A skein of Jaeger Luxury Tweed yarn
Jaeger Luxury Tweed yarn once knitted up
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Yarn Profile: Jaeger Luxury Tweed

First Impressions
At very first glance, I thought Jaeger Luxury Tweed was a scratchy, acrylic-laden tweed with little if any personality. The skein was fresh from Jaeger's headquarters in Holmfirth, England. It had been compressed so much in transit that it looked limp and lifeless.

The fiber resembled that of Shetland wool but with a slight shimmer that only comes with acrylics...or so I smugly thought. How in the world, I asked myself, could Jaeger call this yarn luxury?

The first clue came when I read the fiber content. No scratchy Shetland or tinsel-like acrylic, only the softest merino blended with a generous portion of alpaca.

The merino provides the matte Shetlandlike fuzz -- only infinitely softer -- while the alpaca's protruding fibers give an angoralike halo and the shimmer I earlier mistook for acrylic.

Knitting Up
Luxury Tweed is extremely easy to work with. It improves upon Jaeger's earlier tweed yarn, which has a lower alpaca content and uses occasional flecks of contrasting colors.

Here the yarn has two perfectly even plies, each with a slightly different color saturation. When the plies come together, they produce a more subtle, steady flickering effect.

The yarn is extremely easy to work with, excepting the occasional loose fiber bits that flew around as I worked. But otherwise, the yarn was well-behaved. It slid easily through my fingers, and it clung to my bamboo needles without being too tight and sticky or loose and slippery.

The resulting knitted fabric was perfectly smooth and consistent. The colors' tweedy effect completely concealed any uneven or crooked stitches.

Blocking / Washing
The yarn relaxed comfortably in its warm bubble bath without bleeding or stretching. I was curious to see how the yarn would respond to agitation in warm water, so I didn't hold myself back during this part of the process.

I then rinsed the swatches in cool water rather than warm -- a temperature change normally reserved for the felting process -- and rolled them in a towel to blot dry.

Much to my surprise, the merino relaxed only slightly. It was the alpaca that responded most to the washing, loosening even further to create a truly beautiful fuzz halo. There was no change in gauge, and the swatches all blocked to shape without almost any human intervention.

A Luxury Tweed sweater may look scratchy, but it isn't. Merino and alpaca are among the softest and least-abrasive fibers you'll find. They're also extremely warm fibers, but the warmth is offset by the yarn's overall light weight and modest bulk. This means you wouldn't need to reserve your Luxury Tweed sweater for the one day each year when temperatures drop below zero.

Friction and wear caused the swatches to release more of their loose fibers, especially the alpaca. With more wear, large waves of loose fiber gathered on the fabric surface -- nothing near as conspicuous as traditional pills -- and were easily removed. Any signs of surface wear were almost completely concealed by the yarn's heathered color and surface halo.

My stitch definition stayed remarkably clear despite the yarn's halo. Any ribbing, Aran stitches, lace work, or cables would look beautiful.

At the time of this review, Luxury Tweed was just being introduced to the market. I could only find a few shops that carry it, and most of those were in the United Kingdom. This needn't be a drawback.

It's UK price of 3.79 translates roughly to $5.94. Depending on how much you purchase, the discount could pay for shipping and still leave you ahead.

Skeins carry a generous 197 yards, which translates into 6 or 7 skeins for a basic women's sweater.

Luxury Tweed produces a beautiful, traditionally "wooly" fabric. I've carried my swatches around all week, subjecting everyone to my usual "touch this!" test. They all shared my surprise at its softness.

And -- my indicator of a truly appealing yarn -- several people requested that I make them sweaters with it. But if I succumb to Luxury Tweed, the first sweater I make will be for me.

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