Yarn Profile: Heirloom Easy Care 8-Ply Merino
Heirloom Easy Care is blend of merino and merino cross that looks surprisingly similar to mercerized cotton. That's because it has a cable spin, which also provides excellent strength. The merino adds elasticity and loft.
The superwash yarn is currently available in 42 colors.
It took quite a while before I was comfortable enough to look away from my knitting. Even then I'd hit an occasional snag where I'd only picked up one of the three strands that make up the cable.
The yarn also snagged occasionally against dry skin, pulling one of the cable strands loose from the rest. Fortunately, the yarn has a good memory and bounced back into shape with some tugging.
Blocking / Washing
Feeling the need to temper my enthusiasm, I next tossed the same swatches in a load of heavy laundry using standard Tide laundry detergent. Not a good idea.
The swatches emerged slightly faded and tired-looking, with a bit less elasticity.
Moral of the story: Use a gentle soap!
Likewise, they endured substantial wear and friction before they began showing their age. Signs of age included small fuzzy patches followed by subtle pills. The pills were best removed using scissors or a sweater shaver because they were still tightly attached to the yarn.
I can think of only a few occasions where this yarn wouldn't be appropriate. Someone who spends a lot of time pruning thorny bushes, for example, wouldn't appreciate Heirloom's tendency to snag. Likewise, a highly sensitive person might notice Heirloom's slightly rougher texture, a result of its superwash treatment.
As for me, I can't get beyond the snagging problems -- which may be a personal limitation more than anything else.
Otherwise, Heirloom Easy Care 8-ply provides a durable, reasonably priced machine-washable merino alternative.Add your comments
"Have just discovered your site and saw mention of Heirloom wool. I have used a 5ply of theirs to knit my daughter a sweater on my Brother 940 knitting machine in a garter carriage and cable stitch pattern. It was just lovely to use and looks very nice. The upside is that I can purchase the wool at my local wool and yarn shop. The downside is it comes in 50gram balls, which is a bit of a pain to have to re-wind for the K.M." Beverly, 5/30/2001
"I just love Heirloom Easy Care! I discovered it for making baby booties and have fallen in love with the texture and bounce. Unlike the reviewer, I haven't had any problems with snagging or splitting - just the opposite. It's been less problematic for me than Dale Baby Ull. I have been knitting Easy Care up at 4.5 st/inch for a baby sweater and it's just dreamy. I also love how crisply the purl stitches stand out. I'm thinking about making a matching pair of ganseys for baby and me!" terri, 5/26/2001
"Heirloom also used to make(still do???) a lovely cotton yarn. For washing the merino yarn, in Oz we would use some type of WoolWash liquid, most of which have eucalyptus in them, or a soap/detergent which says it is suitable for washing wool, NOT your average all-purpose laundry detergent. We would also use the 'delicate' or shortest warm (not hot or cold) cycle on the washing machine. Or make a rod for our own backs like I do, and handwash them anyway! They will eventually suffer from machine washing, no matter how delicate the washer." sydo, 5/25/2001
"I use unscented Tide all the time. Was my husband's woollen handknit socks in it all the time. They are still going strong & looking good after more than 10yrs and a few darns of the heels where his boots rubbed." Dee, 5/25/2001
"Heirloom also make beautiful 3 and 4 ply yarns, which knit into beautiful baby clothes. 3 and 4 ply yarns are the equivalent of fingering weight, I guess, using 3mm or 3.25mm needles. Drat! You guys are discovering all our secret yarns!" Catherine from Melbourne, Australia, 5/24/2001
"I haven't used the merino wool you're refering too, but I wouldn't wash ANYTHING in Tide. Don't let it in the house!!" billie, 5/24/2001
Heirloom Easy Care 8-Ply
100% merino (merino/merino cross)
22.5 sts to 4 in using US 6 / 4 mm needles
Average retail price
Where to Buy Online
Weight/Yardage per Skein
50 grams / 98 meters
Country of Origin
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Warm machine wash short gentle cycle in approved detergent. Warm rinse well, normal spin, do not tumble dry, dry flat -- protect from direct sunlight. Do not bleach. Warm iron. Dry cleanable.