I’m often a bit too practical to work with singles yarns. In general they do not hold up to wear as well and often lack the stitch definition of plied yarns. Every once in a while a singles yarn comes along that just sweeps me off of my feet and I put aside my overly analytical side and enjoy the process (and sometimes get proven wrong in my bias for plied yarns). One such yarn is pictured above — the brand new Lana Bambu from Cascade, the manufacturer of one of my favorite workhorse yarns, Cascade 220.
Made mostly of wool, with just a touch of bamboo, this singles yarn subtly shifts tones as you knit. I will admit, I am a sucker for ombre striping and it is often best achieved in a singles yarn. The striping, however, was not the only quality to win me over. The 21% bamboo content adds some heathered quality to the color, gorgeous drape to the fabric as well as a hint of shine and some additional softness. The result is a gorgeously fluid fabric with next to the skin softness unlike many other ombre striping yarns on the market.
The ball band suggests a gauge of 4.5 stitches per inch on a US9 (5.5 mm) needle, which I found produced a fabric of considerable drape and softness. It would be a great choice for accessories that require a fluid fabric and are not exposed to too much friction during wear. I found the fabrics on US8 (5mm) and US7 (4.5mm) needles favorable as well. The fabric maintains flexibility at tighter gauges thanks to the bamboo content. To knit a garment or accessories that take a bit more wear such as mittens or gloves I would likely opt for a gauge of 5 stitches per inch. Upon washing there was some bloom to the fabric causing a slight (~1/4-1/2 stitch per inch) decrease in stitches per inch. That is not uncommon, especially with singles yarns.
Lana Bambu also stood the test of stitch definition. Since the color shifts are more tonal in nature and low contrast they do not overpower moderately complex stitch patterns as seen in the photo above.
With each 100 gram hank containing nearly 200 yards of yarn for less than $15 it is a great choice for accessories that will pop with subtle striping. Try some of the patterns for Noro Kureyon with Lana Bambu for a softer and more subtle look such as:
- Quant Headband from Knitty
- Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf
- Lady Elanor Entrelac Stole from Scarf Style (Ravelry Link)
- Mitered Mittens from EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac or Knitting Around (Ravelry Link)
- Counterpane Carpet Bag from Handknit Holidays (Ravelry Link)
The pattern for the work in progress pictured at the top of the post will be available at the shop shortly. We are knitting up a few examples and testing the pattern right now.
Lana Bambu, made in Italy, distributed by Cascade Yarns of Seattle Washington
Singles (1 ply)
196 yds per 100 gram (3.5 oz) Hank
4.5 sts per inch on US9 (5.5 mm) Needles
Hand Wash Cold, Lay Flat to Dry
Available in 8 Colors