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I am a long time Rowan fan, not to the level of Ann and Kay (which is OTT), but I still remember being in my first official “Rowan Stockist” shop (the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas) and my first Kaffe Fassett knit (the Carpet Jacket from Magazine 18, also my first intarsia). I have the first 45 issues of Rowan Magazine, and a whole lot of vintage Rowan yarn.

Rowan has always made beautiful yarns, but few stop me in my tracks like Felted Tweed. I remember seeing it for the first time in Rowan Magazine 26, then again in number 28. I’m a huge fan of tweed yarns in general, but Felted Tweed is extra special; it’s squishy and fuzzy, and still holds up structurally.

a star is born: Magazines 26 and 28 ushered in the age of Felted Tweed.
These Felted Tweed sweaters from 20 years ago look as fresh as ever.

I know I bought the yarn for at least three of these four sweaters that I love from those two books. Please do not be rude and ask if I knit them. I do believe that our own Ann Shayne knit Olive, the blue number in the upper left. [Editor’s note: It was Kay, but she knit it for Ann, so yeah.]

Felted Tweed is a chimera: It has loft and drape, it’s warm and swingy, and it’s a gauge shifter.  I know I’m here to talk construction, not color, but I have to say the colors of Felted Tweed have always been exceptionally beautiful, rich and earthy.

I recently bought three sweaters worth of Felted Tweed. Only one batch has a plan (the red/brown for the Love Note sweater, at a shifted gauge). Who knows when (or, if, to be really honest) I’ll knit them.

I am powerless before Felted Tweed.

I know I’m not alone; documents more than 30,000 projects using Felted Tweed.

The Yarn: Vital Statistics

Let’s talk about my longtime love.

Fiber Content

Felted Tweed contains 50% lightly-felted merino, 25% viscose, and 25% alpaca.

Alpaca is warm (warmer than wool)—that’s the fuzz you see in this yarn. It has a minimal amount of elasticity, but is wonderfully drapey and durable.

Viscose is a plant-based  yarn made from cellulose that is pulped and extruded. It has some shine, and a silky feeling; it contributes durability to the yarn. I haven’t seen Felted Tweed being made, but I suspect there is viscose in the tweedy nubbins.

The magic-maker in Felted Tweed is that “lightly-felted merino.” Remember: merino is elastic, soft, and light. Just regular merino combined with the other yarn ingredients would make a fine yarn, but felting it a little is genius. Why?

Regular old merino is happiest when it has a fair amount of twist, or it becomes a pilly mess pretty quickly.

Felting the yarn, even a little, gives it durability and structure without needing the usual merino-level twist, resulting in less fiber per inch. (Hello grist, please come through). The result of lower twist is a soft yarn that is more stable and allows the other fibers to do their thing—especially the alpaca’s touch of drape and fuzz—while staying light as air. The felting keeps the color flecks in place too.


Felted Tweed is drafted worsted. The airiness of this yarn comes from the lighter than usual twist—not from woolen drafting. Worsted drafting helps keep all of the fibers smoothly together.


Felted Tweed is a standard 2-ply yarn, with maybe a little less than the standard ply twist. The structure of this yarn is in those worsted-drafted, felted individual plies. The plying here is for size and durability. When you look at the individual plies you can see the fuzz of the alpaca and that the yarn is lightly-felted: It looks twisted in some spots, and denser and a little matted in others.


Mmmm, mmm good. The grist for this light DK is 105 yards an ounce. or 1,689 yards per pound. This means that when I make Thea Coleman’s Vodka Lemonade cardigan, my size will weigh 12.8 ounces, versus 16.5 ounces and 19 ounces for two of the yarns suggested in the pattern. Bonus: the balls have yardage: It would take me just 7 balls to make my sweater. It’s rare that I buy fewer than a bag (10 balls) for sweaters in my size.

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Just in case you're in any doubt about it, this article is about Felted Tweed. Enter code TWEEDFUN at checkout for 10% off Felted Tweed in the Shop. And thanks for shopping with us. Purchases keep all the tweedy, drapey, woolen and worsted fun happening here at MDK.
By Rowan

Swatch Time

With the softness that the felting gives the yarn, the light twist and the hairy fuzz of the alpaca, and the flecks of color, Felted Tweed doesn’t give the best stitch definition, but it does make a unique fabric.

Stockinette Stitch.

