This yarn review was provided to my by the awesome folks over at Mountain Meadow Wool and Stitch Craft Marketing. A giveaway announcement is provided at the end of this post so please read on!
I received this yarn while incredibly sick with that recent head and chest cold I had, which gave me ample time to mull over my possible choices for knitting. I thought about a shawl that would use up both skeins of yarn or a toque with matching fingerless mitts. I knit a couple of swatches but in the end, I decided to knit one skein and give you the opportunity to try out this yarn for yourself! Read on to the end for how to enter!
After humming and hawing, I decided to knit this gorgeous yarn into a toque of my own design to play with cables and straight stockinet stitch. I love looking at the stitches created in both when I am presented with a round 3-ply worsted-spun yarn. This 100% Targhee is dense, sproingy and round – a lovely yarn for anything with cables or needed stitch definition. It would work beautifully in some of those blanket shawls that are wrought with gorgeous garter stitch, which happen to be popping up on Ravelry (check out this one, this one and this one for my favourites).
For the non-spinners in the readership, worsted spun yarns are processed slightly differently from woollen spun yarns during the milling process. Without getting into too much technical speak, the way to identify a worsted-spun yarn is by looking at the character of the yarn: Is it smooth, possibly with a sheen and slightly denser when compared to that fuzzy, matte and light skein of the weight sitting next to it? A great comparison is Jamieson’s Spindrift to any worsted-spun yarn. If you are having trouble differentiating between woollen versus worsted in the knitting shop, grab a skein of that and carry it around with you! Many yarns on the market are semi-yarns – they have characteristics of both worsted and woollen yarns. The ply twist might be higher to create a lovely twist angle and hold the yarn together but if that twist is unravelled, the singles (the building blocks of the yarn or the strands that eventually get plied together to make the yarn itself) are barely spun at all! Initially, you may have thought this yarn was a worsted yarn but the singles tell a slightly different story: The yarn will behave as more of a woollen yarn by providing warmth from all the air trapped in those airy singles, pill from the abrasion of sleeves (for example) due to the lack of twist and felt.
This yarn, in contrast, acted very much as a worsted-spun yarn. It was multi-ply (3 strands), and both the singles and ply twist was firm. I would hazard a guess, without knowing for sure because I haven’t actually knit a sweater in it, that this would wear very well as a sweater! I think it would also withstand the wear and tear of mittens or fingerless mitts. The hand of this yarn was a bit firm for my tastes – I tend to prefer a yarn that is slightly more softly spun because I find the knitting experience more pleasurable but the durability of a more firmly spun yarn is indisputable for sure!
The yarn label says this yarn was gown in Montana and names the specific ranch, Blair Ranch, which gives the yarn a very ‘farm to yarn’ feel, which I like. The yarn is milled in Wyoming – I encourage you to read their story about their commitment to revitalizing the wool industry in America. As well, the Alpine skeins are generous with 260 yards of DK 3-ply per 3.5 ounces. I chose the Pinecone colourway because I love these yellow-browns. I know not everyone can wear them but I love them and they work with my colouring! One piece of information I’d like to see on the label is care instructions. I’m assuming this is hand wash in gentle water and lay flat to dry but clarification would be nice! Someone without the knowledge of wool that I have may think this can be machine washed and would ruin their project. Softness is a consideration for many and yes, this yarn is incredibly comfortable next to the skin. There is no toothiness to it at all! I’d have put the kids in this yarn when they were babies.
I looked through my stash of handspun Targhee yarns since Targhee has been a breed I have really enjoyed spinning and knitting. I have spun Targhee in a variety of ways and knit with all of them to date. My favourite was Targhee spun as worsted-weight (different from worsted-spun in which all the fibres are smoothed and the air is removed versus worsted weight, which is a knitting yarn weight) low twist singles that I knit into a shawl for Norah. I have spindle spun Targhee as a low twist singles, high twist ply and loved the results of this yarn: It is next-to-the skin soft, sproingy and smooth.
This yarn, due to its firmness, makes me want to begin sampling Targhee with a firmer spin by placing more twist into both the singles and ply to see what kind of worsted-spun, DK weight sweater yarn I could create. It may have a firmer hand but the possibilities for cabled sweaters would be endless! Did I mention they sell roving and combed top? Oooh, the possibilities!
Mountain Meadow Wool generously gifted me a second skein of this 100% Targhee DK-weight yarn. I hope you will enjoy sampling it as I did. To enter, leave a comment below (leave your Ravelry ID in the comment so that I can find you!) and tell me what you like about worsted-spun versus woollen-spun yarns? Which do you prefer and why?
I’ll draw a winner in next Monday’s blog post (May 22)!
I like worsted yarns for their durability. I love my socks that just keep on looking great after months of wearing them. Somehow this seems appropriate when you spend the time to make them yourself!
