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Fiber content, the foundation of knitting

by Fiona Stevenson

Knitting the Graphite Tank Top with Unity yarn

This week I’ll be creating the Graphite Tank top using Unity yarn, a 100% natural fiber blended yarn by Fibra Natura. Unity yarn combines four different fibers: wool, cotton, bamboo, and linen; to create a perfect balance. There is a beautiful textural element to this yarn with thick and thin strands plied together that lend both softness and strength to Unity.

Creating the Graphite Tank Top with the right fiber foundation

 

Unity Yarn by Fibra Natura

 

This is my first blog post for KNITmuch.com, and I couldn’t be happier to share my passion for knitting with you! Over the week I’ll be sharing my experience of knitting the Graphite Tank Top in Unity yarn by Fibra Natura. I hope you get as excited about Unity Yarn as I am! When I was offered a choice of yarns to knit this top, there was no doubt that I’d be knitting with Unity. It was the blend of natural fibers that immediately grabbed my attention – 36% wool, 28% cotton, 18% linen, and 18% bamboo. I’m a fiber junkie, and this was a yarn buffet of some of my favorite fibers. I had to try it! What was it about this combination that made it irresistible to me? Well, I’ll tell you.

 

Gauge swatch in Unity yarn for Graphite Tank using the Windchime colorway.

 

When I choose yarn for a project there are two elements that are essential in that decision: fiber content and color. I’ll talk about color choice tomorrow, but for me it was the fiber content of Unity Yarn that called to me first. I’ve spent many years learning about the qualities of different fibers, so I can make good decisions as to which yarns to use in my knitting projects. It’s very important that I choose the appropriate fiber base to suit my project, or I can waste weeks of knitting on a project that doesn’t hold its shape, is too hot or too cold, doesn’t drape properly, or doesn’t suit the design I’ve chosen. Trust me, I’ve learned the truth of this the hard way (we shall not discuss the unwearable cotton sweater that turns me into a middle-aged stripper by stretching off my shoulders whenever I wear it.) The fiber content of yarn is the foundation of the project, and if the foundation is wrong the whole piece will be. So what is it about Unity Yarn’s content that has me so excited to make it the foundation of my Graphite Tank top? Let me take you through it, fiber by fiber: wool, cotton, linen, and bamboo.

Wool

 

Sheep wool is the master fiber memory.

 

The word “Wool” alone on a content label usually means the yarn is made from sheep, and it is hands down my favorite fiber. Wool has several unique qualities that make it stand out from the rest. Firstly, wool is warm but still allows air circulation. Also, it’s strong, because of the small barbs in the fibers that cling to each other as it’s knitted. Most important for the Unity Yarn, wool has fiber memory which cotton, linen, and bamboo lack. Fiber memory is the ability of the yarn to return to its original shape after it has been stretched. Wool naturally wants to bounce back. It’s this quality that I believe will make my Graphite Tank top wearable in the long term, as the wool will help it continue to fit me properly over time. Click to learn more about wool and its properties.

Cotton

 

The coolness of cotton is perfect for summer knits

 

It’s the coolness of cotton that made me happy to see it in the Unity blend. Because it’s a plant-based fiber, it’s cooler than any animal fibers.  Another wonderful quality is that cotton can absorb water while keeping its breath-ability. For people, like me, who occasionally find perspiration getting the better us, this quality of cotton makes it invaluable for any summer garment.  Click to learn more about cotton.

Linen

 

Flax plants are used to make the remarkably durable linen fiber.

 

Made from the flax plant, linen has amazing durability! I’ve made garments with linen, and washed them multiple times with no damage done. Not only were they not shrunken or misshapen, they were softer and more lovely after the wash! Linen’s strength makes it highly resistant to pilling. When I see linen in the fiber content of a yarn, I know that it will lend strength and structure to whatever I knit. Linen also adds to the coolness of my projects as it also circulates air well. Linen has been used to make clothing for centuries, especially in warm countries, for very good reasons. Click to learn more about linen.

Bamboo

 

Bamboo is an eco-friendly fiber that adds softness to Unity Yarn.

 

Bamboo has a lovely silkiness that helps soften the feel of Unity yarn. Linen, in particular, can be quite stiff in the beginning, and so can cotton depending on the quality of the cotton fiber.  Wool can have a scratchiness to it. Bamboo is smooth and soft like silk or cashmere which helps balance out the yarn to make knitting with Unity a more enjoyable experience. As a bonus, Bamboo is an eco-friendly, highly renewable, and biodegradable material. Click to learn more about Bamboo.

Perfect Unity

Unity is achieved by gathering diverse elements that complement and complete each other into one yarn. When it’s done well, their various qualities create something new that’s better than each element would be on its own. Unity yarn has wool for a fabric that will hold its shape; cotton for coolness; linen for durability, and bamboo for softness making it a super yarn. I can’t wait to show you how wonderful this yarn works up in my Graphite Tank top! Tomorrow I’ll share with you how I created unity of design with the color choices I made for my Graphite Tank top.

 

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: How to choose the perfect color combination for your knits

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