Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Rowan 'Softest Merino Wool' Review

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.

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According to Rowan, the 'Primrose Snood' requires 421 metres of yarn, which equates to about about four and a quarter balls of 'Softest Merino Wool' retailing at roughly £52.50 for five balls of yarn. From a personal viewpoint, I wouldn't spend this much money on a snood for myself, but I know of Rowan fans out there (mentioning no names - C****e!) who'd be likely to knit a similar accessory for a birthday/Christmas present for someone special using this yarn.

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Wash n' Wear: I've knitted up a swatch but haven't washed it to see how it performs, so the following are considerations rather than observations. I would be interested to see how much blocking a sizeable garment knitted from this yarn would need and if there's much stretching afterwards. As its a superwash yarn I wouldn't expect it to felt or 'pill' after its been washed on its recommended 30 degree machine wash (no tumble drying though!).

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.


  1. £10.50 per ball! looks soft, but think I'll have to stick to Alafoss Lopi wool.

    1. I had a discussion with a friend about yarn prices in general recently. She says that you have to pay for quality, but I wouldn't spend a £100 on yarn for a cardigan no matter what quality the yarn is. She said that I'd notice the cheaper yarn wasn't as good, but I had to disagree on that one. We had to agree to disagree in the end, but agreed on two points: it all comes down to personal preference and what price you're happy to pay.


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