The Amazing Adventures of Tom and Bel

Monday, March 07, 2005

Knit Picky

AS promised, I did accomplish my weekend goal list. The FBSes are complete, the Delphine along has begun:

La Delphine Exquise est arrive!

I went on a great long walk on Sunday (the weather cooperated marvelously - 65F!) and my sweetie has been thoroughly kissed. Which leaves one thing on the weekend agenda: my KnitPicks yarn reviews.

I ordered samples of Merino Style, Alpaca Silk and Wool of the Andes. I knitted up stockinette stitch swatches of each to discover their merits. My thoughts are as follows:

Knit Picks swatches after Eucalan and blocking.

Orange = Wool of the Andes, Green = Alpaca Silk, and Blue = Merino Style.

Wool of the Andes: (100% wool, 110 yds) Recommended gauge: 4.5-5 sts/in on US7s or 8s.
This yarn has a sturdy, crisp hand. It reminded me of Plymouth's Outback or Araucania Nature Wool. I worked this up on 4.5mm needles with an unblocked gauge of 4.75 sts/in (19 sts = 4").
Depending on how firmly one blocks, it could go to 18.5 sts =4" or remain at 19 sts.
(I blocked these lightly, without pins).
I am considering working it up on 5mm needles as well, since it gave me a fairly solid fabric on the 4.5mm. It surprised me by being more skin-friendly than its sturdiness would indicate. I'd definitely prefer to have a layer of fabric between it and me, but I could probably survive a day of wearing it solo.

Alpaca Silk: (55% alpaca, 22% silk, 23% wool, 96 yds) Recommended gauge: 4.5-5 sts/in on US7s or 8s.
My unblocked gauge with this yarn was 4.625 sts/in on 4.5mm needles (18.5 sts = 4").
Post blocking, it bloomed to exactly 18 sts = 4".
I used this yarn to finish off the edges of one of the Flower Basket Shawls, since I ran short. It's got the slickness and drape to be expected from the alpaca and silk content, but the wool seems to give it more resilience and ability to even out one's gauge. The Boy-O loves this fabric best, as it was the softest of the three. Though I didn't love knitting with it (the yarn needed to be handled firmly and I did encounter a snaggy bit or two), the resulting fabric is beautiful, with a bit of the characteristic alpaca haze. Good for a casual sweater with a sophisticated feel.
(This is a great one for a man's sweater.)

Merino Style: (100% merino wool) Recommended gauge: 5.5 sts/in on US5s or 6s.
What a pleasure this is to knit. It practically leaps onto one's needles and makes lusciously even stitches and gorgeous smoth stockinette fabric. (Sigh.)
Unblocked gauge of 5.25 st/inch on 4.0mm needles (21 sts = 4") for me, and blocked gauge was the same.

While perhaps not quite as soft as more expensive merinos I have known (there is merino and then there is Merino, if you know what I'm saying), this is a darn fine product and a steal at this price. Perfect for a cozy, next-to-the skin garment. I will be ordering more soon.

The colors were fairly accurate on my LCD monitor, though I found them to be somewhat warmer in person than on screen. I found the delivery time was slow (about 10 working days), and others in the Midwest region have posted similar comments (I'm used to Elann's speedy service, but then again, I pay for that).

All in all, these are going to be great additions to my stable of yarns. I would like the ability to order color cards, am hoping for a greatly expanded color range and look forward to seeing what else they add to their list of offerings.


  • Thanks for the review! I have yet to try the merino ... but I will. Have you seen the 1000 sweaters book? I think this will be perfect for all those patterns ... Take care, Jenifer

    By Blogger Jenifer, at 11:37 PM  

  • Thanks so much for doing this review. These are the kind of posts that I find really helpful. I've been curious about Knitpicks, but concerned that the price was too good to be true. It sounds like their yarns are a good value - good, middle of the road quality for a nice price. Anyway, I's love to see more of this - great post!

    By Blogger Julia, at 7:47 AM  

  • Hi :) Where do I find info about the Delphine along? Specifically is there a pattern? I've never done a -along anything and I think I'm interested in this and would like to order my yarn (from knitpicks) and supplies.
    Thanks :) Elizabeth

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 2:29 PM  

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