In stockinette stitch, there is some stitch definition, but the fabric has the loose wild look that 2-ply yarns generally have. The softness of the felting and hairiness of the alpaca further blend the stitches. The fabric has a lot of character; energy moves through the surface.


In lace, the extra structure afforded by the felting keeps the stitches in line, and the two plies help to keep the holes open. The furriness of the alpaca gives the fabric a halo, but doesn’t fill up the lace holes. In lace, this textured yarn looks a little crunchy, but it is so soft and light.

A textured stitch pattern.

The softness of Felted Tweed keeps the profile of textured stitches low. The combination of textured yarn and textured stitches makes gorgeously organic-looking fabric. The layering of the soft yarn in a patterned stitch makes a luxuriously cushy fabric. Knit a little garter stitch and you’ll see what I mean.

Stranded colorwork, in the form of Ann’s Stranded Stripe Throw from Field Guide No. 13.

Colorwork in Felted Tweed is just…sigh. You can see why the Kaffe-Along was so popular and why Kaffe Fassett turns to Felted Tweed again and again for his exuberant colorwork patterns. The halo and relaxed twist cause the colors to blend together at their soft edges like misty water colored memories. Those same properties help the yarns physically cling together, making Felted Tweed a great yarn for a first colorwork project.

It’s a Gauge Shifter!

For such a soft yarn, Felted Tweed does a great job gauge shifting. The swatch on the left is 5.5 stitches to the inch (the gauge recommended on the label) and the swatch on the right is 4 stitches to the inch, the exact gauge for my Love Note sweater. It’s a rare DK weight yarn that can successfully knit to this larger gauge.

It is very interesting to me how consistently inconsistent my knitting is, with the stitches on the right side of the swatches tighter than on the left side. I know it makes some of you twitch, but it doesn’t bother me at all.

One thing to note when shifting to a looser gauge: Even though the fabric holds shape and structure, it will drape more and be more sheer. If you look where the arrows are pointing in the right-hand photo, you can see my little friend’s hand showing thorough in the bottom swatch. It’s something to keep in mind if you are knitting a pullover.

Felted Tweed is a magnificent yarn. It’s interesting, and soft without being limp. The color palette is deep and varied. It has a particular organic quality that lends itself to a huge variety of projects.


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


  • what is the pattern name for the blue cardigan (worn with the grey skirt) with the round collar, and can it be purchased online? – I MUST knit it!!!

    • Janis, it is called Olive and is a free pattern on the website. You will need to register on the site in order to download it.

      • thank you so much! –

        • I have always loved Felted Tweed. Two of my “go to” sweaters were made with FT. One I made for a much larger me. I recently put in the dryer and shrunk it enough to wear it. Still GREAT stitch def and the slight felt of the sweater is gorgeous. Experiment gone well. May do that to more FT sweaters. Thx for the article and hope Rowan never quits producing this amazing yarn.

  • I love FT, but it’s not DK – Ravelry categorises it as a sport weight, and Marie Wallin who has made a lot of jumpers in FT treats it as 4 ply (fingering). What Rowan have essentially done is to make a worsted weight yarn behave as a woollen yarn to a large degree to achieve a contemporary Fair Isle effect. Its forte is colourwork and twisted stitches.

  • For more even stitches, try running your fingers along the beginning and ending strands of the skein. One end will feel more smooth, as if you are running with the nap or “grain”. That’s the one you want to start knitting with.

    • I have ALWAYS wondered about this, but never found even a mention before! Thanks!

  • Thank you for this. I’ve been spinning for years and knitting for much longer. This was very informative. In my bucket list is taking one of your classes.

  • What is “draft”, as in “drafted-worsted”?

    • Drafting is the process of adding twist to fiber. Jillian talks about it in a post from last year. There are worsted and woolen drafting processes

  • Another excellent article by Jillian! I didn’t know about Felted Tweed until the Master Class Field Guide came out. Definitely must try it out.

  • I’m with you Jillian, this is one of my FAVORITE yarns for all the reasons you name. Thank you for the article, it’s a keeper.

  • I just finished an Andrea Mowry poncho in FT Aran and just started an oversized vest/tunic by Amy Herzog in FT dk though I knit it at a sport weight gauge. There are a couple more sweaters in this yarn on my ever evolving projects list. It’s a beautiful yarn to knit in any weight and really comes into its own after washing and blocking.

  • I can’t wait to cast on a Love Note in Felted Tweed! Thanks for a great article!

