. Our copper needs something in very dark navy or black that he can wear under his uniform cap, and water repellent would be nice, too. And for me, bullet repellent would also be nice (for both of them!), but I'll probably have to settle for water repellent. Why can't they take up stamp collecting? Or ping-pong? Well, I'm going to make a trip to Smiley's this week and check out the alpaca and their stock of Mode Dea. I'd forgotten about that! I've worked with it before & it knits up beautifully. Also, Smiley's usually has a lot of it to choose from. Thanks again all!
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