Thursday, March 27, 2008

Review: Silky Wool Showdown

I'm always on the lookout for a good blend of quality, luxury and taste - whether it's my coffee, my clothing or my yarn. The two yarns reviewed here are the latest silk / merino offerings from two yarn companies you already know: Cascade and Malabrigo.

Because of the slippery silk content and my desire to maintain some control of my stitches, I knit both swatches on a size 8 US bamboo circular needle.

Cascade Venezia Worsted

Cascade Venezia Worsted
content: 70% merino / 30% silk; multiple plies
yardage: 219 yards / 100 grams
suggested weight or gauge: 5 sts per inch on size 7 US needles; I got 24 rows and 18 sts over 4 inches on size 8 needles.
care: hand wash in cold water or dry clean
hand: beautiful drape, good stitch definition and smooth to the touch; only drawback is the occasional splitting of the multiple plies or snagging of the resulting fabric if your manicure needs a touch-up.
color: 104, Red Pepper


Malabrigo Silky Merino

Malabrigo Silky Merino
content: 50% merino / 50% silk; single ply
yardage: 150 yards / 50 grams
suggested weight or gauge: dk; I got 24 rows and 20 sts over 4 inches on size 8 needles.
care: hand wash, dry flat
hand: lofty, almost weightless fabric with a subtle sheen and slight halo of the silk very apparent.
color: Indiecita


Which do I like best? In my opinion, the question really becomes one of appropriateness of use. Both yarns produce a soft, light fabric that frankly feels wonderful next to the skin. I would, however, be very careful about using the Malabrigo for anything that might be subject to friction as rubbing and pulling on the yarn caused the silk halo to become even more apparent.

Manos del Uruguay, along with a few other vendors and indie dyers also offer silk blend yarns. Good luck choosing from this embarrassment of riches.

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Blogger Courtney said...

Beautiful! Thanks for the review...they both look really nice.

3/27/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Opal said...

They're both so beautiful! Thanks for doing the reviews. :)

3/27/2008 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Great review! :)

3/27/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger bellamoden said...

Beautiful! Definitely heavily partial to the venezia, myself. Good to know!

3/27/2008 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Both knit up nicely, but so very differently! It looks like the Cascade would make a smashing sweater. Do you think that yarn has enough strength to withstand some cables?

3/27/2008 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

Wow. Gorgeous...
I'm torn, but there's a tad pulling me towards the Cascade...even tho' with my current state of (dis)manicure, I won't dare try it!

3/28/2008 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Beautiful samples! Thanks for sharing your insights with all of us.

3/28/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger noblinknits said...

OOh, they look lovely. Thanks for reviewing them for us.

3/28/2008 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger YummyYarnMJ said...

You're spot on with the Malabrigo. I've used single ply yarns and found that they either shed or fluff up, so I'd use it for special items, not things like hats that take a lot of wear! Good review.

3/29/2008 01:39:00 AM  

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