I do love a surprise. When the good people of Modern Daily Knitting told me they were sending a new yarn, developed by Arne and Carlos for Rowan, I couldn’t have guessed what it would be.
I knew the colors would be fantastic and dramatic, and they are. Picked by Arne and Carlos, the colors are equal parts Norwegian knitting history and couture catwalk.
Norwegian Wool is spun from a mix of several different breeds of Norwegian sheep. The sheep native to Norway include the Spelsau, the Dala, and the Rygya. The wool from most Norwegian breeds tends to be stronger than say, Merino or Rambouillet. Some knitters may not be able to wear it on their neck, but it didn’t give me any prickles. These same breeds make the yarn more durable; it won’t pill nearly as much as softer wools.
The yarn is spun beautifully in Italy, the land of outstanding luxury yarns. Norwegian Wool is a worsted spun, 2-ply yarn with a light twist. Clearly one of the breeds used in this blend had some shine to it, and the mill managed to coax it out, and it gives the yarn and fabric a glow.
Norwegian Wool in Daphne on the left, Atlas in Cedar on the right.
Look at Norwegian Wool side by side with Atlas. The yarns are within the same range for gauge, but just looking at them you can guess that they would knit very differently. Atlas is rounder than Norwegian Wool because it has one more ply, and it looks softer because of the different breeds. That same difference in breeds and the particular mix in Norwegian Wool, make Norwegian Wool look denser, and smoother than Atlas. I also see shine in Norwegian Wool. If I were going to guess just by looking which of these would have better stitch definition, I would pick Norwegian Wool.
Norwegian Wool was designed for colorwork, the colors pop so beautifully in the patterns for Field Guide No 23: Glow. The smooth, 2-ply structure allows the colors to mingle with each other in a really pleasing way. It really is the perfect yarn for their designs.
Let’s look at different pattern stitches, I am particularly excited about texture stitches with this yarn.
Looking at plain stockinette with no colorwork, I can see that it has really great stitch definition for a 2-ply yarn, there is little of the surface texture that usually shows with a 2-ply yarn. The fiber blend and careful spinning gives this yarn such great structure. In the closer photo I can really see the bit of shine this yarn has.
Even in a simple texture pattern like this reverse stockinette with a little slip stitch, the stitches really pop, yet because of the lighter ply twist, the 2-ply rather than 3-ply construction, it’s not a heavy yarn. I will admit to checking the number of plies more than once with this yarn to double check that it was indeed just 2 plies.
I never would have guessed how much I would like a crisp lace. Norwegian Wool holds the yarnovers beautifully and while the stitch definition is wonderful in garter stitch, the decrease stitches don’t look stacked up or bulge-y like they sometimes do with a 3-ply yarn.
This stitch is feather and fan, anyone else remember when it was the stitch that we used for everything? I’m proud to say I have a pile of Feather and Fan scarves and still have this stitch memorized.
This swatch was my hands-down favorite. Color and texture, look at how alive it looks!
The garter stitch dashes really lift off of the stockinette background, and the little bit of shine in the blue makes it all even more exciting. It really uses this yarn in a way that brings out all of the best qualities.
Think of patterns in addition to colorwork for this versatile yarn, you will be delighted.