As much as I enjoy knitting lace and fine-gauge projects, absolutely nothing beats the satisfaction of working with a super-bulky yarn—especially when it’s a nice and chunky merino wool yarn like Yarnalia’s Softy. I love watching the huge stitches form on large needles, and how the simplest stitch patterns transform into showpieces when they’re worked at a large scale. And, of course, there’s nothing like the instant gratification of completing a full project within a matter of hours.
Roving-style single-ply yarns, which is the category that Softy falls into, take the gratification of knitting at a big gauge to a whole other level of indulgence. These soft and wooly yarns put the experience of working with natural fiber front and center. Softy, made from lightly spun 100% fine merino, features a tenaciously rounded yet buoyant strand that’s lush and creamy to the touch. The strand blooms as it unwinds from the ball, evening out any natural irregularities that occur from the loose spinning process.
While super-bulky single-ply yarns typically recall Instagram-worthy images of chunky garter-stitch blankets knitted on lazy Sunday afternoons, Softy can go to bat for a versatile range of projects.
The lofty spin can be worked over a wide range of gauges, from US 13/9mm to US 19/15mm. Worked on a US 13 needle, it creates a dense, marshmallowy fabric that would work well for chill-proof hats and structured jackets.
On a US 19 needle, fabrics take on a cloud-like lightness and soft drape that’s perfect for chunky, close-wearing cowls. (Take care to reserve harder-wearing projects for the smaller end of the needle spectrum: Like every roving-style yarn, Softy will develop a fuzzy patina over time, which happens more quickly at looser gauges.) At 49 yards per 100g ball, one skein is enough for a fitted beanie or neck warmer.
Another aspect of Softy’s versatility is its surprising strength. Loosely-spun single-plied yarns have a reputation for being delicate, but Softy is break- and shed-resistant thanks to the long staple of the merino fiber. This means it can lend itself to stitches that require more strain, such as worked increases and decreases or more complex cabling. Cables in Softy are definite show-stoppers, with each stitch writ large in gleaming merino fiber.
Like any roving-style yarn, Softy’s loose-spun fibers have a tendency to catch on sharp needle tips. Stick to using more blunt needles and pay attention as you work. This is a yarn that invites you to slow down and enjoy the process; after all, at two stitches to the inch, you can afford to take your time.
Are you enjoying the process of working with Softy? Tag us @yarnalia when you post your WIPs on Instagram!