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Yarn Reviews Overload 20 December, 2007

Filed under: knitting,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 8:43 pm

This week: more yarn reviews that you can poke a knitting needle at. Well…five anyway. But that’s a lot more than usual and they are all luxury or hard to find yarns. Is it worth the cost and/or the effort to buy and/or find these yarns? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I hope you find these helpful…

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

Selby’s yarn picks

Ava by Live 2 Knit. 100% silk. DK weight. Hand dyed. $37.60 for 100g.

Live 2 knit Ava

I’m working on a design in this yarn at the moment so I’ve had a good play around with it in its natural and dyed form, both in knitting and crochet. This is a truly fantastic silk yarn. It is silky but not slithery and a pleasure to knit with. As a DK weight yarn it can be substituted in other DK weight yarn patterns but only in small amounts. At a cost of $37.60 for 100g you wouldn’t make a jumper out of it anyway. I’d recommend it for a stole, a scarf, an open lace pattern shawl or a little clutch bag or any design that will use just one skein. I advise using steel needles with this yarn. Any slight imperfections on wood or bamboo needles will likely catch the fine silk fibres. Plastic or casein will probably not be slippery enough. Also, be sure that your needles are not too sharp as they might pierce and split the yarn. This is an easy to find yarn. All you need to do is go to the Live 2 Knit website and order on line. At the site you can see all 27 hand dyed colours.

Easy to find? Yes

Expensive? Yes

Worth the cost/effort? Absolutely definitely yes

Alpaca Silk by Blue Sky Alpacas. 50% alpaca, 50% silk, sportweight, 50g, 133 metres. $16.50.

Silk alpaca yarn

Mmmmmmmmmm. This is gorgeous stuff. I’ve just done a design in this for the next YARN magazine, so again, I’ve had a good play with this yarn, including soaking and blocking it. The alpaca gives the yarn softness and spring and the silk gives the yarn a beautiful lustre, just what you want in a luxury yarn. The finished garment (sorry I can’t tell you what it is) is not too heavy, not too light. Blocking greatly improved the look of this yarn so if you are swatching it, make sure you block it before you make any decisions. It feels strong and has a high twist, so your garment will probably last a good long time. As with the 100% silk I recommend using steel needles or at least extremely smooth and slippery bamboo needles. I recommend it for scarves of all kinds and evening wear. It comes in 28 colours and you can find it at the Wool Shack in Australia, at Loop in London and at heaps of stores in the US.

Easy to find? Yes

Expensive? Yes

Worth the cost/effort? Absolutely yes

100% Alpaca Sportweight by Blue Sky Alpacas. 50g, 100 metres

100% alpaca

Woolly, cosy and comfy, this alpaca yarn is just what alpaca yarn should be. It’s not scratchy either. The ballband says it’s sportweight but it’s closer to a DK weight yarn and at 100 metres to 50g, I reckon they should call it DK weight. It doesn’t have a high twist but it doesn’t seem to split so you can use pointy needles if that’s what you like. If you knit it at a medium to tight tension you should get a very long lasting garment out of this excellent quality yarn. I recommend it for hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, cardigans and jumpers. 35 colours are available so there is plenty to choose from and plenty of scope for colour work. I bought mine at Loop in London but I’ve been unable to find it here in Australia. The Wool Shack stocks some Blue Sky Alpacas yarns but not this one, strangely enough. To get your hands on some you’ll probably have to get it from a US online store for $8.50US or from Loop for 6.20GBP.

Easy to find? Not so easy in Australia

Expensive? Yes

Worth the cost/effort? Yes

Luna Park by Ornaghi Filati. 100% merino, fingering weight, 50g, 200 metres, made in Italy.

Luna park yarn

For a 100% merino yarn, designed for socks and baby garments this isn’t a very soft yarn. It feels a little hard in the ball and feels scratchy when knitted up. Luna Park comes in six colourways, all of which are self striping and form fairly wide stripes if knitted into socks. Of the six colourways, 4 are pretty and the other two are less inspiring, but you may like them. You can go to the Ornaghi Filati website to look at the colours. I trawled the internet this morning trying to find a store in Australia that sells this yarn to no avail. At a US online yarn store you can find it for $7.50US.

Easy to find? No

Expensive? Reasonable

Worth the cost/effort? No

N-52 by Habu Textiles. 68% kid mohair, 32% nylon, 14 grams, 278 metres.

Habu

No, I didn’t make a typing error…it really is sold in 14 gram balls and there really is 278 metres in a ball. That’s how fine this yarn is. The best word to describe this yarn is EXQUISITE!! You’ll need your strongest reading glasses and loads of patience as you work with it but do persevere; your end result will last a lifetime. Owing to the nylon, this is a surprisingly strong yarn. It might be cobweb-fine but it’s hard to break. I would recommend a very simple lace pattern, perhaps just some basic eyelet patterns in garter stitch so that it doesn’t drive you crazy and so that the fuzziness of the mohair doesn’t detract from the pattern. With 278 metres in this tiny ball, I doubt you’d need more than one ball for a scarf and no more than two for a shawl. Can you imagine a shawl weighing only 28 grams? It would be like wearing a cloud. This is the finest, softest, most beautiful mohair you’ll find. AND the most knitting you’ll ever get out of 14 grams. As far as I know, you can’t get it in Australia so you’ll have to go online. I suggest Loop, based in London or a US based online store. It might cost $18US a ball but why not spend that on a truly exquisite yarn that will surely become an heirloom.

Easy to find? Not really

Expensive? Yes

Worth the cost/effort? Most definitely yes!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

I hope all my readers have a very happy Christmas. The weather in Adelaide will likely be 28 degrees so not too hot for a roast but perfect for Christmas lunch outside.  Hope you all get what you wished for and have lovely day doing whatever it is you’re planning to do.

Happy  Christmas everyone. (If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I wish you a fun and happy whatever you celebrate!)

Sarah.

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5 Responses to “Yarn Reviews Overload”

  1. Sharon B. Says:

    Thanks for Selby’s reviews of the yarns you acquired while in jolly old England, Sarah. I am only slightly envious….well more than slightly, but… 😉
    I loved reading them and now am so wanting a 14g bundle of mohair! Have you tried crocheting with this? I would think frogging it would be a nightmare if that would become necessary…I’ve done only a little crocheting with mohair but it was so long ago I can’t remember how I liked it!

    A special BIG ‘Thank You’ for including the crochet-ability of some of the yarns. Since more yarn is used in that craft than knitting- it is really important to know it ‘works’ nicely if you are going to splurge on the luxury yarns.

    Wishing you and your family the Happiest of Holidays!

  2. dreadlordvellan Says:

    Hi Sarah, I hope you had a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

    Thanks for the yarn reviews, they were really interesting – I now have my eye on the Alpaca/Silk. Can you give us a hint about the new pattern? Should I order my yarn in advance just to be safe? 😉

  3. makeityourown Says:

    Well I shouldn’t tell you too much but I can probably tell you that you’ll need two skeins and a crochet hook. You’ll just have to wait until early March…

  4. I must say, that I could not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my IMHO, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template for your blog. Where did you find it?


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