Monday, May 23, 2011

Knitting with Madelinetosh - Yarn Review

Knitters all over Ravelry make such a fuss about how much they love Madelinetosh yarn, I decided I might as well see for myself and bought some to try.  After agonizing over the mouth-watering array of choices, I settled on several colors of Tosh Merino Light (TML) to get started with.  

The colorway selection is impressive, with everything from solids, to tonals/ semi-solids to variegated combinations.  This stunning green color is called Grasshopper. describes Tosh Merino Light as:   A 100% superwash merino wool, single-ply fingering weight yarn.  With a generous 420 yards per skein, one skein is more than enough yardage to complete a pair of socks and two skeins can complete a full-sized lace project. Each incredibly soft skein is hand-dyed in small dye lots. 

This yarn has an interesting fuzzy halo, often in a different color, that stands out from the main fiber strand.  Even skeins that appear to be one color are, upon closer inspection, layered with multiple analagous colors that give the yarn the incredible depth that knitters rave about. 

The wool itself is silky and lustrous, and very soft without being limp, knitting up into beautiful projects with amazing drape and very little color pooling or blotching.  

My little shawlette in the Calligraphy colorway had only one or two minor spots of darker color, most others were in the fuzz and easily picked off the surface.  And in all of the 10 skeins I've knit with this yarn, I believe I may have found only one knot - wow. 

The yarn is so beautiful that it looks wonderful knit in the most simple of designs, but even something a little more complex is enhanced by the depth of color.  The same shawlette design shown above is also shown below, knit in stripes of boldly contrasting gray colorways Tern (dark) and Silver Fox (light).

Interestingly, some skeins of the same dye lot had a different feel to the touch and a differing amount of twist, leading me to believe that although dyed together, they were from different batches of base yarn.  The green skeins were so tightly spun that they liked to kink around themselves and had to be controlled in  little plastic bags.  The others were fine.  

I also found the darker colors to be, naturally enough, less soft as the dyes saturate the fibers more completely; however, this mostly changes once the finished project is washed and blocked to a consistent softness.  Colors were very fast with only a faint tint of green from the Grasshopper in the rinse water.  

These three skeins show colorways Silver Fox (L), Logwood (Center), and Antler (R).

At under $20 for a generously-sized skein (all of my mine were over 110 gr.), the price adds even more appeal to sampling this yarn.  That is not to say; however, that I would use it for every knitted or crocheted project.  

The very fuzz and singles softness that appeals to so many people may make it pill-prone, only time will tell.  The lush texture and light weight make it ideal for low-abrasion items like shawls, hats and scarves, but I might not make a pullover with TML until I see how it wears in other items.  I'd also love to try it for a dressy cardigan that did not get heavy wear, or for a light, but snuggly cowl.

Listed as "superwash", the company suggests machine washing in cold water and laying flat to dry, but I tend to hand wash fine knitted items, so I cannot comment on that aspect of this yarn. 

Overall I love looking at this yarn, touching this yarn, knitting with this yarn and wearing this yarn.  And at this price, Tosh Merino Light is a standout in the crowded field of artist palette yarns out there.  I definitely recommend giving it a try.


  1. Awesome review! I've heard mention of these yarns and now I'll keep an eye out for them. Superwash yarns tend to pill easily. I'm still looking for that perfect superwash, ie. doesn't pill too badly. And I believe the ply has a lot of play in that feature. The more ply, tighter ply, probably the less pill.

  2. The yarn sounds lovely! I've knit with other Madelinetosh yarns and I've wanted to try this one too. Thanks for the review! :D

  3. This yarn is a dream.....
    Greetings Anett

  4. Thanks Sara, I agree with you on the superwash pill factor! I am always suspicious of any yarn that feels super soft in the skein, particularly unplied singles, and definitely wouldn't use it for everything. :)

  5. Thanks Alexandra, I also have enjoyed using the Tosh Sock, but would still love to experiment with some others like their Pashmina.