I know I have been away for a little while and definitely longer than I had wanted to so I will be making up for it this week.
This is my long overdue review of Panda Wool by Crystal Palace.
Panda Wool is the wooly sister of Panda Cotton and it is a slightly thinner yarn with different fiber content of 46% bamboo, 43% wool and 11% nylon. I was slightly puzzled when I looked at the label as it suggests needle sizes ranging between 1-2.5. I have not seen size 2.5 on sock labels that much, if at all. That is until I looked at the Crystal Palace bamboo dpn sizes – hint, they offer 2.5 and a 3.5 within their size range.
Given that I did not have 2.5 size needles and don’t like knitting with size 1 (I admit I am bad), I cast on with size 2 needles and got approximately 6.5 stitches to an inch. Panda Wool has a soft hand and does not split while knitting. Though while I was trying to knit and watch television (at the same time), I did occasionally snag the nylon that runs through the yarn.
Panda Wool does not have the elasticity of Panda Cotton but I don’t believe that such elasticity was intended. However, my stockinette stitch swatch had plenty give and bounced right back after being stretched out. When I compared the two swatches (Panda Wool to Cotton), my hands told me that Panda Wool was smoother.
Before blocking my swatch looked smooth and I did not think that it needed to be blocked for a sharper look. I was wrong. Blocking did make my swatch sharper and smoother and gave it almost a drape. It also gave my swatch a halo, which I believe to be the bamboo blooming.
I feel it is important for me to note that the label of Panda Wool calls for hand washing. So of course I threw my swatch in to the washer. My swatch came out of the cold water gentle cycle just fine. No loss of color and or shape after laying flat dry (no machine drying for hand knit socks for me – regardless of the yarn). Then I threw my swatch in with warm water in gentle cycle. Again my swatch came out fine. However, please note that label recommends hand washing and most definitely no machine drying (I know I am repeating myself).
The substantial feel of the knitted fiber, the smoothness of the yarn during knitting, and the multi-textured look of the yarn and the resulting knitted garment are the things I like most about Panda Wool. As you too can see in the swatch photos Panda Wool has almost a tweed like look. According to the nice folks at Crystal Palace the tweed like look happens when the different components of Panda Wool take the spray dye differently especially when the nylon component comes out with a lighter pearly shine.
As usual there are free sock patterns at the Crystal Palace website for Panda Wool. Ana, our store manager, also knitted a very cute pair of socks with her personal stash of Panda Wool, which she has kindly agreed to share with us. I will post this pattern this week under the free patterns section and post a photo or two.
Hope you are all knitting with a smile.
Fulay (aka Sue)