Thursday, April 24, 2008

much-anticipated yarn

So I was poking around on Discontinued Brand Name Yarn and I found South West Trading Company's Bamboo on sale by the bag. This yarn is normally $13.50 a ball, and they have it for $42.50 for ten! I cannot tell you how excited I was about this yarn. I was thinking of a nice, soft summer top. Here's what Yarndex had to say about it: "Often compared to premier ramie, it's cool and silky to the touch and works up beautifully in sweaters, tops, dresses, skirts, and anything else where a flowing drape is important." Between the mentions of "ramie" and "silky" and my own mis-memory of two very soft yarns that I own being bamboo (they're not. One is soy and the other is banana silk), I was expecting something super soft. Here's the flawed logic: If the Bernat Bamboo I own (wrong) is so incredibly soft and I got it on clearance for $2 and it's half acrylic for heaven's sake, just imagine how soft this expensive famous brand yarn must be! Yeah.
So the yarn arrived last night.

It's beautiful. It's not soft, though. It's more silky like raw silk than how I think of silky, which I guess would more accurately be called "satiny."
What a disappointment. And it's a discontinued color, so I can't send it back. I probably wouldn't anyway--in fact, if it was an option, I doubt I'd even be thinking about it. But knowing that it's not an option gives it that perverse appeal.
Anyway, it's still really beautiful yarn, and if people are willing to pay $13.50 a ball for it, there must be lots of really great things you can do with it. I need to start making swatches and see what works. It may still be soft enough for a nice summer top. The color is perfect: dark enough not to be too pastel insipid lilac, but light enough not to be too hot for summer. It was actually the color that I was most concerned about when I ordered it, but the color on the store's website is actually pretty accurate. (It's the same hue as the bottom picture above but a bit lighter.)
Anyway, it's really nice yarn and a great deal, just not what I expected. This disappointment is amplified by the unusually long wish list I have right now--this yarn would not have been such a high priority for ordering if I had known what it's really like. Instead I probably would have gone for KnitPicks CotLin, which I've also been obsessed with lately. They have this light, almost-drab green that I'm suddenly seeing everywhere; they call it Kohlrabi. I never wear this color and thought it was ugly until about two weeks ago; now suddenly I must have it! The Lantana also looks very nice. And this yarn explicitly says over and over in the description that it's soft.
But then again, I have a spinning wheel now, so of course I have to pine for unspun fiber, too. Consider for a moment FiberLady's OMG gorgeous Stormy Night bamboo top (which also says explicitly that it is soft) or Squoosh's Lately Merino and Bamboo.
I'm sure you can understand why I resent the SWTC Bamboo for misrepresenting itself in order to cut to the front of the line. However, the reality is that I have a whole raft of new, beautiful yarn! This is a good thing! I can't wait to start playing with it.

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