I've been given the chance by online yarn seller Laughing Hens to review Rowan's latest A/W offering 'Softest Merino Wool' before it goes on general sale*, so here's my thoughts and findings.
Vital Statistics: Weighing in at 100g with an approximate length of 100 metres, this is a 100% wool yarn comprising superwash merino. The 'superwash' bit means that the yarn has been processed so that it can be machine washed and won't felt afterwards.
Its recommended needle size of 7mm indicates it being a 'chunky' weight and when it comes to the tension, a swatch should measure (depending on your own personal tension) 10cm x 10cm using 19 rows and 13.5 stitches using those 7mm needles.
Squishability: This yarn is undeniably soft and would make the cosiest, yet lightweight winter cardigan. I reckon it would drape well too and wouldn't have any unwanted bulkiness.
Versatility: I checked out Rowan's website to see what pattern support is available, but there's nothing showing as yet. No doubt they'll be issuing patterns for a variety of jumpers, cardigans and accessories ready in time for autumn knitting. I reckon that this yarn would work well with textured stitches like moss or bramble and also for cables too.
Value for Money: The RRP is £10.50 per ball, which for a 100g ball of merino wool is comparable to other brands offering the same weight, length and yarn composition. Just to put it into actual quantities for a small knitting project, I thought that I'd see how much it would cost to knit up a snood using a pattern from Rowan's 'Boho Chic' book that uses a similar chunky yarn weight.
Final Verdict: I do like this merino yarn as it felt so smooth to knit with; especially using wooden needles - it virtually glided along the them! If I could find a wearable accessory pattern that required two balls maximum, I would be tempted to buy them - yes, I am a skinflint knitter! However, if you're not on a yarn budget like me and love the feel of chunky-knit merino wool, the quality of Rowan yarns and the added bonus of being able to bung your knit into the washing machine, then 'Softest Merino Wool' might be worth giving a go. Just imagine the the amazing super-cosy blanket you could knit with it...
* A free ball of Rowan's 'Softest Merino Wool' was provided by Laughing Hens for the purpose of undertaking this review.