Yarn Profile: Elsebeth Lavold Designer's Choice Silky Wool
Although few designers have been afforded such luxury, U.S. yarn distributor KFI (Knitting Fever Inc.) appears to be changing this. KFI has produced custom-label yarns for several prominent designers including Debbie Bliss and Jo Sharp. Most recently, KFI turned its eye to Scandinavian designer Elsebeth Lavold, and this yarn is the result.
Lavold has chosen to begin with 10 simple colors that—although her designs are mostly monochromatic—all work well together.
The somewhat finer gauge requires a little more patience than your usual instant-gratification yarn, but you'll be rewarded with a beautiful flowing fabric that shows off any contour or surface stitchwork. Best of all, any irregular stitches are concealed by the yarn's slightly mottled surface.
Casting-on was smooth and snag-free. The yarn slid easily through my fingers and hugged the needles without any unwanted stickiness.
I noticed a higher than average amount of vegetable matter in the yarn, which can be easily rectified by taking the time to pull out pieces as you encounter them. I'm guessing that Lavold chose to keep the wool soft by avoiding the carbonization process, which normally removes such vegetation but can make fiber harsh.
Blocking / Washing
My swatches didn't bleed in lukewarm or warmer water. They washed and rinsed beautifully, drying into perfect shape and becoming a soft, fuzzy, cohesive fabric.
The silk offsets the innate fiber memory of wool, which means you'll want to give extra care to reshape your garment before letting it dry.
I do not consider this a sturdy everyday yarn, although it will fare fine for most people. If you're prone to active elbow-leaning, you may find those spots wearing thin over time. The same goes for high-friction areas (underarms, for example), which will pill and grow thin faster than other spots on your garment.
The book uses her new yarn exclusively, and she provides a little more background about the yarn's history. She explains, "I wanted a yarn with a structure to create an interesting surface in itself, and at the same time show cables and other stitch patterns well. I wanted it to be inviting to the touch and soft enough to be worn directly on the body."
This yarn embodies all her goals beautifully. I also appreciate the fact that the price point has been maintained at a reasonable level. A medium-sized women's sweater (following Lavold's own patterns) calls for approximately 9 skeins, each of which retails for approximately $6.95. This brings the bill for a beautiful designer sweater to less than $65, which—in this day and age—is a bargain.
Lavold makes it clear that this is the first yarn in what she plans to be a series. I look forward to watching her creative dreams unfold.
Elsebeth Lavold Designer's Choice Silky Wool
KFI (Knitting Fever Incorporated)
22 stitches and 30 rows per 10cm (4 inch) square using 4mm (US6) needles
Average retail price
Where to buy online
Weight/yardage per skein
50g / 192 yards
Country of origin
Suggested wash method
Hand wash in lukewarm water with mild soap. Do not wring. Lay flat and reshape. Let dry away from direct sunlight or heat. Use a cool iron and damp pressing cloth if necessary.
Color used in review