I talked to my sister the other day, and she mentioned that she thought the comments I've been getting about choosing the afghan yarn are the most interesting I've ever gotten. Which surprised me, since she's not a knitter.
Thank you for all your ideas and information. I think your comments have brought up the issues that have me in a quandary.
I prefer wool to acrylic, and regular wool to superwash. I've had some bad experiences with superwash wool that went limp as soon as it was washed. So you might expect me to take the advice of the folks who are suggesting Cascade 220, a yarn I love. But I'm sending this afghan with my son off to college (Lord willing). With any luck, he'll never wash it himself, but will bring it home to me. This is a kid who likes to be knit for, and has some concept that handknits needs special care. But there will be roommates, and well, things happen.
So, this weekend I went to both local yarn stores and made piles of yarn on the floor. This afghan needs eleven (!) colors. I tried Butterfly cotton, and Cascade 220 Superwash, Encore (colors are too, I don't know, wrong somehow), and another superwash yarn whose name escapes me. Better yet, I met Danette (of the comments) for coffee and got to see and feel her Rowan Felted Tweed.
This is totally aside, but Danette has a daughter who was in the same "magnet" elementary school as my kids for two years, and we'd never met. But now we have, which is terrific!
Anyway, this is what I'm doing now --
-- playing with colors of Rowan Felted Tweed. It's very soft, and sort of washable (the instructions say gentle machine washing is ok, but not drying). The colors are fantastic. It's pretty fine, so it won't make quite as big a blanket; or maybe I'll have to adjust if I want a generous size. The pattern DOES call for dk weight, however. It almost would be too light in weight as well, except that since this is a garter stitch blanket, it'll have a thicker fabric.
I'm not quite ready to order. But I'm getting there.
On a totally other subject, my friend Martha has a new blog. If you like knitting, spinning, or animals, you'll want to check it out. I know Martha from an on-line book group YEARS ago, so maybe there'll be some bookish talk as well.