fall/winter 2017/18 yarn review

4:22 PM



I had the pleasure to review three new yarns from Rowan this past month. They are a much welcomed addition to the Rowan Yarns core collection; two tweeds and an upscale, everyday dk weight yarn. First up are much beloved by Rowan and its devotees, the tweeds, Valley Tweed and Cashmere Tweed. I was happy to see these two much needed yarns to help fill out their tweed landscape.


Valley Tweed (pictured above and below) is a 100% UK wool spun in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, the home of Rowan. Valley Tweed is a sport weight yarn and knits at 24 st per 4 in on a size US3 (3.23mm) needle.  The fabric is very lightweight and feels more like a fingering weight, but once you wash it, the beautiful bloom of the yarn fills the fabric and it indeed has a sport weight gauge.  The tweed fabric is very fine and well blended and gives a light-handed tweedy look. It doesn't smack you in the face with an overpowering tweediness--its tweedy features are quiet and subtle. And beautiful. So beautiful. The yarn is springy and very easy to knit.  The fabric once knitted, is very soft, much softer than you think it would be when you feel it in the skein and while you are knitting. It is next-to-the-skin soft, yet very strong; the yarn is difficult to break. The put up is 226 yd in 50 gr and is very well priced. The color selection is limited with 10 shades, but I imagine that will grow as this yarn gains in popularity. While I love this at gauge, I think Valley Tweed would be great in one of those shawl patterns that uses bigger needles to create an airy fabric. The natural bloom would make it shine. Also, I imagine any pattern that uses Rowan Felted Tweed DK would be interchangeable with VT, but the garment will be MUCH softer in VT. Vally Tweed is hand-washable and gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from this knitter. It's gorgeous and if I had to choose my favorite of the three I'm reviewing today, this would be it.  I adore subtle tweeds and this is a winner.  




The next tweed is Cashmere Tweed, (pictured above) a luxurious blend of extra fine merino and cashmere.  The put up is 96 yd to 25 gr and knits to 22 st per 4 in with a size US 6 (4mm) needle. I knit this on a size 6 needles and got 20 st per 4 in and liked the look of it very much.  I changed my needles to a 5 and was able to get gauge at 22 per 4 in.  I could see this yarn working well for either gauge and would be a matter of preference. It is also a very strong yarn--you'll have to give it quite a good tug to break it. It knits easily with good spring and bounce. The fabric is classic tweed--a bit oatmealy in texture, with the slightly uneven stitches that we love in tweeds. It is extremely soft and has a lofty, aerated feel to me.  It's lovely and would make a beautiful lightweight garment that would be snug and cozy. Because it is so lightweight, it would be great in garter stitch or cables or any stitch that you think might weigh down an ordinary yarn. Cashmere Tweed has a limited selection of 8 colors, all pretty, and like Valley Tweed above, I assume the color choices will grow as the yarn becomes more popular.  It is also hand wash, and I give it another enthusiastic thumbs up.


Next is Alpaca Soft DK, (pictured above) a much needed addition to Rowan's core collection. Alpaca Soft is an elegant and well-balanced uber-soft blend of 70% wool and 30% alpaca.  It has a wonderful feel in the hand, bouncy and well-behaved, and creates a fine fabric with even stitches.  The fabric, with the addition of alpaca, is very pliable, but the merino majority gives it much needed structure and stability which makes this yarn a stand-out.  Softness and stability-it's a team that's hard to beat. It really is a very well-balanced blend, I just don't know how to describe it any better.  This would work well for any garment that calls for a dk weight, but it is hand-wash so probably not best for children's wear. The stockinette fabric is pretty enough on it's own, but I imagine cables would positively glow in this yarn. The put-up is 137 yd in 50 gr and is available in an adequate selection of 16 very pretty colors--a good mix of neutrals and brights. It's lovely, and you guessed it, Alpaca Soft DK gets another thumbs up from this knitter!

Information links:

Alpaca Soft DK


All three yarns should be available at your favorite Rowan stockist and all three have supporting pattern books available as well. However, as they are sport and dk weight yarns, there are literally hundreds/thousands of patterns out there that would work for these lovely yarns.  I can't wait to see what knitters come up with.  As for me, you know I like my sweaters plain and simple and want the fabric and the fit to take center stage, so my first project will likely be this pretty v-neck in Valley Tweed. I just don't know what could be prettier!

Dearne by Lisa Richardson.
Although I do like this one too!  Wold, also by Lisa Richardson.


What do you think? To let me know, please click here.


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11 comments

  1. Would love to try all three - based on your review, though, might go with the Valley Tweed first - looks yummy!

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    1. I hope you like it as much as I do. Other favorable reviews are popping up, so I think it is going to be a winner.

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  2. Great review Kristen! I am very intrigued by Valley Tweed. Marie Wallin just released a collection with it as a featured yarn. I am looking forward to going to a yarn store and giving it a squeeze!

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    1. It's not a soft yarn in the skein, but is much softer when it's knitted up. It really surprised me how much I liked it!

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  4. Thank you very much for this terrific yarn review! Valley Tweed sounds like it might be better than cashmere tweed in some ways, as it is still very soft but is probably more durable and less expensive?

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    1. VT is very soft as a fabric, but if you are looking for the softest of soft knitting experiences, then the Cashmere Tweed would be the choice. VT is my preference because for one, it uses tiny needles (US 3) and I love smaller needles. Just my thing!

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  5. If I was forced to knit with only one type/texture of yarn it would be tweed, so thank you for this wonderful review and the beautiful pictures, Kristen. You even assembled my favorite color combos. Chloe

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    1. I love a good tweed too, and recently I figured out that I love the finer, more blended tweeds better than the tweeds with big chunks in them (I hope you know what I mean!).

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  6. I love tweed yarns, especially Rowan tweeds and agree that they are much needed and are great for winter knits. I want to try the Valley Tweed!

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    1. Yes, I feel that Rowan has the corner on good tweeds. I loved their Rowanspun, Scottish Tweed, and I know there were a lot others that I loved. VT is a beaut.

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