I don’t normally do extended blog posts about my personal knitting projects, but we get so many questions about this yarn so I thought I would show you!
Last fall, I knit a Latte Baby Coat for little Levi. It was too big, in the way that baby sweaters should be lest they only fit for a single week, and it kind of made him look like a little Jedi. And thus the nickname “Jedi Robe” was born. After a winter of snowy walks in the woods, Dan expressed some jealousy for Levi’s sweater, which was big and thick and warm (and which he outgrew in March, perfect timing), so I resolved to knit them both one for this coming winter.
We chose Emilien as a starting point for Dan’s sweater as I doubt the basketweave buttonband would fly, and of course it could only be in a single color, “a man color,” and after much perusing and sampling and surveying, he chose my original pick, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Targhee Worsted in Pining 4 Ewe.
Targhee Worsted is everything I love in a yarn. In a word, I’d say it’s wooly. Just how I like it! It’s a nice sturdy worsted weight that will knit up to a true worsted gauge happily and could even take an aran gauge if you like your knits a little drapier. It’s got a lovely stitch definition for cables and ribbing and armhole details.
But of course, the million dollar question, is it soft? And I’ll admit, I’m not really sure how to answer your question, but only because the answer really is, “it depends on what you are comparing it to.”
The majority of our hand-dyed wool yarns are milled with superwash merino, which is by its very nature and incredibly fine and short fiber that has been processed repeatedly until all that’s left are the smoothest bits. It’s very, very soft. Targhee Worsted is milled with Targhee fiber, which is similarly fine and soft, but, unlike merino, Targhee has a lot of crimp to it, which makes it much less smooth, and in this case is also not superwash, which means it’s not processed quite so much, which will also make it less smooth.
What this means for your final yarn is that it is still quite soft by wool standards, but it’s also still got its crimp, and with longer staple lengths you’ll also find it both looks and feels a little more hairy. You know, wooly. It feels like wool, but, fine wool. It manages to simultaneously have a real wool feel and also be soft, but it won’t feel soft next to your cashmerinos. For me, the real test was if Dan could wear it, as he is someone who’s pretty sensitive to wool and alpaca fibers, so I knit him a little swatch and made him tuck it in the collar of his shirt and wear it around. The verdict? Plenty soft, not itchy at all. And so a sweater was born.