A skein of Tartelette
Tartelette once knitted up

Yarn Profile: Tartelette

First Impressions
Tartelette is a complex, woven yarn that's composed of two totally different textures. A warm, matte, and soft cotton spans one half, while a more crisp nylon spans the other. Together, they form a surprisingly soft and huggable ribbon.

It's currently available in 10 colors, ranging from striking bold blends (blues, purples, and reds) to delicate summer shades (pinks, peaches, and golds). For this review, I used color 211, or Pink Grapefruit.

Knitting Up
I have one word for Tartelette: snag.

My needle regularly poked through the ribbon by mistake, making for a fairly annoying knitting process. The good news is that these snags didn't appear to produce any permanent damage to the yarn.

I plodded onwards, boosted by the increasingly compelling fabric emerging from my needles. Despite the yarn's flat nature, the cotton half tended to curl inwards, creating much more of a three-dimensional texture in the finished swatches.

Tartelette's flatness also caused the yarn to twist as I worked with it. Occasionally I had to stop and dangle my swatch to let the working yarn untwist. This is a common problem with other ribbons and flat chenille yarns.

Blocking / Washing
Washing Tartelette was a pleasant experience. Many other ribbons tend to be made with pure nylons that never give the appearance of absorbing water. In the wash, they feel more like a scrub sponge than a garment.

Because it has such a high cotton content, however, Tartelette absorbed water beautifully. It relaxed and softened, and its surface became much more smooth and fabric-like.

Once out of the wash and blotted dry, my swatches willingly accepted any manipulation. I worked my way across the swatch, giving a horizontal tug followed by a vertical one.

In this way I was able to realign the stitches and remove a few irregularities that occurred during the knitting process.

Here's where the cotton content comes in handy. Unlike any other true ribbon I've tried, Tartelette is actually soft.

Not only that, but the cotton also gives the visual impression of filling in the gaps that ribbon normally produces. You don't feel completely exposed when wearing Tartelette.

Unfortunately, the yarn has some significant durability issues. To produce such a deep sheen in the nylon and velvety smoothness in the cotton, K1C2 uses extremely fine strands of each fiber. So fine, in fact, that they kept snagging against even the faintest spots of rough skin on my hands while I was knitting.

When subject to the same kind of light abrasion an everyday sweater would encounter over time, my swatches quickly deteriorated. The snagging was most visible with the shiny nylon portion of the yarn, where fine shiny fuzz began to take over.

More abrasion resulted in more fuzz. From afar, the swatches still looked relatively good. But close up, they lost all their elegance and looked more like pieces from a well-worn bathrobe.

To be fair, I need to explain that I normally stay away from ribbon yarns. I find the knitting difficult, and I don't enjoy the slightly abrasive feel that finished projects have.

Tartelette was definitely a challenge, but I was intrigued by its fine, almost opalescent sheen, balanced with the near velvety, matte softness of the cotton.

Then came the wearability tests, which eliminated Tartelette from the day-to-day garment category. Since Tartelette produces an elegant and eye-catching fabric, I classify it as a "fancy" yarn for dressy occasions. Sadly, this means no touch football for Tartelette.

The yarn's price is another reason to use it for dressy occasions only. A medium-sized women's sleeveless shell will require 7 hanks ($63); a long-sleeved cardigan, 13 (or $117). If both those options are still too steep, you can create a stunning shoulder wrap with four hanks, or a simple scarf with only two hanks.

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