Yarn Profile: Fibra Natura Mermaid
Made from a base of Pima cotton (42%), Mermaid also includes superwash Merino (35%) as well as a dusting of silk (12%) and SeaCell (11%). SeaCell is actually a blend of 95% Tencel and 5% seaweed extracts.
Pull the yarn apart and you'll initially see two plies of yarn. But pull each ply apart and you'll see yet another layer of construction: Two two-ply strands of yarn (I'm guessing the cotton and Merino) are loosely plied with a stream of nearly unspun fiber whose bright shimmer suggests silk and SeaCell. The plied strands have a lighter dye saturation while the stream of nearly unspun fiber has a deeper hue, despite its sparkle.
When the two lighter two-ply strands and the darker unspun fibers are stranded together, and then those plies are further stranded together, it gives the finished yarn a wavy candycane effect. Having sat through the Broadway production of "The Little Mermaid" with my niece last summer, I can say that this yarn actually does also remind me of the scales on their shimmery mermaid costumes.
Sharp-tipped needles brought instant woe, but knitting was smooth and easy once I moved to blunt-tipped bamboo. The surface drag of the bamboo also gave the fibers something to hold, helping me maintain an even tension.
Stitches appeared smooth and even from row to row. The candycane variegation makes the yarn look like a simple two-ply, but that barely spun strand in each ply actually creates a plump and well-rounded material that makes beautiful ribbing, textured stitches, and even garter stitch.
The label suggests a gauge of 4 to 5 stitches per inch on US 7-9 (4.5-5.5mm) needles. I got 4 stitches per inch on US 7 needles and could've easily gone down a needle size or two for a firmer fabric. Just be sure to swatch first, and don't be afraid to go "off-label" to get the right fabric.
Blocking / Washing
While the wet swatch had relaxed and expanded quite a bit, it returned to its original size after it had fully dried. There was no change in gauge or color saturation, just a nice, even piece of knitted fabric.
I should note that although the yarn contains machine-washable Merino, it is not listed as machine-washable. Perhaps they chose this particular type of Merino for aesthetic purposes, perhaps it was simply a matter of cost and availability.
From a touch perspective, this yarn produces a soft fabric that didn't cause any prickle against my skin. It has a cool and rather dry feel, but it warms up quickly (and significantly) against the skin.
A shawl will require at least six skeins, starting the tab at $66. A medium-sized women's pullover will take about 1200 yards, or 11 skeins—with a tab of $121.
Some might say that's a little high for a yarn with only 11% silk, but this yarn's unique fiber blend and twist composition makes apples-to-apples comparisons rather challenging. For what it is, Mermaid is a nice yarn. It has a comfortable hand, gives beautiful definition to your stitches, and it adds a shimmery, flickering, underwater visual effect to the finished fabric.
Fibra Natura by Universal Yarn
42% Pima cotton
35% superwash Merino
4 to 5 sts per inch on US 7-9 (4.5-5.5mm) needles
Average retail price
Where to buy online
Weight/yardage per skein
50g / 125 yards (114m)
Country of origin
Spun in Turkey
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Hand wash warm. Do not machine dry or iron.
Color used in review
Turkish Tile (40604)