First on my list was Bazic Wool, an intriguing yarn from Classic Elite Yarns. I would review this yarn even if it weren't superwash because of its lovely textured ply composition that makes even the most basic stockinette interesting.
Classic Elite began by plying a thin and thick strand of yarn together. This alone would produce an interesting texture, but the company went further to ply three of those stranded plies together into one even more complex strand of texture.
The fact that the fibers have been given a smooth worsted preparation and then plied together a total of six times makes this a strong yarn. Add machine-washability to the mix and you really do have an all-around rugged yarn. The textured surface also makes it creatively interesting. And Classic Elite's bright colors (currently 23 total) give endless possibilities.
I throw the yarn with my left hand, which tends to add extra twist to yarns spun this way. So I had to pause occasionally to pull out more yarn from my skein and redistribute the twist. Even then, I had to dangle my work every few rows to release the extra twist.
A few times my sharp-tipped needle would snag a wisp from the stitch below, and the snag was pretty visible. It's possible that this would've been resolved with a duller-tipped needle, but I'd still recommend you not let your attention stray too far.
The smooth worsted fibers have a sheen to them. Running along the rippled surface of the stitches, the fibers had the effect of water trickling over a fine cobblestoned path. There's a lot of energy and movement in this yarn.
Blocking / Washing
Worsted-spun yarns don't tend to bloom in wash because all the fibers have been so carefully and smoothly aligned together. But when I pulled my swatches out of the washing machine, I could see the stitches had evened and the swatches softened. There was even a very slight halo of loose fibers along the surface.
Unfortunately, there was also a visible bias—I probably hadn't unraveled the pent-up twist enough. I knew I could block the heck out of it but I also wanted to try plan B.
I set about knitting a second test swatch throwing the yarn with my right hand to see just how much this impacted the twist and bias. On the needles, the swatch did feel more open and relaxed. The gauge remained an unchanged 4 stitches per inch. With wash, the swatch showed only a hint of bias that I was able to block out. Conclusion: If you throw with your left hand, be disciplined about un-twisting any pent-up twist in the yarn, or prepare to spend a lot of time blocking.
From a touch perspective, Bazic Wool isn't a baby-soft merino but it's far from scratchy. I think it's fine for most purposes and softer than some yarns I've seen used in next-to-skin designs. It just depends on how sensitive you are.
Bazic Wool doesn't produce a smooth, even surface—so if you're looking for crisp picturesque Dale color patterns you'd be better served by a smoother, slightly finer yarn such as Cascade 220 Superwash. The vivid surface texture is part of the story here. Although the fibers are different, the visual effect is similar to Mission Falls 1824 Cotton.
Considering its Italian heritage and complex composition, this yarn is reasonably priced. A child's size-six drop-shoulder sweater would require about six skeins, keeping the price at under $36. A medium-sized woman's long-sleeved pullover would require about 15 skeins, or run you $90.
Occasionally when I describe a yarn's durability I'll joke, "I wouldn't necessarily use it to outfit an entire children's soccer team." But this week, I would.
If you can stay on top of the twist and block out any extra bias, Bazic will be a great contender for durable, machine-washable handknits.
Classic Elite Yarns
100% superwash wool
4 sts per inch on US 9 needles
Average retail price
Where to buy online
Weight/yardage per skein
50 g. / 65 yards
Country of origin
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Machine wash cold, dry flat
Color used in review
Classic Elite Yarns