First: The hat is to die for. I love it. I just recently spun some Brown Romney in a worsted spin. I love the strength and durability that was created. I also like knitting with it as well. I would love to try this yarn and might also look them up to get some roving to do a breed study. I am always trying new things. IThanks for the giveaway. I can be found as lwssullygirl on Ravelery. Thank you!
I’m really interested in Targhee wool – I’d love to get my hands on a skein of this. I have a Targhee/Corriedale fleece that I bought last year that I have yet to process and spin, but it’s next on the list. I love springy wool.
ravID = vermiliongirl
Hey Rachel–Lovely yarn and hat you have there! I tend towards worsted (spinning and yarn) thus far, largely because it’s most widely available (for yarn) and easiest on the learning curve (for spinning). But I have found some smaller mills that make woolen spun yarns and I think they are ideal for sweaters–loftly, light, airy, all the properties you list! I am working on a supported long draw myself–someday!! And, as an aside, I have some beautiful Targhee 100% wool for my next sweater! It’s so springy and beautiful; it’s like nothing I’ve used before. Really looking forward to it. As always, thanks for sharing all of your knowledge, kits and spins! 🙂 -Melissa (knittingthestash)
I’m really enjoying your podcasts! I tend to prefer worsted-spun wools over woolen-spun wools for their durability and usability. What I mean by this is that I can use a worsted-spun (or semi-worsted) in virtually any project and have a good result. I knit for longevity: I want what I make to last and be durable over the long haul. Accordingly, I’m pretty much a worsted-spun gal! 🙂 I like the softness and loft of a good woollen-spun – and am spinning a Romney hogget and alpaca blend from locally-raised stock now – but you can’t beat the flexibility of a good worsted-spun yarn.
Keep up the good work!
Mary DeLoria – @ NotKnuKnitter on Ravelry
Cool question! I like lots of things about worsted spun yarns, how hard wearing they are like you said (sweater out of a single layer of Brooklyn tweed shelter was a mistake, tho I would do a fair isle); but also I like their heft. I’m spinning worsted fingering weight for a big lacework shawl right now (2 ply of course), and I don’t want to put beads on it. I am not sure but I realized the worsted spinning, making a smoother, denser yarn might help it stay drapey and open, while the same yarn woollen spun (its yak merino!) would be so light it would probably stand up on its own if i folded it like a napkin.
I love the durability, smooth texture and stitch definition of worsted spun yarns and, as a spinner, I am particularly fond of Targhee for socks, mittens, hats – hard wearing items worn next to the skin.
I haven’t knit with this particular Targhee, but I do have sweater I knit out of another yarn producer’s Targhee yarn, and it is so nice and cushy! I’ve also got some superwash Targhee handspun socks that have amazing sproing to them. It’s one of my all-around favorite fibers. This yarn is definitely going on my to try list!
(I’m PAKnitWit on Ravelry.)
I loved them both. Do I have to pick a favorite? Andreazdavis on Rav
Cute toque! Interesting thoughts on twist. I like the softer yarns but now you’ve got me thinking about wearability. I spun up some CVM roving as a woolen and it is lovely and soft but I think the next time I’ll try semi worsted for the durability. Ravelry ID: mptang
Targhee is one of my favorite fibres, both for knitting and spinning. I would love to try this out, thanks for the offer!
Targhee is one of my favorite fibres to both spin and knit with. I’d love to try this out, thanks for the chance!
I have a hard wearing toddler so I’m definitely in the worsted camp. I work hard to create these things so I want them to survive the tyrannical toddler years 😉
I like the durability of worsted spun yarn. It works well for hats for my sons. I tend to spin woolen when spinning my own fibers. I like the feel of the air trapped in the fibers.
Such a Lovely looking toque and yarn! Thanks for sharing this.
Hey Rachel I LOVE your hat and the pattern you created. I initially loved worsted yarns because I enjoyed spinning them with their sheen and more structured look. Now that I am learning more and getting more comfortable with creating woollen yarns I am loving there softness and bounce and less strict boundaries!!!! Can’t say I have a favourite yet as I feel like I’m still getting introduced to each of them!!! Ask me in a few more years!! (Susulu69) Suzie
Wow your explain your love for knitting and spinning so well! I am a knitter, and I love cable knitting but am still new to spinning and I am learning a lot about fibres and yarn! Thanks for sharing your gifts and give aways!
ps I didn’t post anything I made myself yet: I am not sure how to do that or if they are worthy enough to post 😬
I like worsted best because of how smooth and nice the yarn and stitches look. Ravely name is lanehampton
Woollen or worsted, love both and love mixing them up, worsted for socks for sure and woollen for sweaters lately.
