Yarn at a glance:
|Fibre content: 100% Merino Wool||How the yarn is wound: Ball|
|Weight: 1.75 oz/50 g||Colours available: 16|
|Length: 66 yds/60 m||Category: ??- Heavy worsted or bulky (see below)|
|Ply: 12 ply||Gauge: 15 sts x 22 rows|
Originally I wandered into the only independent yarn store in the city to find the perfect yarn for our beautiful brand-new baby son. I had chosen the Moderne Baby Blanket from the book Mason-Dixon Knitting. I figured the easy garter stitch pattern would be simple enough for even a sleep deprived mom to complete.
Before heading into the shop I carefully wrote out the yarn requirements and left the pattern at home. There’s a saying about baby brain, and while I generally wave my hand around furiously with my “that’s ridiculous” face at such a notion, in this case I’ll fess up to it. I left the store with about a third of the yarn I would need to complete the project. I did not realize this, of course, oh no no, until after I cast on and knit a portion of the blanket. Suddenly it seemed impossible that it was going to be enough yarn. I was perplexed. I wrote a post on Ravelry’s forum seeking help. It took several postings before someone finally pointed out what I had for total yarn requirements was actually the requirements for each colour, and there were 4 of them. You can find that blanket on my Ravelry projects page with a tiny frog icon beside it.
The yarn at my shop was $10.25 CAD a ball. I could have found it for less online, Jimmy Beans sells it for $8.95 a ball and for as low as $4.95, Elann sells for signifigantly less at 3.95 a ball (gulp!), but supporting a local business woman and getting to take my yarn home that day were worth the extra cost. Though, having already spent over a hundred dollars, I could not justify a baby blanket that would set me back over 300 dollars in yarn costs, even though I really liked it. I returned the balls that I could, and exchanged them for one colour. I decided I liked the grey most. Later, this yarn became my Like A Virgin cardigan.
What initially drew me to the yarn on the shop’s shelf was the ply. This yarn is 12 ply, so it has a very smooth look. It would make an excellent cabling, or aran pattern yarn. It has very nice stitch definition. Upon picking it up one can feel why it is called Extra Soft, because it is. It also has a nice sproing to it when you squish it, and it puffs back up nicely.
It’s wool. A major plus for me, I love wool. 100% merino wool to be exact, and it’s a super wash variety. Super wash means machine washable, just what I was looking for in a yarn for a baby item. Though, really, machine washability is a major plus even for adult garments.
The yarn comes in center pull balls rather than a skein or hank. I like these balls, I find they tangle far less than a skein. Each ball is 1.75 oz/50 g, and 66yds/60m. The yarn is made in Italy, by Coats.
Here’s where I have issues with this yarn:
You must do a gauge swatch with this yarn (though I know you are all rule followers and always do anyway), and I very highly recommend you wash it before measuring the gauge. This yarn grows when washed. Not uncommon for superwash wools, but this wool seems to be the problematic variety. You may even want to wash it twice before measuring. Also this yarn is somewhat heavy. Gravity will do it’s bit to pull the hemline down on a sweater as your wear it throughout the day.
This yarn has no reference to what category it is on the ball band. It is referred to as both bulky and heavy worsted Ravelry and yarnbow say it’s a bulky (chunky) weight while Yarndex and Jimmy Bean Yarns say heavy worsted. In my opinion there is no question, this is a heavy worsted. The yarn is thinner than most typical bulky yarns. Remember that lovely sproing I spoke of earlier? When you apply tension to this yarn (as you do when you knit with it) it thins out, and though it puffs out again, it was knit in the more tense state.
I think the reason for confusion is this. The gauge on the ball band is 15sts x 22 rows and calls for size 7 mm needles, 7 mm needles are equivalent to size 10.75 US needles. Well that’s the gauge and needle size that bulky yarn is recommended to be knit at according to the Craft Yarn Counsel, and while I don’t disagree with the Craft Yarn Counsel standards, I think this yarn knit on such large needles does not produce the optimal fabric. I think on size 10.75 the fabric made is too drape-y, rather holey, and doesn’t produce even stitches. In my opinion this yarn ought to be knit on size 8-10’s/5 mm-6 mm needles to produce a better swatch and knit product. Another good reason this yarn must be swatched.
All in all, I really like this yarn. I would purchase it again, now that I am familiar with it’s needs. I think it is in the pricey range, but I feel it is not over priced. My Like A Virgin Cardi required 11 balls costing me $112.75 in yarn. Remember when comparing cost, not to compare to acrylic mass produced sweaters, rather find a sweater made of the same type of fibre from a small boutique, as that’s the type of sweater you are making.*Coats did not pay, or provide products, for this review. It is expressly my opinion