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Knitting with the NEW Universal Yarn MAGNOLIA

by Cindy O'Malley

Welcome to KNITmuch, where this week, I have the pleasure of working with a brand-new yarn. Universal Yarn Magnolia is a super fine weight yarn that blends modal with cashmere to create soft knitted garments perfect for spring.

Magnolia is available in 14 different colors and exudes softness with a shimmery glow that’s luxurious next to the skin. I’ve selected 3 colors to work with this week; Frayed Denim, Key Lime and Citrus Leaf. Although there’s still snow on the ground where I live, these colors have me anxiously anticipating the warm and sunny days ahead.

 3 skeins of Universal Yarn Magnolia in Frayed Denim, Key Lime, and Citrus Leaf colors.

Universal Yarn Magnolia is available in 14 different colors. My color choices for this week are Frayed Denim, Key Lime, and Citrus Leaf.

Each 3.5oz [100g] skein contains 361yds [330m], with a recommended knitting needle of US 1-3 [2.25–3.25mm] = 27 – 32 sts x 35 – 40 rows = 4” [10cm] in stocking stitch. The recommended crochet hook is US B/1-1E/4 [2.25-3.25mm] = 22 – 27 sc x 26 – 31 rows = 4” [10cm].

Magnolia is a blend of 95% modal and 5% cashmere with a very tight twist, which makes for easy care – machine washable in cold water and tumble dry at low temperature. I don’t let my knitted garments tumble to dry, but rather pull them from the dryer while still damp and lay flat to finish drying. I’ll put this to the test for my swatches to see how they react.

You may be wondering, what is modal? I knew it was a cellulose-based fiber, but I did a little research and discovered that modal is a semi-synthetic fiber made from the pulp of beech trees. It’s breathable, soft, durable and long lasting. The fabrics created from modal are often used in underwear, bedding, activewear, t-shirts and eco-friendly pillows. modal was first developed in Japan in 1951 as an alternative to silk and is very similar to regular viscose rayon. However, it’s also stronger, more breathable, and can withstand excessive moisture. It’s known for wicking away moisture which makes it perfect for spring and summer knitwear.

There are a number of sites that describe the processing of the fiber and the characteristics of the fabrics created from it. Here’s a quote from one of the sites I visited in my research (

“What does modal fabric feel like? Like a cozy, breathable, soft hug.”

That totally describes this yarn. I consider it one of those comfort skeins you squeeze and hold up to your cheek to alleviate stress. I’m really looking forward to knitting with it.

As I mentioned previously, this is a brand new yarn. When I initially planned my projects, there were no patterns designed for it, nor pictures of yarn and color samples. I selected my colors based on little square color boxes. When the yarn arrived, I got excited. It was so soft and the colors were magnificent. I held a skein up to my cheek and that’s when it told me what it wanted to be. I didn’t completely abandon my original thoughts, just tweaked them a little.

For my projects this week, I’ll be making a summer top, but since it’s not quite summer yet, I’ll also be making a little cardigan. To complete the ensemble, I decided to weave a wrap using all three colors that’ll make a perfect cover up over a sun dress.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you some swatches I knitted to determine my needle size, and how to play with a couple of different pattern motifs to measure the gauge. I hope you join me as I explore knitting with Universal Yarn Magnolia.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: Knitting swatches for gauge, needles, color, and pattern: It’s important


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