We finally received our Panda line from Crystal Palace and since Panda Cotton came in first I thought I would give you a quick sneak peak of it first. We did receive a much bigger selection of Panda Wool, which I will post tomorrow evening but as I said Panda Cotton first.
Panda Cotton is made of 55% bamboo, 24% cotton and 21% elastic, which results in a soft and smooth fiber that takes the dye in unusually bright jewel tones for a yarn with this much bamboo content. If you are surprised about this comment please see the subtle color combinations of the Trekking Pro Natura a wool bamboo blend sock yarn (not a negative, just an observation).
I cast on and knitted my swatch with size 2 needles and got approximately 6 stitches to an inch. While knitting the yarn was smooth and soft to touch and did not split however, the 4 ply make did untwist and came apart at times, especially in the beginning. This was a non-issue as my swatch got bigger.
The elasticity of the yarn does not figure into the gauge (like with Cascade’s Fixation), or the knitting tension, but makes a lovely addition to the value of Panda Cotton once you are done knitting. What exactly does this mean? Panda Cotton will create well fitting socks, hats and booties without making the knitter go wonky with worry while knitting…is this going to be too tight or too loose; will I have to frog to correct the fit, etc.
The swatch photographed here is not blocked. That being said once blocked my swatch smoothed out and stitch definiton was even sharper. After blocking I also threw my swatch into a luke warm wash and washed it in the gentle cycle with a soft perfume free soap that I use for my children’s clothes. My swatch dried up with no shrinkage and did not bleed or fade (note, I did not machine dry my swatch – it air dried after being flattened by hand onto a towel).
It is my humble opinion that Panda Cotton is a sophisticated bamboo cotton blend yarn with a surprising level of elasticity and durability. The closest compare is Cascade’s Fixation. Panda wool is softer (not grainy or pebble like Fixation), and a finer gauge yarn. Clearly the comparison ends there as Fixation has no bamboo while Panda Cotton has 55% bamboo content. Please note, I am not saying that one yarn is better than the other simply comparing and contrasting.
In summary, if you are looking for a non-wool yarn that has more to offer than just a good-old cotton alternative Panda Cotton is your yarn. The fact that Panda Cotton is machine washable and comes with free patterns designed for/by the nice folks at Crystal Palace are just a few more of the extras.
PS. I am using the rest of my Panda Cotton ball to make a hat for my 2 year old, which has turned in to a fun project.
Sending good thoughts your way.
Fulay (aka Sue)