Sunday, November 1, 2009


Elann Limited Edition Kashair
Fiber Content: 60% Wool/25% Cashmere/ 15% Acrylic
Care: HandWash, Dry Flat
Gauge: 20st/4" 4.0mm (US 6)
Yardage 175m (191 yards) per 50g ball
Price: $3.48

OK, if you hand me this yarn and let me guess its fiber content, I don't think "cashmere" would be my first guesses. And if you let me knit it up, I may actually guess it's part cotton. Though that is obviously a wrong answer, I could, however, tell that it's a mutt, a blend of different fibers. But I'm no expert in textile or fiber. My experience with cashmere is so limited. Hmmm... I wonder what would it be like to hug a cashmere sheep....

Then if you proceed to tell me that one of its content is cashmere, I would've guessed the cashmere sheep had accidentally fell into a hot spring and enjoyed a long, hot bath and became felted.

Just a thought, instead of making blend, can people just breed mutt sheep so their wool is already perfectly blended, like a mixed breed of merino and cashmere? But of course my favorite blend would be nearly impossible except in science fiction: merino sheep mix with silkworm.

This yarn string looks felted, and to me knitting with it was like knitting with cotton or cotton chenille. Soft cotton that is, not one of those stiff cotton ropes. The yarn is uneven in texture, which means not super fast knitting. It also means the resulting fabric has more of an organic look. It was definitely interesting to me. I'd never worked with anything like it before. Feeling the yarn (yes, I rub yarn against my neck for scratchy test... the good ones can make me purr...) well, I didn't purr with this skein, but I could tell its itchy factor is very low, could be non-existent.

This yarn also looks matte, but rather cozy looking.

Elann recommended #6 needles, so I automatically went down one size because I'm a very loose knitter. I was getting the recommended gauge of 20 st=4", but I found stitches to be way too loose and open, the knitted fabric was too ugly even for me. This was not doing any justice to the sheep so I ripped back the swatch and re-knitted with #4. The result was much better at 21 st x32 rows.

Before Blocking (CO 24 sts.)

I filled the sink with mostly cold water and a splash of warm water (it's still cold, just not icy cold) and left the swatch in the water for about 25 minutes. This time I actually remembered to take it out instead of letting it sit there for hours like I usually do.

When I fished it out from the water, the yarn looked even more felted. That was some drastic change in look. I had a mental cartoon image of the sheep having those curly hair that frizzes like crazy with even the slightest humidity in the air. The stitches evened out a lot. I didn't pin the edges 'cause Iwas curious to see how will the swatch dry.

Swatch drying

It's interesting that one may be able to achieve the look of felted object without the garment being stiff. At this point, I may be tempted to make some cozy looking socks with it. Or a hat, or a neck warmer. Because it's not one of those smooth, fast knitting yarn, I probably won't be too tempted to make a sweater out of it. But that's just my lazy side talking. I can see e a very fun looking cardigan with this yarn .... or maybe a robe.

The after blocking swatch is very soft, and the stitches bloomed and evened out. Now I feel like I can actually feel the cashmere in it. I may even purr a little. The curling edges flattened out, but it still need different stitches other than St st or hems to make edges lay completely flat.

It was a bit hard to count the stitches after blocking. It grew from 21 sts per 4" to 19 sts, and from 32 rows to 30-31 rows.

The color is not entirely solid. There is some very, very subtle tonal variation from the different fibers spun together. To me that is always more exciting as it gives the color a little more depth. The wool in it gives that typical slight, short halo of light hair on the surface. The blue skein I received is quite lovely. If I'm more imaginative, I may try to come up with a garment that can utilize its faded medium denim look of the knitted swatch. This swatch definitely pass the itchy test and is soft and cozy.

Note to this photo: comparing my swatch to the photo, my stitches looks a bit more even in person. The hightened contrast in the photo accentuated each stitch more. On my monitor, the color is bit darker than the actual swatch. My swatch really does look like faded denim.

after blocking

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