Monday, May 11, 2015

Australian Superfine Merino Yarn Review & Giveaway

After more than ten years of knitting, I can still have new experiences - even with well-covered territory such as merino yarn! This recent merino experience actually took me by surprise: I've spun with it, I've dyed it, I've knit with it, and I've even crocheted with it...I was pretty sure I knew all there was to know about merino!

Turns out, there are four different classifications of merino fiber, sorted by micron count range. At the bottom of the spectrum is Strong Merino, which ranges from 26-22.9 microns; above that is Fine Merino, which ranges from 20.1-23 microns; next up is Extra Fine Merino, which ranges from 20-15.6 microns; and at the very top of the heap is Superfine Merino Wool, with a micron range of 18.5-15.6. If you're into numbers and wondering how these four classes stack up against other fibers you may be familiar with, here are a few for comparison's sake: BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester) has a micron range of 24-28, Cashmere goat down has a range of 14-19 microns, and Angora down has a micron range of 8-15 microns.

Merino Ram - image © Cleckheaton
Just in case you glazed over with all those numbers being thrown your way, I'll summarize: superfine merino wool is really, really soft. As the name would imply, Australian Superfine Merino yarn is made and grown in Australia. It is created with a special partnership with Australian wool growers, who employ sustainable grazing programs to raise their flocks of carefully selected merino sheep. The result is a superfine fiber whose micron count is within range of cashmere.

At this point, you might be worried that this yarn feels delicate or would have a tendency to pill, but here's where things get interesting: the yarn has a very crisp feel to it, with a great deal of twist which gives a bouncy, almost elastic feel, both to the yarn itself and the resulting fabric. If you untwist the yarn a bit, you'll discover that it is created from several two-ply singles which are extremely thin - almost threadlike. Plied together, the yarn feels quite strong, and I am quite convinced that it will not pill very much due to the high twist.
You would think that a highly twisted yarn would feel heavy or inelastic, but as previously stated, that's not the case at all. For my project, I knit the Two Colour Beanie (sans pom pom at the top), a free pattern available here on the Cleckheaton website. The resulting hat is soft, stretchy, squishy and airy. Yes, four adjectives were necessary just then! 
The yarn has rather nice stitch definition in stockinette and a basic rib, and I think it would be an excellent option for colorwork, especially since they offer such a nice spectrum of color options. I'd love to see how it knits up into a more complex stitch pattern, perhaps even some cables. 
As for the other specs, the yarn is a DK weight which comes in a range of 30 colors; each ball is 130m, which is approximately 142 yards. It's also really thoughtfully packaged: the label is on very heavy card stock , and it includes a fabric label which you can use for your finished garment. Additionally, there are a ton of great patterns designed especially for the yarn - everything from accessories to garments for babies, kids and adults. 
It's definitely worth checking out for yourself, and you can order this yarn here in the Cleckheaton online store. One note: the store is located in Australia, so your order will be shipping from there and the prices are in Australian currency (here is a handy converter from AUD to USD). Last I checked, the conversion rate was definitely in our favor - one ball of yarn was approximately $7.75 USD. 

Giveaway Time! 

The folks at Patons have donated a Two Colour Beanie project kit (which includes two skein of yarn, a pattern, and a project bag) for one lucky blog reader to win this month! To be eligible, simply leave a comment on this blog post telling me why you'd like to give this yarn a try. Be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that I can contact you if you win.

If you would like a bonus entry, please like my Facebook Page or follow me on Instagram, then leave another comment on this blog post telling me you did so - just be sure to mention your Facebook or Instagram name so that I can verify everything!

I also recommend following Cleckheaton on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

I will randomly-select one lucky winner to be announced next Monday, May 18 here on this blog. Good luck! 

68 comments:

  1. Ooh, I want to knit with that yarn! I love yarn with that kind of twist. It always feels fancier to me... no idea why.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd love to win this - looks lovely! LaurenS - I do follow you on Instragram Laurensxyz

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, thank you for the lesson. I did not know there were different classifications. Would love to try this yarn! Koviljka on Ravelry.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This yarn looks amazingly soft ... would love to try it. Yum yum! Rav amchart

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have two small boys who have suddenly developed complaints about "itchy wool" but are super busy in life----which equals hard on their clothes. I've been trying various merino yarns and either they're not soft enough or they wear them to bits. I want to find a good standby yarn for some soft and special fall sweaters for very cute little boys!
    Thanks for the yarn education!!!

    tktl on Rav

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love t try new yarns and I love these colors.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I follow you on Istagram as asteride!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Loving this yarn!
    asteride on Ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd love to knit up some of this yarn. It has great stitch definition, and it looks so soft!

    rav dingomaria

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am now following you on Instagram. Thanks again!!

