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)!