Skip to content

I’m baking up a storm right now. It’s one of the things I’ve always done that makes me happy when I’m uncertain. I bake sweet, uncomplicated things: cookies, cakes, and brownies. I’m not looking for Paul’s handshake or Mary’s twinkle, I just want to zone out and make tasty treats.

For me, baking is all about interesting add-ins and familiar, but unexpected flavors. I thought about exactly this when I first touched Nua Sport. It’s not what I expected; it’s better.

Carol Feller has always had exceptional taste in yarn for her designs, so it was no surprise that her own first yarn is soft and resilient, makes clear stitches, and is brilliant for garments.

The Fibers

Nua Sport is 60% merino wool, 20% yak, and 20% linen. It’s a crazy-good combination for sweaters.

Merino is soft, elastic, and cushiony, with a matte surface. This is a regular merino, not a superwash variety. It’s like the perfect, velvety chocolate cookie.

Yak is silky, strong, warm, and durable. It has a bit of shine and a halo. It gives a slinky quality to yarn. It’s like biting into a brownie and finding a little pocket of caramel.

Linen is strong, crisp, and fierce, yet pliable. Its weight helps this yarn drape. Linen adds an edge to stitches, and is extremely resilient. It’s a fiber that doesn’t completely meld with animal fibers, giving the yarn a textured, rustic look. It’s the crumble of nuts in a sour cream coffee cake.

The Spin Style

Nua Sport is spun with a worsted draft. Drafting this way smoothes the surface of the yarn and keeps the fibers together and stable. It adds to stitch definition and reduces pilling.

Nua Sport has less twist than most merino based yarns. Using less twist allows merino to do its spring-thing. The yarn retains merino’s elasticity and pillowy squish. The yak and linen are what allow the reduced twist to work. A lighter twisted 100% merino yarn is a more fragile, with a tendency to pill. The yak and linen shore up and protect those delicate merino fibers, like the crust of a pie.

The Ply

Along with the magical blend of fibers, Nua’s ply structure is diabolically clever.

Nua is made from four strands of yarn, but not in the way you think. It’s not four stands just twisted together into a 4-ply yarn. It’s something I call a 2+2 4-ply. In a regular 4-ply, four strands are twisted together at the same time, creating a round, durable yarn.

A 2+2 4-ply builds the yarn with an extra step. Two 2-ply yarns are created. Then, those two 2-ply yarns are further twisted together to create a 4-ply yarn. This structure does a couple of things: It creates a more durable yarn with loft, while allowing the twist to be softer. Much like a perfect soft meringue cookie baked just enough so the outside is crispy and the inside still gooey.

When strands are plied, air is trapped between the plies. Remember that in a 2-ply yarn, the strands push away from each other allowing for more air. Since this yarn is made of two 2-ply yarns, there is extra loft. The twice-plied structure is durable with less twist, making a yarn that is strong, but drapes.

For those of you who study yarn structure or are spinners, this is not a cabled yarn. All of the ply twist goes in the same direction instead of reversing.

For those of you that don’t regularly pick apart yarn structures, yes, I will be writing about unusual yarn structures soon. The variety is mind blowing.

The Color

The choice of fiber blend has a big impact on this yarn’s color.

The linen used is an unbleached natural color; think of a perfectly baked sugar cookie. The yak is a natural brown; it anchors all of the colors with an earthy depth. It’s the difference between baking cookies with light brown and dark brown sugar. Color on 100% merino can seem flat, due to merino’s matte surface. Yak imparts warmth and a whisper of shine to the color.

The Swatching

How does Nua Sport knit? It is sublime.

The shades are, from left: Unexpected Macaw, Chalk and Plum, and Frog on the Wall.

Nua is a pleasure just to hold. It’s soft and silky, but I’m not worried about future pills, and it is a delight to see the quality of the stitches it creates.

Stockinette Stitch

Shade: Kitten Fluff.

In stockinette, Nua’s fabric is smooth and the stitches are defined, though not as crispy as a regular 4-ply would be. There is a bit of softness there that I like. The fine hair-like wisps you see are bits of flax; they have body but aren’t pokey. I sat with a swatch resting on my neck for a bit and another tucked another in my shirt, to see if the swatches were prickly or itchy. They were not.