    Ravelry ID - NLemonds

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've never checked the micron count of yarns I've knit with, but I'm pretty sure they're not this low! Would love to try out this super soft yarn!
    alisonj on Rav

    ReplyDelete
  13. It would be great to try this yarn because I've never used anything like it before. I always enjoy trying new things!
    Kimert on Rav

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'd like to win because I'm fed up with knitting my bald-headed husband hats that he doesn't like as much as the first one I ever knitted (in a discontinued felted lambs wool). He complains of itchiness, and when I got an expensive possum yarn which is beautifully soft and light, we found it left his stubbly head covered in fluff! Not a good look. TamsinB on ravelry.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Also following you on Facebook, more yarn education is always a good thing! TamsinB

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have never used this yarn and this hat would be perfect for that purpose. Fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoops. Forgot to mentioned I am sherryglover1 on RAV

      Delete
  17. I liked and commented on Fàcebook as sherry.glover.35

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love the stitch definition! I would love to squish the yarn while I knit with it. Rav: PonchySue

    ReplyDelete
  19. I liked you on FB (Susan Callahan Useman) and have added your shop to my Etsy favorites! I am so loving the mini-grab bag!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've been hearing about this yarn on several knitting podcasts, and am intrigued. Looks like it would make a great pair of fingerless mitts! I'm beginswithac on Ravelry.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I also follow you on Instagram - I'm beginswithac there.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trying something new is always good, and Michigan winters are cold. Blueyarnalways on Rav

      Delete
  23. What a great giveaway! I would love to try some superfine merino since I wasn't even aware what that actually means until now. I do need to further my yarn education after all, and trying new yarns is probably the best way. Also, thank you very much for the education! =)

    TempusMori (Ravelry)

    ReplyDelete
  24. The first item I made with superfine merino was a pair of fingerless gloves for my mother. Four years and lots of use later they have never pilled and still look new and are soft, cozy and warm.
    Would love to make a hat as well.
    Already follow you on instagram.
    Thank you for doing this giveaway.
    NanaMamah on Rav & instagram

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for the opportunity! I'm always interested in different wool!

    ReplyDelete
  26. This yarn looks so soft and squishy. I would love to try it and see how it works up. It sounds wonderful to work with. My ravelry user name is littlemomto2

    ReplyDelete
  27. I always enjoy trying new to me yarns! Especially one that has been described so nicely! Thanks for the giveaway! Mamagiff on ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've been following you on Instagram. My username is francesgiff

    ReplyDelete
  29. I would love to give this yarn a try and make that super cute hat for one of my boys... How cute :)

    twinmommycreation on Ravelry
    twinmommycreations@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. This looks like such a soft yarn and has such good stitch definition. I would be do delighted if I could give it a try.

    rosebudscott1@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Liked and signed up on Facebook

    Jillana Reuter

    ReplyDelete
  32. I love to try new yarns from other countries. This one looks especially soft.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'd like to give it a try because I love knitting with yarns the have a good twist. This yarn looks amazing! PamonMars on rav

    ReplyDelete
  34. I just looks so very soft!!
    Denise
    aka Sorka on Rav!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'd love to try a new to me yarn. I like your FB page

    ReplyDelete
  36. This yarn looks really nice. I'd love to try it.
    Lmecoll on Ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  37. I would love this as I have lost a little bit of my knitting mojo lately. I feel like a simple yet lovely project like this would be just the thing to get me rolling again!

    gqoh85 on Rav

    ReplyDelete
  38. I need a good travel project - this looks like


    Hipknitizer on Rav

    ReplyDelete
  39. The yarn looks gorgeous! I would love to try knitting with something this yummy to get me out of my knitting funk.
    Rav id: loveofcuteness

    ReplyDelete
  40. That would be the perfect yarn for chemo or baby hats, wouldn't it? If I could give it up. Followed already on facebook and instagram as smartmouthed

    ReplyDelete
  41. Love the total portability of the kit.
    Love Australian merino.
    Love to win it
    poodlelady on Ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  42. This is a yarn I heard about from Knit Girllls and would love to try

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I already like you on FB same name as I posted with above and IG (craftyknitter7)

      Delete
  43. Looks lovely to knit with!
    Lindacee on rav.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Would love to try this gorgeous yarn. Looks amazing. Grammacher on Ravelry.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I also follow you on Instagram. Grammacher on Ravelry.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks for the opportunity to win the kit. I have never knitted a beanie and this yarn looks wonderful. My name on Ravelry is janfromseattle

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for the opportunity to win the kit. I have never knitted a beanie and this yarn looks wonderful. My name on Ravelry is janfromseattle

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I want to knit with it because I like merino, and want to try superfine.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I would love to win this yarn because I enjoy making hats, both for myself and for charity, and am always on the lookout for a simple, classic hat. Thank you so much!
    Suzieknittingmama on Ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  50. I also follow you on Facebook --I am Susan Ipavec on there

    ReplyDelete
  51. I would love to try this yarn just to feel its softness!! My Rav id is rosyretro and I'm also on FB under the same name :-)

    ReplyDelete
  52. I love yarns with good stitch definition, and I am intrigued by the comparison to a cashmere micron count, as I raise cashmere goats! Thank you for this lovely giveaway opp :)
    Quinn on rav

    ReplyDelete
  53. Gosh I thought I had entered your giveaway, but I sure can't find my post. Please enter me in the drawing. This yarn looks lovely and would make wonderful cables with that nice, tight twist. Thanks much.

    ReplyDelete
  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I would love to try this yarn because of its softness! Thanks for the giveaway!

    JKnits51 on Ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  56. I follow you on Instagram.

    JKnits51 on Instagram
    JKnits51 on Ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  57. Wow - that stitch definition! Simply gorgeous.
    My Rav id is YeaIKnit

    ReplyDelete
  58. Im now following you on Instagram as well (dra5150)

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'd love to try the yarn since merino is my favorite type of wool.

    purple on Ravelry

    ReplyDelete
  60. This yarn is such a pretty color.

    ReplyDelete
  61. This yarn looks so beautiful, but I really wanted to comment on the ram and although they produce a beautiful fleece, I'm so glad that I'm not the shearer. Look at all those folds that have to be avoided.

    ReplyDelete