Knit Crochet Blog Week: Day 1 (2KCBWDAY1)

A Tale of Two Yarns

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I met Rowan Cocoon quite by accident.

I had knitted a Butternut Scarf in a fine laceweight.

I blocked it but I really enjoyed the unblocked texture of the pattern too and began to fantasise about knitting that pattern in a really chunky yarn. The yarn of my dreams was neutral in shade, ultra soft and warm. It would be squishy but retain some stitch definition. I had no idea what that yarn was, but woolbird had a fair notion of how to attain my dream scarf. She sent me a gift package, a Random Act of Kindness, and it contained sufficient Rowan Cocoon to make me the most fabulous scarf.

Cocoon is a 80% Merin0/ 20% Mohair blend of such amazing softness that is difficult to believe that more exotic fibres are not involved. At a Bulky 12 ply, with 7 wraps per inch, it did not quite meet the vision that I had of an Ultra Bulky yarn but the colour, the plumptiousness, and the sheer glamour of the finished garment is all that I culd ever have dreamed of. That plumptiousness (yes, I think I made that word up) comes entirely from the lightly spun single ply of the yarn… there is no twist to take the loft out of it.

Cocoon yields 126 yards (115 meters) from 100 grams (3.53 ounces) and knits at 14.0 sts = 4 inches on 7mm needles.

I used 5 skeins and made an enormous scarf from that. It is possibly just a little too long, but I wanted the drama of a good length to fling about my shoulders.

Find Cocoon at John Lewis and other good yarn sellers. Get Knitted sell it online at £8.50 a ball.

By contrast, I offer a bulky weight generic lambswool yarn that I purchased on eBay. I made another Butternut from it.

It was a test purchase, I bought it cheap… ex-mill, oiled, on the cone. I found that I got what I paid for. This was a truly horrible yarn. It was coarse and harsh and hurt my hands when I knitted with it. It was weak and fragile, apt to break. Stitch definition was poor and the finished scarf had little in the way of body. Worst of all, the wonderful dark blood red of the original yarn paled into something poor and rusty after the dye bled and bled when the scarf was washed. Truly, I could not get to an end of the running dye.

I will not reveal the source of the yarn here – sufficient to say that I shall not buy more.

So – two scarves made from a bulky yarn to the same pattern. One is to die for, the other I would pass over at a jumble sale if it was priced up at 20p!

Lesson learned: push the boat out and pay for good yarn. Cheap stuff just can’t cut the mustard. If you can’t afford the good stuff… spin it yourself. Or wait until you can lash out. Otherwise, your vision will end in disappointment.

I’m not sure what to do with the rest of that red cone. Perhaps it will end up in a felted project, or maybe I’ll use it as weft in a piece of weaving that won’t be washed.

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