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We are knitters - The Wave Yarn Review

I took the plunge on this thick and thin spun yarn from we are knitters during their Christmas sale. I have always been sceptical of this type of yarn, thinking that it often looks messy and the finished pieces can look a little too handmade. However, I decided to take up the challenge and try to design some pieces that made the most of the texture.



That Texture!


So, let’s start straight out of the gate with the texture, this is the love hate part of thick and thin yarn, and the main reason we’re interested in it. As I said before I have historically not been a fan, but I am now 100% converted and I know why. The gauge and the stitch… this type of yarn in my opinion shines only when they gauge is not too tight and not too loose. Too loose and we get the dreaded ‘messy’ look, too tight and the texture is lost. Thick and thin yarn also benefits from simplicity, we are talking stockinette all the way!


This is where one of my dislikes of thick and thin yarn comes into play… the ribbing. Due to the texture of the yarn your ribbing stitches look uneven. To get around this issue I have seen a few designs which pair this textured yarn with a similar coloured smooth yarn for the ribbing, however having to estimate the yardage needed for ribbing and then ending with odd skeins ends seems slightly impractical. So, this is where the idea for the integrated ribbing of the Phase Cardigan came about, in this design the ribbing is worked as part of the body, so there is no awkward thick and think ribbing stitches to pick up and gives the illusion that the whole body is worked in stockinette.


How is it to knit with?


Like all we are knitters skeins they are beautifully presented and are not prone to tangles and in line knots so it is of course a lovely yarn to work with. At 100m/100g it also flies off the needles! However, it does take some getting used to and a little bit of extra concentration, especially on thick sections the roving style spin can make it easy to split your yarn. That being said, compared to creating a textured piece from smooth yarn, this is an absolute breeze to knit with. I would recommend this to beginners who would like to create a piece with some texture but are not yet confident enough to try complicated stitches.



Price


Let’s talk about the price, coming in at £8/100g for solid colours and £11/100g for speckled colourways this yarn is fairly reasonably priced, and buying the 5 skein bundle you can knit yourself a garment for £35 - £50. Compared to the rest of the we are knitters range, this yarn comes in at the same price as the ever popular petite wool, and can easily be substituted and worked at the same gauge.


Quality & Softness


Despite its open spin and roving style, the wave yarn feels strong and sturdy and creates a garment that can live up to daily use. While it’s not exactly what I would call a super soft, like a merino or alpaca, its more than soft enough to wear next to the skin if you are not sensitive to a bit of a wool tickle. However, being a pretty hefty chunky weight yarn, it’s more than likely you’ll be creating an outerwear garment, for which it’s perfectly suited. Being a fairly untreated woolly type of wool, it is prone to piling, especially on the underarms, I am fine with this, this is what happens to natural wool, and one of the best things about the texture of this yarn is that you don’t even notice the pilling! That being said, I think it will be a bit more hassle to use a de-bobbler on these garments.


What are the colours like?


There’s a great selection of 18 colours, including a few speckled and tie dye colourways. Personally, I’ve used ‘Salmon’, which I can confirm is exactly as you would expect a salmon colourway to look and ‘Sunset’ which turned out a bit darker than expected and is spun with a mixture of different coloured fibres giving a gorgeous depth of colour. In general, I find the colours to be a tad darker than the photos, but not terribly so (maybe I have my screen too bright?).



Skein consistency


Having had two batches of the wave wool in different colourways I was surprised at how different the thick and thin-ness was between the batches. Luckily within and order and within each colourway it was fairly consistent. I’d therefore recommend you buy the full amount you think you’ll need for this yarn to make sure you get a good consistency in the wavey-ness of your project.


Which patterns can I use?


There’s a handful of patterns designed for the wave wool, including my ‘Phase’ collection, which when complete will have a cardigan, sweater and slipover patterns (check them out here). We are knitters has a few kits for the wave wool, however the selection is not as large as for their other bases, my favourite is the Kara Sweater, although I haven’t knitted it myself. However, don’t be put off by the lack of patterns designed specifically for the wave wool, given the gauge and yardage if very similar to the petite wool, in principle any pattern that calls for the petite wool could work for the wave wool too, look out for patterns knitted mainly in stockinette where the texture will really shine. This is also a great way to get two totally different garment from the same pattern!



Are there any good yarn substitutes?


Now this is a tricky one for the wave wool. While there are plenty more thick and thin yarns out there, and if you happen to be able to spin then you can even make your own, most of them don’t exactly match the gauge or “frequency” of the wave wool. So you can substitute, but don’t expect exactly the same texture as a sample knitted in this yarn.


Cheaper: King Cole Opium (£4/100g), Sirdar Elemental (£4/100g)


Similar price: Katia Creta (£8/100g)


More expensive: If your budget allows search around at hand dyers and natural dyers, many of them carry thick n thin yarn, sometimes also called ‘slub’ yarns, or even better, find some hand spun yarns and create something really special.


My sustainability rating


I care a lot about how sustainable the yarns are that I buy, I love to buy local, hand dyed and naturally dyed yarns, but of course due to budgetary constraints that’s not always possible. While we are knitters claims they are ‘sustainable’ that’s always quite a loaded word and hard to find full information on. As far as I can tell they are pretty plastic free, the orders come in a paper bag and cardboard box. They claim their yarn is 100% natural, at least for the wave wool that’s certainly the case being 100% Peruvian wool. There’s no detailed information about the sheep or the people that make this yarn, and it’s clearly got some airmiles on it to get from Peru to Cambridge. I am also happy to report that other than the meri wool all their yarns appear to be non-superwash (if you want to know more about the superwash process and its environmental impact read my blog for Botanica yarn fest here).


In conclusion, there are no major red flags with this yarn when it comes to sustainability, but at the same time, it’s probably not the most sustainable thing you will ever buy, but at £8/100g it would be hard to see how it could be.


Where to buy:


The Wave Wool can be bought in many countries across the world direct from we are knitters websites. They have both single skeins, bundles and kits. If you’d like to buy some ‘The Wave Wool’ from we are knitters you can