I don’t have to explain this swatch testing behavior to my family; in fact, they explain it to other people.

Shade: Chalk and Plum.

Lace is so happy knit out of Nua Sport. Here is another illustration of how the yarn construction is so well thought out. Four plies, and worsted spinning, make the garter and decrease line pop, but the softer twist and specific ply construction allow the holes in the lace to stay open.

Can we talk about this color? It’s my favorite right now. This is Chalk and Plum, a deep purple with the brown of the yak inviting it to be just a little dirty, and the flecks of linen make it wonderfully tweedy.

Texture Stitches

Look how crisp this texture stitch looks, but it still has springy oomph. It also has a good amount of drape. A 4-ply merino yarn with conventional ply structure would need a whole lot of twist to get this stitch definition, which would make it less inclined to drape or swing. This stitch is done by knitting three stitches together, then pulling three loops through the decreased stitch. Which means on the return row it can be a little sticky to purl into those loops, they tend to be tight or split or both. I had no splitting with this yarn, even with pointy metal needles.

The linen combined with the elasticity in the merino in this yarn does fantastic things for blocking too. It helps the fabric hold its shape. I had a few of those bump-outs on the side of my swatches that happen when I stretch my swatch a little too far. Usually they go away pretty quickly after I unpin, but on these swatches, they stayed and stayed. I steamed them out (mostly) for the photos.

Garments knit in this yarn will hold their shape and stitch pattern for a long time.

I’m going back to my baking; it’s ginger cookies today. Need a good cookie book? This one is my favorite.

I wonder what kind of cookies Carol Feller likes?

About The Author

Jillian Moreno spins, knits and weaves just so she can touch all of the fibers. She wrote the book Yarnitecture: A Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want so she could use all of the fiber words. Keep up with her exploits at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • I am knitting the Arcade hat with Nua Sport right now and I couldn’t agree more that this is a superb yarn.

  • I always learn so much from your articles. I have a skein ready to be wound for the Arcade Hat. I wonder how long I will be able to resist ordering a sweater’s quantity? Will MDK ever be adding Carol’s books to the shop? After watching the Fruitty Knitting podcast I would love to jump into some more of her patterns. And Jillian, I have the cookie cookbook in my collection and use it often. Thanks for once again starting my day off on a bright spot despite the rain outside.

  • Great read. I’m loving this yarn. By the way, for cookies, check out Cookies by Dori Greenspan.

    • I have that one too. You could say I have a healthy stash of cookbooks in addition to my yarn stash.

  • Oh great, now I’m hungry for both cookies AND new yarn, and it’s only 7 AM on a rainy day. I can tell how this day will end….
    And as a spinner, I’m curious – how do they do that? Would you have to underply the 2-ply yarns before plying together? I’ve done cabled yarn but never anything like this. Fascinating!

    • Yes! A light twist on that first round of plying. I’m going to experiment with it too!

  • Jillian, love love love your analysis and writing! Off to order this yarn and bake cookies!

  • I can’t wait until mine arrives!

  • I’m always so timid to try a yarn like yak because I react so poorly to mohair this yarn is tempting however. And OH is there a recipe for velvety chocolate cookies to share?

    • I am very reactive to mohair, to angora, even to some merino. But yak is the softest yarn you will ever knit with–it’s like knitting with nothing.

  • I’ve just finished swatching (twice!) for the Trellis Top and I love this yarn! Thank you for explaining all of the reasons why I am so smitten.

  • I used this for a Woolly Wormhead hat pattern and it’s gorgeous: velvety, rich and deep. One day a sweater!

  • I knew I loved it, and now I know why. Thank you!

  • Oh gosh now I want ALL of this yarn…..

  • The names of the colors alone are enough to make me want to order them all and I don’t even knit with any yarn that small 😉
    And I bet you could get a handshake from Paul and a twinkle from Mary!!