    • Felted tweed for a Love Note – hmmmmm – would never have thought of that myself!

  • I love the colors of Felted Tweed and I love knitting with it. But I find it, even after blocking, too scratchy to wear directly against the skin which limits it for me.

    • I have the same issue. One suggestion has been to steam it under a press cloth to get the alpaca fibers to lay down. I haven’t tried that yet.

  • Another excellent article from the yarn maven! I’m still dreaming about a few of the Rowan sweaters in the photos, all these years later.

  • Favorite line: ‘Please do not be rude and ask if I knit them.’ I am not alone.

    • Me too, all these years I thought it was only me

    • Believe me, you are not alone.

  • I made a blanket for my son almost 12 years ago out of Felted Tweed. It’s been at the ends of beds and on the backs of sofas for all those years, actually used. And it still looks wonderful. I did line the back, which may have helped with wear, but still. Great yarn! And the colors just look good together which is one of the things Rowan does so well.

    • I knitted a FT blanket at least 20 years ago and it is still going strong. The one hole was caused by a chewy dog and I knitted a FT patch and covered the hole. I love this yarn.

  • I can’t stop looking at the one sweater with the ingenious color block in the Rowan book “sharp contrast”… off to hunting down the pattern (and then to buy some felted tweed in awesome color)…

  • “Misty water-colored memories”, heh heh. Wave the Babs flag there, Jillian!

  • I made a wonderful looking long, drapey sweater from Felted Tweed. I enjoyed the knitting, the sweater looks amazing, but it is scratchy beyond anything. Any suggestions to tame the beast? It has been washed and blocked. Pjknitsufos on Ravelry

    • When I purchased an Icelandic wool sweater in Reykjavik a few years back, the shopkeeper suggested rinsing the sweater (after washing) with hair conditioner. It really helped.

  • Can you please tell me the name of the pattern for the yellowish cardigan, lower left, so pretty

  • Where can I find the pattern for the beige/tan cardigan pictured above? It is slightly fitted and probably uses a cable, but I can’t tell for sure. I’d love to knit it for my beautiful daughter. Thanks.

    • See my reply to the comment just before yours — it sounds like you’re asking about the same sweater?

      It’s not a cable, by the way, but an interesting texture pattern. You can see the stitch pattern more clearly when it’s knit in non-Felted Tweed yarns, such as this beautiful example:

  • Thanks so much for posting this! I recently purchased some Rowan Felted Tweed. I had forgotten about my Rowan magazines and found #26 and #28. I’m in love with the checker board cardigan and have enough yarn to make it. Thanks for reminding me about my magazine collection, so many of the patterns are timeless.

  • What is the pattern for the lace swatch? It is lovely.

  • I am also a great fan of felted tweed but use it mainly for weaving it’s such a brilliant yarn. Also love if mixed with kidsilk haze

  • I swatching FT for a pattern called Baby Branches that wants 24 st/4”. They suggest size 5 needles. It looks like I’m going to need size 2 to get gauge which seems crazy to me but there you have it. The stitches seem like they will be soo tiny…

  • Yep. If I could knit with only one yarn until the end of time, Felted Tweed would be it.

    • Me too! It’s my workhorse, so durable, and can go in the washing machine. A bit itchy next to the skin for me so I wear a t-shirt under my pullovers. Thanks for this article and especially on FT as a gauge shifter.

  • Aaahhh Rowan #28, aka the Best Issue Ever! I knitted China, the cardigan in the top right corner and My current WIP from MDK is using ancient leftovers from this and other Felted Fleece projects. Thank you for this excellent article. I have noticed that my finished cardigan has a slight tendency to wrinkle and that it is happier stored on a padded hanger, probably because the viscose blend yields a very lightweight garment.

  • BOY. This is really great. I am learning something new. Thank you

  • I have been wondering, if the wool is ‘lightly felted’, how do they make it into a machine washable yarn? I started using it for hats made with Field Guide #13 color patterns, followed by a cowl, a log cabin baby blanket, and now a garter stripe shawl (WIP). I love it!

  • My favorite yarn getting through COVID. My goal is to do every pattern in Field Guide 13. I’m well on my way with a couple pillows finished and working on the shawl/blanket now. I’m totally I love

  • Hello would you receommend this yarn for steeking?

    • Yes! We have steeked with it and it is fabulous. Quite a sticky yarn.

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