Yarn Reviews

Yarn Review

We take a look at what’s new for the Spring/Summer 2017 season

Traditionally the warmer months can be a difficult time for yarn shops as people take advantage of the longer days and spend more time outside. Over more recent years though there has been a slow, but steady change, and makers no longer down their hooks or needles, instead they’re much more likely to have their latest project with them all year round.

So, if like us, you knit no matter what the weather, why not join us for a look at what’s new for this season?

bear in sheep's clothing yarn

Bear in Sheep’s Clothing

Bear BFL Sock

Shade Pictured King Titan’s Fury
Fibre Content 75% Blue-faced Leicester/25% Nylon
Ball Weight/Length 100g = 400m
Needle Size None Specified
Tension None specified


Northern Ireland-based Bear in Sheep’s Clothing brings us luxury yarn, lovingly dyed. The Blue-faced Leicester/Nylon blend is the perfect combination of strength and luxury: it’s strong enough for a shawl and gentle enough for socks.

The shade we knitted – King Titan’s Fury – is a distinct gradient with a long repeat which means we didn’t get near the glorious cream shade in the middle of the skein. The green speckle shade though is a beautiful bottle green with random flecks of navy, yellow, cream and brown dotted throughout.

It’s beautifully soft with neat stitches that would lend itself well to a detailed shawl or jazzy socks. The lightness of the yarn make it an ideal material for a summer shawl or a cute pair of socks for those summer evenings.


Secret Garden

Shade Pictured 709 Lily Pond
Fibre Content 20% Silk, 20% Cotton, 60% Polyester
Ball Weight/Length 50g = 93m/102yds
Needle Size 4mm
Tension 18 stitches x 23 rows


Secret Garden was a pleasure to knit with from the beginning. The Easy start tab attached to the end of the yarn really does help when it comes to starting the ball. Its loose roving style construction, coupled with the little ‘nubs’ make for a slightly rustic looking yarn. However, Secret Garden feels anything but ‘rustic’ and is next-to-skin soft instead.

There are 10 variegated shades available in the range with another eight newly released blended Uni colours. The transitions in the one we tested were quite long and as a result our sample doesn’t include the turquoise shade that comes next.

We knitted it on 4mm needles to the suggested tension, but think it is an adaptable yarn, one which would also work well knitted to a looser gauge.

DY Choice

Baby Cloud Aran

Shade Pictured 03 Lemon
Fibre Content 76% Viscose/24% Polyester
Ball Weight/Length 100g = 160m/175yds
Needle Size 5mm
Tension 18 stitches x 26 rows


Newly released for Spring/Summer, Baby Cloud Aran by DY Choice is a super soft yarn, ideal for quick ‘little people’ projects. The yarn’s chain construction ensures a lovely even tension, whether knitted or crocheted. Available in 10 candy shades, including classic white and ecru, there’s a Baby Cloud Aran colour for every baby.

The high viscose content creates a comfortable fabric, with a silken handle, perfect for next-to-skin closeness. The yarn’s chained construction ensures your project will retain its shape and in our swatch you can see the lovely even tension the yarn produces when knitted.

Expect to see several classic baby knit designs released by DY Choice to accompany their Baby Cloud Aran yarn. One of our favourites is the little vest with centre cable panel down the front (DYP330). Cuteness in the extreme.


Toscana DK

Shade Pictured 1115 Val d’ Orcia
Fibre Content 100% Cotton
Ball Weight/Length 100g = 212 m/232 yds
Needle Size 4mm
Tension 22 stitches x 28 rows


There has been a trend over the past couple of years for the big mills to release fewer fashion yarns for the warmer months. Instead, they have chosen to concentrate their efforts on creating ‘classic’ yarns with a fashion twist. Toscana DK is one such yarn – a traditional mercerised double knit cotton with a subtle phased colour effect that’s not as scary as the ‘in your face’ brights of Summer 2017, but a slightly more toned down and much more wearable version for most of us.

As you would expect from Sirdar this standard double knit mercerised cotton yarn has perfect stitch definition and the finished fabric has a lovely drape to it. When you study the yarn in more detail, you will notice that the dye hasn’t completely saturated the yarn, leaving parts un-dyed. It is this partially dyed effect that creates the ‘less is more’ gentle colour transitions when knitted. Currently, there are six summery shades available to choose from.

Sirdar have released a design collection of several patterns to accompany Toscana DK, including summer tops and cardigans, but the yarn is also compatible with the vast library of their other double knit designs, both crochet and knitting.

Blacker Yarns

Samite Silk Blend

Shade Pictured Autumn Bowers
Fibre Content 20% Silk, 80% Pure New Wool
Ball Weight/Length 100g = 460m/478yds
Needle Size 2.75mm
Tension 28 stitches x 34 rows


A silk, wool blend, Samite is a beautiful woollen spun yarn, newly released by Blacker Yarns in time for the warmer months. Composed of 30% Blue-faced Leicester, 40% Shetland, 20% Silk and 10% of fibre taken from Sue Blacker’s own Gotland Flock, Samite is Blacker Yarns’ homage to the history of textile manufacturing.

The combination of pale and dark fibres creates a yarn rich in colour with delicate neps of silk. Ahimsa Silk is humane, having come from worms that have been allowed to hatch.

Sonja Bargielowska has designed two free patterns for Samite, which is ideal for cables, colourwork and lace if worked at a looser tension.

