|Fingerless Gloves worked in Himalayan Trail|
Full disclosure, I was sent the yarn by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter, of Stitchcraft Marketing. They help coordinate online and promotional things with Bijou Spun. I also spent a good 45 minutes talking to Carl (one of the owners of Bijou) at Rhinebeck, and was thoroughly charmed.
I decided to request two often problematic colors: a strong red and a strong yellow. If there was any problem with dye bleed, I wanted to know about it. I'm happy to report that I needn't have worried. The yarn is completely colorfast, and the colors are strong and vibrant.
Let me share with you what this yarn is and isn't. I was sent Bijou's Himalayan Trail, which comes in a skein of 2 oz and 200 yards. It's 75% Yak Down and 25% Super Fine Merino. It's a 2 ply yarn, rather loose/medium spun (it's not quite totally loosely spun, it it isn't quite medium either), and hovers around a sportweight yarn. The price seems to hover around $25.
Normally I'd be wary about two ply yarns not spun tightly; in my experience they tend to be rather prone to splitting. Perhaps because of the down's fuzziness, or the general properties of the yarn, I found the two strands liked to "cling" to each other. That meant that they were a lot less prone to splitting than I expected.
Stitch definition is pretty good - again, something about the yarn seems to mean it deviates from the norm. Part of this is because even though the yarn is a little "fuzzy," the fuzzies are not overwhelming.
The yarn's got a springy and lofty feel, and it comes across as sturdy and on the softer side. The loft is amazing. As soon as I got this yarn I knew it was destined for things that were warm and snuggly: garter stitch, brioche and ribbing all came to mind. Stockinette doesn't do the yarn justice. Cables and colorwork are good options too.
Now, a couple of things to be aware of. These are not quite detractors, but they are things to take into consideration.
When I made my pair of fingerless gloves, I did deliberately choose to seam them together. I wanted to see how the yarn stood up to the stresses of seaming - as I had a sneaking suspicion that this yarn wouldn't be the best. My seams were about 3-4" long, and while the yarn did hold up, it looked pretty worse for wear when I was done. If I was seaming up a sweater or other garment, I'd probably choose to do the seaming in another yarn. The Yak Down, being a shorter staple length, means that I'd probably break the yarn if I was working a long seam. In fact, I can easily break the yarn in my hands, without even pulling that hard. That isn't surprising. Yak Down is a very short staple length, and I'm sure the Merino is doing the bulk of the work holding the yarn together.
Also, I think it'd do well to one or two unravelings, but if you were working a project and you knew you might be ripping back a lot... this wouldn't be the project to use this yarn. I'd also be careful about which way you pull the yarn from the yarn cake: if you were going in the wrong direction, I could see you removing some of the twist from the yarn and that could be frustrating. Still, I have that problem with a lot of other yarns, so it's more something to be aware of.
|Swatch worked in brioche.|
I've been wearing my fingerless gloves for nearly a week and a half. Pilling or shedding hasn't been a problem. I wouldn't choose this yarn for something that was meant for rugged wear: neither socks nor shoveling mittens would be a good choice. But things like hats, cowls, sweaters worn close to the skin, fingerless mitts, and shawls would be great choices. Still, I think those detractors are a fair tradeoff, considering the other pluses.
An I will say this much, I've worked a couple of different design proposals in this yarn in the last couple of days, which means I like it enough to work with it! And I'm picky!