A skein of Cabana
Cabana once knitted up

Yarn Profile: Cabana

First Impressions
Cabana is one of those yarns you instinctively want to squeeze. I keep expecting it to let out a Pillsbury Doughboy-esque giggle in return.

With the loft of a bathrobe and the softness of well-worn jersey sheets, Cabana has made me seriously reconsider the merits of cotton. It has the spin of Karabella Yarns' Aurora 8 and the bulk of Rowan's Polar, but without one speck of wool.

For this review I used color number 925.

Knitting Up
Cabana is well-suited for beginners. Its bulk delivers quick gratification, while its smooth texture produces clear stitch definition. Dropped or extra stitches are easy to spot and fix.

I'm not saying Cabana is perfect, mind you. The yarn is composed of seven smaller strands, each of which is composed of three even smaller strands. In a worst-case scenario, this gives you 21 possible strands to snag with each stitch. Yikes!

Fortunately, you're only likely to snag one or two strands before you get the hang of Cabana, as I did. I used blunt-tipped bamboo needles, which gave me better control over each stitch.

There was only one slight annoyance: The yarn kept twisting up on itself, both when coming from the center of the ball and from the outside. Even though I'd stop to unwind the yarn periodically, I was still afraid the excess twist would result in a bias (i.e. the swatch tilting to one side). Fortunately it didn't.

Blocking / Washing
The yarn's label advises you to use cold water for best results. When I tested with lukewarm, there was noticeable bleeding. If you pick a bright color, be sure to wash your garment separately.

After rolling up my swatches in a towel, I laid them out and carefully prodded them into shape. They dried in perfect form, and I wasn't able to detect any significant color fading.

Although Cabana is lightweight, there's still enough heft to produce a subtle, come-here-and-squeeze-me drape. And although cotton is normally inelastic, Cabana has a pleasant sponge-like texture.

Cabana didn't respond well to the stress tests. After a normal amount of friction, the swatches began to pill. The more I tormented my swatches, the more pervasive the oatmeal-like flecks were. At the same time, the surface of my swatches got fuzzier and fuzzier.

Depending on how rough you are on your clothes, I can imagine a Cabana garment surviving one season before needing to be retired to the "only wear at home" drawer.

A notorious cotton-loving friend caught me preparing my swatches for this review and begged me to make her a sweater with Cabana. Despite its over-spin issues, the yarn was so pleasant to work with that my friend might just get her wish.

Cabana best presents itself in simple, classic designs. I fear that any type of complex stitchwork would produce an unflatteringly bulky garment. Fear not, you can still have fun mixing and matching colors.

My only drawback has to do with the price. You'll need between 10 and 12 skeins for a medium-sized woman's pullover, which translates to between $85 and $102. Many knitters might not be willing to invest that much in a cotton-blend sweater, especially one with such a potentially short life span.

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