In 2012, my very first full year of knitting, I kept meticulous knitting journals. These diaries have revealed many things. I am now ready to disclose the first of my scientific findings.
Throughout the previous year, I tried to knit my many projects (finished and unfinished) with as many different types of yarns as I possibly could. Two reasons for this. First, being relatively new to knitting, I am naturally curious about how different yarns provide different finished products and also different experiences for the knitter. On a few occasions I even knit a couple of small projects twice but with two distinct yarns. For example, one project with 100% wool and then the same thing with 100% cotton. Or knitting a swatch with silk and then again with cashmere. While conducting this research into the aesthetics of knitting, there was always a glass of wine nearby. You see, not only was I testing what a specific yarn was capable of, but at the same time I was seeing what type of wine goes best with with what yarn.
Most everybody knows that wine experts will almost always recommend a robust red wine with a hearty roast beef and a subtle white wine with a delicate fish. I agree with this tried and true method of matching wine with meal. If you drink a Chablis with a Prime Rib or a Bordeaux with an Orange Roughy, 99% of the time the result of these pairings can best be described with one succinct word - YECCH! The same principle can be applied to matching a wine with a yarn. Try having a glass of an ultra-rich Cabernet Sauvignon while knitting a highly-detailed lace project with silk. You will soon realize that something is terribly amiss. So, for you knitters out there who enjoy an occasional sip of the grape with your knitting, here are my recommendations. Remember, these are the results of highly scientific research - on occasion, too much research. Here is something I learned the hard way. Never knit and drink wine for longer than three consecutive hours. The next morning you will wake up not only with a terrific headache but also with a rather bizarre and misshapen looking project. Also, and I know it should go without saying, but never, ever knit, drink and drive at the same time. If you are at a knitting party or at a bar that features the ever popular Knitting and Karaoke night, and you have been a imbibing a little too much, do not be offended if a friend takes away your knitting needles along with your car keys.
One final thought before I present my findings. While my research was conducted in a most elaborate manner, my opinions are, of course, subjective. As with wine and food, nothing is written in stone. If you like a drinking a crisp Chardonnay while knitting with a super bulky wool, then knock yourself out. But consider the following options.
High Quality Wool - Shiraz
(A general concept one should follow for all pairings. Spend a little more on the bottle if it is an exceptional yarn. 100% Fine Merino demands a higher quality Shiraz.)
Medium Quality Wool - Merlot
Cotton - California Chardonnay
Cashmere - French White Burgundy
Silk - Champagne
Mohair - French Red Burgundy
Angora - French Chablis
Alpaca - Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
Vicuna - Premiers Crus Bordeaux
Guanaco - Deuxiemes Crus Bordeaux
Qiviuk, Bison, Camel - Vintage Port
Linen - Barolo
Rayon - Tokaji
Quality Synthetics - Sauternes
Low Quality Synthetics - Diet Coke or Lite Beer
(But seriously, why are you knitting with this?)
Lace weight Blends - Riesling
Sock weight to DK weight Blends - Pinot Grigio
Worsted weight Blends - Chianti
Bulky or Super Bulky Blends - Rioja
Novelty Yarns - Any non-grape wine (Apple, Elderberry, Plum, etc.)
YFAWS (yarns from a weird source - pronounced yi-faws - bamboo, soy, etc.) - Zinfandel
I suggested to Cathy, law-abiding owner of Montoya Fiber Studio, that on our taxes we deduct the expense of all the wine I had drunk throughout my research (I kept all the receipts). In my opinion, all those gallons of consumed wine were a justified business expense. She quickly nixed the idea.