  • I think sometimes that MDK is one of the best things around and then I listen to their suggestions for the Fruity Knit interview with Carol Feller and now this article on Nua yard and wish I had never heard of them. I know so little about the technicalities of yarn and knitting even though I have been knitting for a long time. I just never really thought about why a yarn does one thing and another one does something else. Same with the way a stitch is made.(bad thing) MDK has made me aware of my ignorance about knitting and has inspired me to learn and improve.(good thing). Carol Feller is one of the most interesting knitters and her knowledge is awesome. Same with Jillian Merino. I can’t help but ask myself why wasn’t I aware of all these smart people before. I think it is because years ago when I started to knit, all you had to do was be able to make a knit and purl stitch. Things were fairly simple. Things have sure changed and I for one love it. MDK has given me so much to think about and try. I love the newsletters, shop, artists, suggestions and all the other things they do to help me. It is not true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I am learning something new, enjoying it and improving my knitting every day. Thanks to MDK and all the people they bring into our lives to help us and enrich our being.

  • Now I want to check out Jillians site. Thanks again ladies

  • I love your food analogies for the yarns!

  • I LOVE the texture stitch! Do you have a pattern that uses it?

    • I think the stitch is called daisy stitch or lazy daisy, try putting that into a ravelry search and you should get patterns that use it 😀

  • Heavens, I didn’t realize I had a yarn dialect but you are speaking my language. And my feelings!

  • I’ve been a Carol fan since 2018; she was our instructor on a knitting retreat. I have a collection of her well written patterns and have participated in 4 KALS. Another starts on May 6. Try the Camira or Tabouli cardigans; the fit is perfect, especially around the shoulders. Her construction and shaping techniques are unique. I’m so used to working with her patterns now that I find it hard to follow others. Guess I’m spoiled. Also Nua is great to work with. The stitches even stand up after a frog making it easier to pick up! The Trellis top, Transom and Twining Wrap are on the project list. Now, my mouth is watering for cookies, my fav.

    • Just received my Nua Sport today. Oh my, it is such a wonderful yarn. I completed my swatch and gauge was perfect. Looking forward to the Refreshalong and making the Trellis Tee. I’m supposed to go to Ireland/Scotland in August (fingers crossed) and I would love to visit Carol Fellers shop while I’m in Cork. The plan is to get plenty of yarn while I’m there. Thanks for this post. It’s a big help in understanding fiber.

  • Carol Feller’s Nua is my new favorite yarn-I’m making her Tabouli cardi with lace and cables and stockinette and I’m actually dreading finishing it…I don’t want the pleasure to end. The luscious feel of the yarn flowing through my hands is therapy for these days of social distancing. I’m thinking I need another Nua sweater in my queue.

  • Please, what is that textured stitch called? I just finished Carol’s Waning Crescent sweater. What a joy to knit. Now to try that same yarn in a textured something and I’d love to try this particular texture and need to find directions. Thanks.

    • Daisy or lazy daisy stitch

  • Baking to me is a meditation and a prayer, much like knitting.

  • I do the exact same thing with swatches, because although I love knitting with wool it really does make me itch, so it’s good to know beforehand how many layers I’m going to need underneath.

  • Jillian, your yarn explanations are fabulous–meticulous and detailed yet easy to understand. I may get a skein, but the tweediness of this particular yarn just isn’t my thing. Waaaaaaaahhhh!!!!! I may change my mind once it’s in my hands.

  • Thank you for this article. I love the way Jillian talks about yarn! I am really tempted to try this yarn.

  • I thank you for the explanation. Is this a process carol does or is it the mill that produces. Just brilliant to have a cozy fabric that is light as a feather

  • Once again I am so pleased that you share your observations on yarn. I love your contributions to MDK!

  • I always learn from and enjoy your articles but today’s was special. The baking metaphors made me want to go bake but then I can’t knit…

    • I LOVE this yarn and did an Arcade cap, but now I’m on to doing the sweater from Refresh Field Guide. Do I need to alternate skeins if I have the same lot for all the yarn? I usually do this for hand dyed indie yarn, but do I need to do it for this?

  • Ok, hungry now! Thank you for this beautiful bit of writing. Nua is now on my list!

My Cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping