Enough said. Here's my list.
1. Galway Classic Heather. Have a look at my Wakefield Redux to see this wool in action. It comes in a ton of complex shades, knits at 4.5 sts per inch, is fairly soft when worn next to the skin, wears extremely well, and has great stitch definition.
2. Ella Rae Classic and Classic Heather. Same remarks as for Galway, except this knits at 5 sts per inch. I used this for my Downtown jacket, inspired by Downton Abbey. The photos of the jacket don't do this yarn justice. It drapes softly and feels luscious. I'm not much of a felter, but I can tell you that when felted (fulled?) this wool creates a delightfully nubbly texture.
3. Berroco Ultra Alpaca. This is REALLY soft against the skin and offers the best of wool and alpaca in amazing colours. I used it for my Tumnus scarf and I'm about to start a new Downtown jacket in it. Comes in three weights, but I love the worsted best.
4. Green Mountain Spinnery's Mountain Mohair. The great thing about this yarn is that it works at an incredible range of gauges (3 1/2 to 6 sts per inch). The blues and purples are fantastic. If you love corals and oranges (I look awful in them), there are some beauties here.
5. Cascade Ecological Wool and Eco+. Ignore the label on this wool. It knits up best at 4 sts per inch. My upcoming pattern, Wheatsheaves, is knitted in it. It's soft, and comes in a huge array of undyed and dyed colours. Be prepared to clean up your garment after the first few outings with a lint shaver. Worth it, though.
6. Peace Fleece. This is not an especially soft yarn (a mix of wool and mohair, for most colours), but the colours are simply breathtaking and, like most hardier wools, it wears very well, with almost no pilling. It has a lovely halo after washing. I made the prototype for Harriet's Jacket in Siberian Midnight.
7. Briggs and Little sport weight. This is one of the most overlooked wools for warm shawl knitting. My MacKay shawl is made in this. Note that it comes in over 40 shades! and is cheap, cheap, cheap! One of the best buys out there.
8. Green Mountain Spinnery's Sylvan Spirit. This is a dk-weight wool/tencel blend with subtle sheen and nice drape. My Lucy scarf was knitted in "Sterling".
9. Lanett Babyull. A superwash that doesn't misbehave. This is what my blue/grey "Brookline" is made from. Just don't do what I did and use it for socks. There's a reason why they tell you to avoid pure merino, with no nylon added--mine lasted for about half a season as bedsocks before the heels went.
10. Kauni Effektgarn. Feels like shetland, but knits up into beautiful fair isle and lace pieces without the need for multiple skeins of wool. For inspiration, check out some of the gorgeousness on Ravelry. Hmm, maybe it's time for me to do another fair isle piece...
The above list is comprised only of commercially available yarns. However, I must say up front that my most favourite yarn of all is my own handspun. Both my Buttonbox and Zora designs were knitted from yarn I spun with my own hands. To my surprise, my handspun doesn't pill as much as commercially spun yarn, and both my spindle-spun and wheel-spun wools have been a joy to knit with and to wear.
Today is a day for crunching the numbers for Wheatsheaves. Yesterday I took a time out to play a little with Briggs and Little's new "Lite and Fancy", a handpainted softspun sport weight wool.
The jury's still out on this. I have to finish the swatch and block it. So, what are your favourite yarns?