Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

February and March Sample Skein Swatches

When I subscribed to Elann Sample Skeins, one of my goals was to knit up each sample skein, including yarn I would never dream of buying. Because who knows? I might fall in love with a yarn that I otherwise never would have tried. Or, in short, I wanted to experiment a little and expand my yarn exposure.

The following are my impressions of the February and March sample skeins. These are NOT yarn reviews. They are my personal preferences after knitting a sample skein.

All of the yarns are lovely for what they are.

February Skeins

Peruvian Pure Alpaca (top). 100% fine grade alpaca, worsted weight.

This stuff is heavenly. Reminds of the angora I bought when I was a teenager to "wrap" my boyfriend's ring so it would fit on my finger. I bought 20 skeins of it in pink for Chenille.

Superwash Worsted (center left). 100% superwash wool, worsted weight.

The swatch was knit on #5 needles and has been washed. I'm impressed. It even feels like real wool. If I ever want to knit with superwash worsted, I will buy this yarn.

Superwash Bamboo (center right). 65% superwash wool, 35% bamboo, worsted weight.

This was my first time to knit with anything bamboo and won't be my last. In fact, I'd like to try a sweater with this yarn. It knit up smooth and silky, but unlike silk has plenty of stretch, wonderful stitch definition, and the ribbing is springy. The colors are bright and shiny.

Esprit (bottom). 98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic, sport weight.

This was my first time knitting yarn with elastic so it took a few rows to get the feel for knitting with what felt like a rubber band. I dislike the rough feel of the fabric and at my age I don't think I want to wear an elastic anything.

I guess some people use this stuff for socks. It's nubbly and rough. My feet hurt just thinking about it.

March Skeins

Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (upper left). 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk, Aran weight.

Why ruin alpaca by spinning it with silk? I've never cared for the slippery feeling of silk. Time after time, year after year, I buy clothing or yarn with silk content and regret it. Will I ever learn? Maybe. I'm not buying this yarn.

Berroco Zen (upper right). 55% cotton, 45% nylon, worsted weight.

Worsted weight? How can ribbon be worsted weight?

This was my first time knitting with ribbon. I've always wondered what it would be like, and now I know. It was awful. The way I knit, my needle kept piercing the ribbon. I never did get a rhythm going and was glad when the swatch was finished.

The sample garment shown in the ad was cabled. I can't imagine the torture of knitting cables with ribbon yarn. If I ever want a garment made from ribbon, I'll buy it ready made.

Ella Rae Shibu (lower left). 90% silk, 10% rayon, worsted weight with a matte finish.

My swatch is unwashed and feels more like cotton than silk. I wouldn't consider it a pleasure to wear something knit with this.

Berroco Nostalgia (lower right). 46% cotton, 30% acrylic, 24% nylon, worsted weight.

It doesn't show in my picture, but there's a shiny white thread in this yarn that reminds me of the baby yarn sold in the five and dime fifty years ago. Maybe that's why they called it Nostalgia?

The washing instructions are cold wash and flat dry. It seems like cotton/acrylic/nylon should be able to take a regular machine wash and dry cycle. But since I have no plans for this yarn, I'll let someone else worry about it.

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