Backtobasics on ravelry 🙂
Hi, Rachel — Your hat is lovely. I tend to prefer worsted yarn as it looks so great in cables. I ordered some rambouillet roving from Mountain Meadow Wool and it was great to spin. (Feltandfiber) Robin
Hi, Rachel — Your hat is lovely and the yarn looks scrumptious. I tend to prefer worsted yarns because I am so fond of cables. I am working on my long draw, however, so I need to prep some fiber to spin woolen. I do love the warmth and squishiness of woolen yarn. Thanks for your great post. (Feltandfiber) Robin
I’m working on spinning a consistent woolen yarn. To be honest, I haven’t knit with very many woolen spun yarns. I tend to lean towards cables or lace, and I think worsted show off both better.
Rav id is Dorothy
I love Mountain Meadow yarn and I have knit with it alot and have alot in my stash. The mill is only a few hours drive from me and one day I will go and have a tour. Everyone should read their story and try this amazing companies yarn. It feels like farm yarn which i really like. WildNWooley on Rav
I just finished spinning some Targhee from West Coast Color (spun worsted) and I love the warmth and sproingy (perfect word for it!) feel. I suspect Targhee spun woollen would be lighter than air and warm enough for the coldest winters.
I’m a knitter and I love cables so I tend toward worsted yarns for the stitch definition but there is something about the feel of a lofty, haloed woollen spun yarn that always tempts me, and now that I’m learning to spin woollen I’ll have to learn the best ways show off its virtues in fabric.
Rav ID TessaW
They sell top and roving?! I love it when small mills or yarn producers do that! I’m so tempted….
Anyway, when it comes to yarn and spinning I am deeply a woolen yarn girl. I love the speed and magic of long draw, I love the lightness and airiness. I really don’t like it when my knitted projects feel super heavy and dense. When I want durability I add plies or twist but I want to keep some air and elasticity in there because that’s a huge part of what I love about wool.
That being said, if it is a longwool or has silk content spinning it woolen often seems like a waste. There is less elasticity to start with and so much sheen to bring out by a more worsted draft. I am spinning some BFL now and I love the sheen that it has and I want to keep that. So I love how worsted spinning brings out that drapey shininess.
I usually prefer woollen for the “fuzziness” and softness of the yarn, but seem to spin more worsted for specific project lately. The worsted shows off detailed stitches very nicely too.
Rav ID is paleopt… thanks
Woollen or worsted – if it’s from Mountain Meadow Wool I will like it!
I prefer worsted for its strength and stitch definition but I’m also open to woolen. Thank you for the chance this wool is stunning!
Most of my spinning is worsted or a combination of worsted/long draw. I find that full long draw (woolen) yarn tends to pill so the combo spun wool is for me.
Rav ID. ElmPark
I like worsted better for the durability. and with it being a MMW yarn I know I would love it. They have some of the nicest yarns around and they come from farms all around me 🙂
I-hook on raverly
I have never knitted with this yarn. I need to make chemo hats for my adult daughter. Im thinkin this might be too warm for spring. But its very pretty yarn.
Worsted! Just because. – rav: ldelbridge
Ravelry name: Busyb4u! I love your hat. I also love to spin Targhee. I like worsted because that is what I spin the most of. I’m not good at spinning woolen.
Hi, I primarily knit with and spin worsted but have started knitting two sweaters with woolen spun that I purchased and my own woolen handspun yarn. I appreciate the qualities of both styles and do not really have a preference yet. The squish factor of my woolen handspun is amazing! I spun woolen just to try a new technique. It is much faster spinning woolen and less strain on my hands. Thank you for offering this giveaway!
Rave username: craftyamyk
Gorgeous hat! Love the colour and pattern. I didn’t know much about the different ways fibre is spun before reading this. I definitely prefer worsted for the stitch definition and durability.
Your hat is beautiful. Would love to win this yarn as I have not yet knitted with or spun targhee and winning this would be a great opportunity to try out a new breed of yarn.
Rav ID: Fiberdiva_28
Oops. Rav ID: Fiberdiva28. Sorry
I love knowing the difference between worsted and woolen spun yarns, and I like knitting with both depending on the project.
I think I’m a worsted girl, so far..I spin worsted because I enjoy the control..and I’m pretty sure most of the yarns I’ve knit with are worsted spun..with the exception of handspun. Although, there is something to be said for the plump airyness of woolen-spun. Shirley ravID: sarindr
I have no idea what targhee is like either to spin or knit with since I am fairly new to spinning and only recently returned to knitting. When I learned to knit wool was wool and most folk knew diddly about the different breeds. I’m a worsted girl at present but leaning towards woollen simply because of the speed! So much fibre, only one lifetime lol! On Ravelry I am Jemilude 😊
This fiber is gorgeous! I’m BigPoppaJ919 on Ravelry.