I can say with all honesty that Preciosa is a huge staff favorite – when we received our early office shipment, the squeals of delight were deafening as we pulled bag after bag out of the box, each skein getting more and more love. While the bright candy colored tonal colors were the first thing that we crushed on, the soft cushy yarn itself was what made us fall head over heels in love. We describe Preciosa as a luxurious single-ply Merino yarn – but what does that mean for you when deciding on the perfect project for this yarn?
A quick overview of single-ply yarns first. In addition to weight, color and fiber content, one of the main defining characteristics of a yarn is its ply. This simply refers to the number of single strands that are twisted together to form one heavier strand of yarn – for instance, if you’ve ever untwisted a stand of yarn like Wool of the Andes, you’ll see 4 separate strands twisted together. However, it is not always necessary to combine multiple singles together. Yarns such as Preciosa and Chroma are one single strand of yarn, hence the term single-ply. Without the intertwining twists of additional strands that can change the look and feel of a fiber, single-ply yarns stay true to the nature of the fiber content. However, it is this quality that gives single-ply yarns their lush feel, which can also work against your project if you’re not careful.
Since a single-ply yarn is essentially one stand of yarn, it can sometimes tend to be weaker than other yarns that are plied together. This is due to the low amount of twist that is required for a single-ply yarn to hold its fibers together, which also accounts for the fact that single-ply yarns tend to pill more (but remember, this is the same quality that makes it so lovely and soft). One quick solution to this quandary is to simply work the yarn up at a slightly tighter gauge.
As you work up a test swatch, use the recommended needle in addition to one or two smaller needle sizes. This way you can compare how the fabric works up when using the recommended size as well as a range of smaller needles to produce a tighter gauge. You will want to find a balance where the fabric feels firmer than with the recommended needle but not as stiff. A slightly tighter gauge along with the help of a lint shaver or pill remover will help battle any pilling caused by the yarn.
So what projects work best with yarns like Preciosa? Scarves, cowls and hats are great since they tend to receive less abrasion, which means less pilling. Sweaters and blankets are fantastic for wrapping yourself up in plushy softness, if you don’t mind removing the occasional pills that tend to pop up where the fabric will rub together (such as under the arms of sweaters or the most used parts of the blanket).
Given the nature of single-ply yarns, they work best when avoiding high-abrasion projects like socks, mittens, or gloves. The friction of normal wear and tear on these items is concentrated onto one single strand of fiber, causing it to weaken and grow thin. By adding a bit of a texture like ribbing and seed stitch, you will be able to add additional twists into your single-ply which will help to keep the fibers in place. Crochet is also a great way to add a bit of twist to single-ply yarns to make a stronger fabric.
With this knowledge, you can go forth and create the most cheerful projects to welcome the spring! Try browsing through our patterns with our new filter to choose the perfect pattern for you – and see just why we love Preciosa so much.