Laceweight Cashmere Comparison

Posted: November 8, 2012 in Ramblings

I know it’s been a while since we had a yarn comparison.  It was kind of silly of me to promise a review of Beaded Silk & Sequins Light versus Beaded Silk Light, since the only diff is the sequins.  So today I’m going to talk about laceweight cashmere yarns, specifically the following:

  • Filatura di Crosa “Superior”
  • Artyarns “Cashmere 2”
  • Jojoland “Cashmere 2-Ply”
  • Jade Sapphire “Mongolian Cashmere 2-Ply”
  • Karabella “Supercashmere Fine”
  • and Little Knits “Indie”

Since three of these have both “cashmere” and “2” in the name, I’ll refer to them by brand name instead of yarn name, for clarity.

In about 2001 I stumbled upon some of the Filatura Superior locally.  Since this is a blend, it’s not quite playing right with my comparisons (the others are all 100% cashmere), but it’s so wonderful that it had to be included.   A brushed cashmere, this yarn is exquisitely soft and quite fine.  Single-stranded I have to go to a size 2 needle to get a nice dense fabric, and that gives me something like 9 stitches to the inch.  (It’s a long time since I used it single-stranded.)  With 330 yards per skein, this 70% cashmere/30% silk yarn has been My Absolute Favorite for the last 11 years.  (Don’t believe me?  Go check out my Rav projects and stash.)  MSRP is currently $30.  Ow.  But if you know where to look you can certainly get it at a lower price.  Webs carries it with their standard 25% pricing discount, but I prefer to order from Jannette’s Rare Yarns in the UK.  Yes, coming from the UK to Seattle takes a long time, but her price is $20 compared to Webs’ best price of $22.46 (both places charge shipping, too).  Once, just as a comparison, I ordered from both these stores on the same day, and the yarn from the UK got here significantly faster, though I suppose this is due to Webs dawdling on shipments, not to time-in-transit.

Where this yarn really shines is when you multistrand it with something.  It adds a delicate haze of color, but an insane pettability factor.  My “Max Sweater” (designed to evoke the big boy) was knit with three strands of yarn throughout, and one of them was the Filatura Superior.  I pet this sweater all the time when I’m wearing it, and so do my family members!  This is a wonderful yarn.  Since I’m not a fan of lace knitting I can’t tell you how well it does with a lace design, but plenty of people on Ravelry do use it as such, so I’m guessing the short halo does not obscure stitchwork much.  The put-up is a 25g ball.

As you probably know by now, I’m an Artyarns dealer.  I’d only worked with the beaded stuff before jumping on their bandwagon, so for my initial order I chose some Cashmere 1 and Cashmere 2.  I was surprised to see, when it got here, that Cashmere 2 is simply two strands of Cashmere 1 wound together.  They’re not plied in the strict sense of the word; not twisted together.  Just skeined in parallel.  But oh, my, I think Iris Schreier (Artyarns founder) maybe sold her soul to the devil for this.  It’s by far the nicest-feeling pure cashmere I’ve ever worked with.  Due to the construction, it’s got a little weirdness going on in the stitches, because of the two parallel strands, but the feeling of it more than makes up for this.

(In case you’re interested:  Artyarns sells their cashmere in a range from Cashmere 1 (the single strand) to Cashmere 5 (5 strands in parallel), with each size skein being the same MSRP of $52, although the yardage goes down as you gain more plies.  I’d recommend buying Cashmere 1 and doing the multistranding yourself, because you’d always have that flexibility of working with one strand, two, or more; if you buy, say, Cashmere 3, you’re kind of stuck using it as a 3-ply unless you want to invest a lot of work un-plying it.)  All the Artyarns are put up in skeins.

Somewhere in between learning about the Filatura and the Artyarns I came across the other four yarns, which are all interchangeable except for price and color.  Look and feel is identical.  These are true two-ply yarns.

Karabella has an MSRP of $25 for a 202-yard skein (25g), and it comes in eleven true solid colors.  Kpixie.com has it on sale for $14.40 a ball, with the coupon code EVERYDAY getting you an extra 10% off.  (I’m not affiliated, just a happy customer.)  This one comes in a ball put-up.

Jojoland (whom I’m also a dealer for) sells a 440-yard skein for an MSRP of $29.99, and it comes in an array of solid colors.  This and the following all come in a 50g skein put-up.

Little Knits sells a 400-yard skein for $22.99, and it comes in a very limited color selection.  At the time of this post it comes in beige, black, burgundy and undyed natural white.

Jade Sapphire sells their 400-yard skein for $47, though you can find this discounted at Webs and other places.  JS has the nicest color range, with solids, variegated, and semisolid colors.

Before Artyarns, I used these four interchangeably and often.  Once I began to dye my own yarns I went for Little Knits and Jojoland most of the time, because of the cost savings, buying the undyed and dyeing it myself.

One thing that surprises me is that both Filatura di Crosa and Jade Sapphire refuse to allow me to be a vendor.  They’ll only sell to brick-and-mortar shops.  The last time I checked, being in business was supposed to be a way to get people to give you money.  Here I am with money, waving it in their faces, but they won’t take it, because I don’t have a storefront.  That seems a bit backwards to me, but since Jojoland’s cashmere is the same as JS’s, I don’t mind.  Sometimes I dye it for fun, and these are listed in the store; sometimes I dye for my stash or for a specific project.

 

L-R: Filatura, Artyarns, Jojoland, Little Knits, Jade Sapphire, Karabella.

I hope this post helps you make an informed decision on buying laceweight cashmere.

 

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