Chainette + Wool Studio = Luxury
Merino, cashmere, and alpaca fibers represent one thing to knitters and wearers alike: luxury. These fibers are uber soft, warm, and pleasant to knit with; however, their delicate nature means they tend to pill after a short window of wearing time. My favorite counter to this problem is chainette yarn. A chainette is a yarn consisting of slender plies that are machine knit into a tube resembling an I-cord. Any fiber can be used in a chainette yarn, but when short staple fibers like merino and cashmere are made into a chainette, a whole new world of tactile pleasure and practically opens up. The fibers have already been “knit” into the tube, which keeps them in place and helps prevent pilling. The “tube” construction also leaves air between the fibers, which creates luxurious fabric with loft, drape, and breathability.
In the premier issue of Wool Studio, two of my favorite garments are made in a chainette yarn. The Wellfleet Pullover by Sarah Solomon is made in Shibui Knits Maai, a DK-weight chainette consisting of 70 percent superbaby alpaca and 30 percent merino. Sarah refers to this top as the “sexy panda” because of the black and white combo, its oversized silhouette, and its enveloping softness. It reminds me of the Abercrombie & Fitch men’s sweaters I wore in high school: it gives off the same tomboy feel, but this version is far more sophisticated and feminine.
The Hartwich Top by Norah Gaughan is made in Woolfolk Får, which consists of 100 percent high-quality merino. The first time I touched Får I thought it was cashmere, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the price tag was half of what I expected it to be! I love the Hartwich Top because it is multi-seasonal, elegant, unexpected, and interesting to knit. I covet the entire ensemble our lovely model wore that day, but most of all I covet the top. Inside my head I wear an effortlessly elegant outfit like the Hartwich ensemble while running errands on the weekend. I hope one day to be that lovely woman buying flowers at the farmer’s market on a Sunday morning.