Our little swatch was knitted in the Autumn Bowers shade, which is one of 15 colourways available. We love the slightly textured feel of the knitted fabric, with the little silk bumps, randomly dotted throughout. The four different fibres have all grabbed the dye differently, resulting in a slightly tonal effect.


Fine Merino DK

Shade Pictured 2535 Bluebell
Fibre Content 100% Wool
Ball Weight/Length 50g = 120m/131yds
Needle Size 4mm
Tension 22 stitches x 30 rows


The Yarn Stories range of yarns are a firm favourite of ours. They use superior fibres to produce beautiful luxury yarns. Made from 100% Merino Wool and spun in their Yorkshire Mill, the Fine Merino DK is a gorgeous plump yarn, which we reviewed in a previous issue.

The release of two new shades for Spring/Summer 2017 Bluebell and Fennel ensure you’ll find a colour for every one of your projects. An ideal choice whether knitting or crochet, Fine Merino DK is perfect for colourwork.

Rico Design

Essential Cotton D

Shade Pictured 53
Fibre Content 100% Cotton
Ball Weight/Length 50g = 130m/142yds
Needle Size 3 – 4mm
Tension 22 – 28 stitches


100% mercerised cotton, Rico Essential Cotton DK is a classic staple yarn for year-round projects, which comes into its own when used in garments for the warmer months. The yarn itself is smooth with an even consistency that knits up easily with an even tension and great stitch definition. The light fabric has a lovely sheen to it and drapes well.

The release of six new colourways for Spring/Summer 2017 means there are currently 55 different shades available, giving you infinite possibilities. Ideal for both knitting and crochet, Rico Design have a wealth of pattern support available and have added several new designs this season.



Shade Pictured 2563 Verde
Fibre Content 60% Polyester/30% Viscose
Ball Weight/Length 50g = 107m/117yds
Needle Size 8 mm
Tension 16 – 12 stitches x 16 rows


Ribbon yarns often get a bad press in the industry and to be fair, sometimes it’s not without reason. The very nature of these yarns means they twist and spin on themselves and your stitches will never be perfect and even. That is unless you’re incredibly mindful of every turn of your needle. The finished fabric is therefore ‘textured’; fine once you know what to expect, however, ribbon yarns can often be heavy when made up too. This can cause your beautiful garment to drop, sag and look pretty dreadful if you’re not careful, enter stage left Mystique from Stylecraft.

This beautiful, non-woven, light yarn, made from a polyester, viscose blend knits up to form an incredibly airy fabric. With a lovely soft handle to it, there are currently six stonewashed shades available, which are completely in keeping with the current trend for quick, easy summer projects on large hooks and needles and complement the texture of the yarn perfectly.

We knitted our swatch in shade 2563 Verde and love how the washed-out look and openness of the stitches combine. So much so there could well be a summer make in our future.


Love It Prints

Shade Pictured 5051 Pink Splash
Fibre Content 100%  Acrylic
Ball Weight/Length 100g = 220m/229yds
Needle Size 4mm
Tension 22 stitches x 31 rows


Wendy Love It Prints, is a newly released, silky smooth acrylic yarn. Easy care, Love It knits to form a soft, versatile fabric, ideal for all kinds of projects; garments, homewares and accessories. The smooth construction and wide range of colours make it an ideal choice for crochet and it will lend itself particularly well to blankets and toys.

There are currently four shades of Wendy Love It Prints available and they work particularly well when used as a contrast to the solid shades.

Louisa Harding


Shade Pictured 06 Donna Rosa
Fibre Content 50% Cotton, 50% Acrylic
Ball Weight/Length 100g = 160m/175yds
Needle Size 4.5 – 5.5mm
Tension 16 – 20 stitches 


Newly released by Louisa Harding, Marmo is a worsted weight cotton blend yarn. It takes its name from the Italian word for marble or to marble and is a soft yarn ideal for warmer weather makes.

A smooth plied yarn, Marmo is a marled variegated yarn with quite short colour transitions. Currently there are eight shades available to choose from. Knitted up Marmo produced a light fabric, different to most worsted weight cottons, due in no small part to its 50% acrylic content. The fabric has a lovely cottony feel and drapes well, with colours that are rich and vibrant. Marmo would make an ideal yarn for summer accessories.

Debbie Bliss


Shade Pictured 8
Fibre Content 45% Silk, 40% Cotton, 15% Polyamide
Ball Weight/Length 100g = 220m/229yds
Needle Size 5.5mm
Tension 20 stitches x 30 rows


Sita by Debbie Bliss is an elegant combination of Mulberry Silk and Mako Cotton. Mako Cotton, for those of you that are none the wiser (only me then?), is a very fine cotton, spun from extra-long staple Egyptian fibre.

Pure silk yarn, or even cotton for that matter, can often be quite heavy when thicker than a double-knit weight, and this can result in garments that sag with wear. The chain construction of Sita creates a much lighter yarn that retains the drape of the silk.

Sita was a pleasure to work with and our knitted swatch is soft and light, with a beautiful silky sheen. The resulting fabric should cause no sensitivity when worn next to the skin, while the two fibres’ temperature regulating properties will allow the skin to breathe on those balmy days.

A book of eight classic tanks and sleeveless tops to complement the Sita yarn has been produced to accompany the yarn. Your hardest decision will be choosing which of the 12 jewel-like shades to use.