Monday, June 11, 2007

Rowan Calmer yarn review

I traded my remaining Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton with Stitch-ay Woman for some Calmer and Bamboo. Here's the review for Calmer, in both knitting and crochet:

Fiber content: 80% cotton 20% Elitè Polyester Fiber (I have no idea why that’s an accent grave, that’s what it says on the label)

1 Ball Contains: 50g, approx 160m (175 yds)

Price: From what I can find, it retails for $11.50 to $14.00 American. According to Rowan’s website, it’s either not available in Canada, or they haven’t updated their website. The distributer is in England, though that doesn’t explain why there are dozens of retailers in the US and none in Canada.

Label’s Gauge and Needle Size: 4″ st st = 21sts and 30 rows on size 8 needles. (nothing for crochet)

My Gauge, Pre-Wash: Knit - 4″ st st = 24 sts and 28 rows on size 8 needles. Crochet - I didn’t sc for long enough to get a set gauge, but I used an H hook (5mm), and it’s about the same size as the knit swatch. If I was making clothing, I’d go a size or two bigger since this made a fairly stiff fabric.

Post-Wash: No change.

Colour Range: At least 16 colours according to The colour I have, Garnet, isn’t on the card, so there are probably a few more new ones.

Washing Instructions: Hand wash, dry clean in only certain solvents, do not tumble dry, dry flat out of direct heat and sunlight.

Calmer is the stretchiest yarn that I’ve ever used. Amy mentioned in the book that it's comparable to wool, though having never used wool, I don't know personally. It was hard to use at first, and I had to cast on several times before I was used to it, and then started the swatch over at one point because it was much wider than I wanted it to be. I tried stockinette with a garter edge, k2tog yo every few stitches for a row, double seed stitch, and cabling. The yarn overs looked alright, but I wasn’t a fan of double seed stitch with it. The cables were great, the elasticity makes it an excellent choice for a cabled sweater, I can see why the designer of Morrigan chose it. It’s incredibly soft, both on the ball and knit up.

Once I got used to the stretchiness, the only downsides were the price and having to handwash. To knit Morrigan, I’d need 13 balls for a 41.25″ bust. The largest, 55.25″, takes 20 balls, and the smallest, 36.5″, takes 11. So if I wanted to knit Morrigan, I’d be looking at around $169 for yarn, not including the taxes and shipping. However, I’d have a beautiful sweater that would keep me in knitting for months.

The colour in the knit swatch picture is more accurate.

While crocheting, I had the same issue when making the chain as when casting on, but once I got going, it was nice to crochet with. I did sc, hdc, dc, some shells, then back to sc at the top and an sc row around.

As most people who do both crafts know, crocheting uses up 33% more yarn. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you probably won’t want to use this for large crochet projects, like a lacy sweater. It’d be great for smaller projects, like a cute handbag, slippers, etc. However, if you have a huge stash of these and want to use them up, crocheting is the way to go.

Overall, a great yarn, I’d definitely use it again.

x-posted to my blog.


Kristina said...

That looks great, Amethyst! Love the colour.

Also love the Rowan cotton (much to my chagrin). FYI I live in Toronto and it is available at at least one store here (Romni on Queen St). $15.95 cdn per skein. I bought mine (for a future Morrigan) on line from a UK website for a big discount - $5.50-$6.00 cdn per skein approx.

Amethyst said...

Thanks :)

And what website was that?

Kristina said...

Oh - sorry amethyst... thought I put it in!!htm

If for some reason this link doesn't work, check out the main page:

and click on the "Yarn Bargains" link.

Check out the Rowan All Seasons Cotton as well - I got some of that at the same time and love it!

Re. the Calmer, they have one colour left - Blush (deep pink). The good price is because this has been discontinued, I think.

I'm told that there have been recent bargains on eBay for Calmer as well...

Kate M said...

It looks like their ebay store has the pale orange on sale for US$4 per ball:

Stitch-ay Woman said...

Oooh-- it's so exciting to see our trade turn into a review! Cool.
Don't forget to follow up with a review of the Bamboo!!