Special Yarn Preview:
New from Karabella Yarns

Karabella's new yarns

If you aren't too familiar with Karabella Yarns, don't fret -- the company has only been around since 1999. It is the wholesale yarn offspring of The Karabella Company, a New York-based fashion firm whose clients include Donna Karan, Anna Sui, and the Gap.

In 2001 we reviewed the company's flagship yarn, Aurora 8. In 2002, we followed up with a look at Karabella Softig. We recently received a new care package from Karabella featuring five yarns, some of which are already available, others of which will soon be shipped to stores.

While we fit them into our yarn review schedule, here's a quick overview of what we found inside the box.


Gossamer

GossamerA strand of Gossamer
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The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word gossamer as, "a soft sheer gauzy fabric." That's exactly what this yarn produces, except for one small addition: every few feet of yarn, you'll find brief intervals of dense metallic eyelash that gives your sheer a little sparkle.

This yarn is already available in stores and ships in 11 muted colors (including browns, whites, blacks, navy, grey, and red) infused with either silver or gold eyelash. Skeins retail for $18.50 on average, which is rather pricey except for the fact that each skein has 220 yards.

The fiber composition is 52% nylon, 30% kid mohair, and 18% polyester, and Gossamer knits up at 5 stitches to the inch on US 5 needles.

Margrite

MargriteA strand of Margrite
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Seven fine strands of cashmere and merino have been loosely plied together to form this soft and luscious yarn. It has very little bounce to it, and I fear it may be susceptible to splits and snags, especially when knitting with sharp-tipped needles. But for softness, it's wonderful.

Margrite is available in 10 colors, most of which are soft pastels except for one that's a vibrant shade of red and one that's a sophisticated black. Skeins hold 154 yards, and the yarn knits up at 5.5 stitches per inch on US 6 needles.

I can see Margrite performing beautifully as a scarf or shawl, where the softness would be most useful and wearability wouldn't be as much of a concern.

Puffy

PuffyA strand of Puffy
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Already available in stores, Puffy is one of those yarns you can't help but squeeze on the skein. It is similar in composition to Berroco Medley. A fine two-ply strand of thread is paired with a thick strand of unspun merino. Together, both are plied tightly with another fine two-ply strand to give the illusion of multiple plies. While Medley has a slubby, varied thickness, Puffy is steady and consistent.

At 2 stitches per inch on US 15 needles, Puffy makes a perfect yarn for fast-knitting weekend projects. It is available in eight wintry colors that'd be most fitting on a cuddly winter sweater.

Puffy comes in 54-yard skeins and is priced at $13.50 per skein. A medium-sized women's sweater could require as many as 15 skeins, setting the price tag at $200.

Vintage Cotton

Vintage CottonA strand of Vintage Cotton
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I'm not generally fond of cottons, but this one has me hooked. It's a mercerized cotton, which means the fiber has been treated with warm concentrated soda lye. The result is a more silky texture that is particularly good for sheer summer knits.

In the case of Vintage Cotton, the appeal goes far beyond the mercerized fiber. Karabella has taken four strands of cotton and plied each with a finer thread of cotton before plying everything together.

This technique produces a pearly, textured look while maintaining perfect smoothness and consistency. It also makes the yarn extra strong and durable.

The yarn knits at 6 stitches to the inch on US 3 to 4 needles and is available in 140-yard skeins. Karabella currently provides Vintage Cotton in eight colors with a distinctively Southwestern flair. You'll find soft shades of tans, greys, and browns.

If you have the patience to knit at this gauge, I see Vintage Cotton making a classic summer top with beautiful drape.

Zodiac

ZodiacA strand of Zodiac
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Zodiac is also made from mercerized cotton, yet it looks entirely different from Vintage Cotton. The yarn is made from 14 two-ply strands that are all plied together for an extremely strong and smooth yarn with that telltale mercerized cotton sheen.

The yarn comes in 98-yard skeins and knits up at 5 stitches per inch on US 6 to 7 needles. Karabella makes Zodiac in both solid and space-dyed colors that run the gamut from soft, gentle pastels to rich plums, electric greens, and vibrant pinks.

Zodiac retails for $6.95 per skein. A sleeveless tank requires approximately 5 skeins, keeping the bill under $35.
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