While I was at it, I knit up a swatch to review. Merino Gradation is a roving-type yarn, by which I mean that it’s very loosely twisted (similar to Paton’s SWS). It consists of two plies, one off-white and another that changes color to create the gradation effect. Throughout the length, the second ply changes from off-white to blue-gray to black. The change between colors is a bit more slow and subtle between pure off-white and off-white/blue-gray than it is when black is involved, but there’s still gradation between the black and blue-gray sections. (What my swatches don’t show is that you’ll have some sections that are just off-white with no other color. It just didn’t show up in a swatch that small. See the long swatches on the Pierrot Yarns website if you’re curious what it looks like. You can also see it in the scarf I wrote about in my last post.)
Here’s what you’ll find on the label [English translation in brackets]:
- 毛（メリノウール）100% [100% merino wool]
- 約３０g玉巻（約５７m）[approx. 57m per 30g skein]
- 棒針 ６号〜８号 [recommended needle range: Japanese size 6-8 knitting needles (3.9-4.5mm)]
- カギ針 ５号〜７号 [recommended crochet hook range: Japanese size 5/0 – 7/0 (3.0-4.0mm)]
- ゲージ １８目２６段 [suggested gauge: 18st and 26 rows in 10cm]
Swatch (before washing/blocking):
30 st in stockinette on US 7 (4.5mm). My gauge before washing was 21.5 st and 30 rows in 10x10cm.
Because I’m a tight knitter, even with the largest suggested needle size, I got more stitches per cm than recommended. The fabric is pretty dense, but not bulletproof, either. It’s still flexible and there’s no denying the softness. If I were using this for a project, I would definitely use larger needles to accommodate my tight knitting, but I wanted to use a needle in the suggested range for sake of comparison. I’m curious to see what’ll happen after washing!
Swatch (after washing/blocking):
30 st in stockinette on US 7 (4.5mm). My gauge after washing was 21.5 st and 32 rows in 10x10cm. So the stitch gauge remained the same, but the row gauge actually shrank.
This may be because I dried it by setting it on my radiator (on low heat). It’s been so damp and rainy here in Paris lately that I feared without using the radiator, it would take days to dry, risking mildew. I did feel when washing it that it grew in size, so my drying method may have caused it to shrink back down. So my caveat here is to take your gauge after drying your swatch however you would wash the finished item.
It was hand-washed in cool water and delicate laundry soap. The color bleeds somewhat (either the black or blue-gray dye), so be careful to wash with like colors. Texture-wise, it feels pretty much the same as it did before washing: soft and smooth. There’s a very faint halo of fuzz, but let me stress that it’s very faint. Also, because it’s such a loosely-plied yarn, I feared it would pill a lot when washed, but after one wash, no pilling at all.
The neckwarmer in my previous post was made with three skeins of Merino Gradation in color #2 (off-white, black, blue-gray). So I’ve had a chance to use this yarn for more than just the swatch, and I give it a positive review.
- The color gradation is nice & gentle – no abrupt changing of color.
- Soft but doesn’t have a huge fuzzy halo like some loosely-plied (roving-like) yarns.
- Like most single-ply or loosely-plied yarns, it tends to untwist while you’re working it. However, it didn’t untwist nearly as much as I expected it to. My only previous experience with a yarn of this type is Paton’s SWS, which untwists terribly, leaving you with strands of fuzz that break if you sneeze. Merino Gradation untwisted slightly but never enough to make breaking a risk.
- Only found one knot in 4 skeins.
- The only con I can think of is that there are only four colorways available.