Yarn Profile: Schulana Cashmere Moda
Simply put, Cashmere-Moda is made from a plied strand of pure cashmere that has been enclosed within a knitted tube of cashmere. The outer shell forms a very fine, open "cage" through which the inner cashmere peeks. The two components tend to be of different but complementary colors.
We normally see this construction in flashier novelty yarns made from synthetic blends, but here it's used with a pure, buttery soft cashmere.
As with many luxury yarns spun in Italy, Cashmere-Moda comes in very small skeins priced at a premium. Each 25g skein holds 73 yards, or 67 meters. If you were to indulge in a medium-sized women's pullover, you'd need 14 skeins and a budget of $280. A Clapotis in this yarn would be deliriously luxurious, but even that would require 12 skeins.
Recognizing that our yarn budgets vary, I set out to see just what could be made from a single skein. Using my handy EatSmart Kitchen Scale, I wound my skein into two balls that weighed identical amounts. My mission? A pair of fingerless mitts.
My Signature stiletto-tipped circulars proved far too pointy for this yarn, repeatedly snagging one or more parts of the cage. I switched to a pair of dull-tipped Clover needles and the snagging stopped—though if I knit more than a few stitches without looking, I inevitably snagged the cage again.
I wasn't bothered by the need to pay closer attention. Cashmere-Moda is a beautiful yarn to watch as it becomes fabric. It maintains a perfect tension, willingly holding your hand before sliding onto the needles. Knitting was speedy and pleasant, producing even stitches.
In just a few short hours, and minus some time lost to frogging, I had created two simple but quite satisfying fingerless mitts. Let me clean up the pattern and I'll let you know when it's available.
Blocking / Washing
The yarn released a tiny gasp of pink into the water, but it rinsed clear. Out of the wash, the mitt just needed a little blotting and prodding back into shape before being left to dry.
Once dry, the mitt presented a relaxed and cohesive fabric with a delicate surface halo. Despite the relaxation, the stitch and row gauge remained unchanged.
When I subjected the washed mitt to a sustained amount of friction, the surface halo created by the outside cage increased—but, remarkably, the fabric itself did not pill. I fully expected the fabric to lose its shape and begin to fall apart rather quickly, but it did not.
Only after quite a bit more harsh abrasion did the surface fibers finally form faint clusters and the fabric begin to stretch. All the while, the plied strand of yarn inside the cage remained intact. For cashmere, this is remarkable.
If you derive pleasure from the physical act of knitting for countless hours at a time, price may be an issue. There's no getting around the fact that this yarn costs $20 for 73 yards. Unless you knit verrrrry slowly, countless hours of Cashmere-Moda knitting will require countless skeins of yarn. The rewards are many, but they may not be for everybody.
On the other hand, if you enjoy the wearing and admiring as much as you do the knitting, I'm glad to be able to say you can get a pair of mitts out of one skein. If you can get two skeins, the mitts can have substance to them—but even with one skein you'll get to hold something very soft and warm as you go about your day.
20 stitches and 26 rows on US 7-8 (4.5 to 5mm) needles
Average retail price
Where to buy online
Weight/yardage per skein
25g/ 73 yards (67m)
Country of origin
Spun in Italy
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Hand wash, do not bleach, do not machine dry, cool iron.
Color used in review
In the U.S. contact Skacel
Source of review yarn