Yarn Profile: Ewe Ewe Wooly Worsted Washable
The premise of Ewe Ewe is simple: Not all knitters are comfortable with rougher yarns. And not all knitters like to hand-wash their garments. Wooly Worsted Washable hits that need smack-dab on the head, albeit gently, with a worsted-weight superwash wool made from a soft and spongy Australian Merino. The yarn's sweet spot is baby garb, but it also works brilliantly for gifts where you can't be there to guard against the accidental machine-wash.
Wooly Worsted Washable is spun in Italy of Australian Merino fibers that have been treated for machine washability. The microscopic scales covering the surface of the wool fibers have been gently nibbled off with enzymes. When dunked in warm soapy water and sloshed vigorously, your Ewe Ewe garment should not felt.
The yarn is currently available in seven colors, all of deeply saturated hues reminiscent of a Frida Kahlo painting.
Between the one-yarn offering and the limited color range, Ewe Ewe Yarns is an improbable venture. That's what I thought when I first got a sample skein. Yet more than a year later, this yarn still beckons me for a swatching. There's something here, something between the yarn's happy simplicity and its plush, spongy constitution.
Wooly Worsted Washable is composed of three tightly twisted, perpendicularly plied strands of fiber. It's a round yarn, almost like spaghetti. The stitches don't blend with one-another in the way a fuzzy woolen-spun yarn would. Instead, they give crisp stitch definition and high relief to everything, from cables to ribbing. Because the stitches are so distinct from one-another, be careful with stranded colorwork. With no halo to hide them, the colors running behind your stitches may occasionally peek through.
Blocking / Washing
My swatch, which had been tight and curling on the needles, stretched out on its towel and dried with a faint left-leaning slant. The yarn had kinked up on itself a few times while I was knitting and I failed to un-kink it.
Machine-washable wools are notorious for stretching in the wash, the reason being that their fibers no longer have protruding scales to provide surface friction (which, in turn, helps hold the fibers together in their yarn and fabric). My unwashed swatch had a gauge of 5 stitches and 7 rows per inch. Once washed and blocked, the gauge changed to 4.75 stitches per inch and approximately 6.5 rows per inch. Do swatch and check this before embarking on any significant project where sizing will be an issue.
To its credit, Wooly Worsted Washable has been given three tightly twisted plies, which aid greatly in durability. The fibers have also been prepared in the smoother worsted preparation to minimize those protruding ends. This, alas, also minimizes any come-hither halo.
After a basic amount of vigorous abrasion, my swatch began to blur. With more abrasion, the blur became a faint fog over the fabric surface. After a bit more unforgiving friction, the pills arrived. They were fairly deep-rooted, so I snipped them off with scissors to avoid disturbing the fibers around them.
Cascade 220 has more than 90 colors and Lark a still-impressive 41. In terms of washability, Cascade 220 also offers a machine-washable option, Quince does not. Currently the vast majority of the world's machine-washable wool processing takes place in China.
Wooly Worsted Washable may only come in seven colors, but its fine fibers stand out from the competition, providing a softer hand to the knitter and the wearer.
I only wish the yarn came in larger skeins, say, 100g instead of 50g. Perhaps it's just psychological, but I enjoy knitting with a full skein of yarn, just like I enjoy driving the car with a full tank of gas. As soon as that gas gauge starts to dip, my mind can't fully relax. I'm always checking to make sure I have enough. The same was true with my swatches.
Then again, if the 50g skeins retail for $9, that'd put the tab for a bigger skein at $18—and I don't know how many people would be willing to pay $18 for a 190-yard skein of wool yarn. Hand-dyed, maybe. Blended with silk, maybe. But superwash Merino, no matter that it was spun at an Italian mill? That might limit this yarn's audience.
Fortunately, you can do plenty of things with just one or two skeins. Ewe Ewe has plenty of accessory patterns including cowls, scarves, mitts, and hats. The yarn's bright, soft, colorful, and machine-washable constitution makes it ideal for babies and children. Considering that they are growing, children won't mind if their sweater grows a little with them.
Ewe Ewe Yarns
100% Australian Merino
5 stitches and 6.25 rows per inch on US 8 (5mm) needle
Average retail price
Where to buy online
Weight/yardage per hank
50g / 95 yards (86m)
Country of origin
Australian Merino spun in Italy
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Wash your finished garment inside out in cool water. Tumble dry low or reshape and lay flat to dry.
Color used in review
Ewe Ewe Yarns
Source of review yarn
Sent by a reader who works occasionally with Ewe Ewe Yarns