Thursday, February 14, 2013

Yarn Review: Billow

Billow in Gosling & Tea Rose
Rating: **** 4 stars  (out of 5)
Knit Picks Billow
Content: 100% Pima Cotton
Weight: Bulky weight
Yardage: 120 yards
Grams: 100 gram hank
Care: Hand Wash, Dry flat
Knitting Gauge: 3 – 3.75 sts = 1"
Recommended Needle Size: US10 – 11 needles (6mm–8mm)
Crochet Gauge: 8–11 sc = 4''
Recommended Hook Size: K–M hooks (6.5mm – 9mm)
Current Number of Colors: 16
Price: $5.99

Manufacturer’s Description: Billow is all about creature comforts: oversized cowls and wraps, lazy weekend pullovers, and cozy blankets that hug you back. Eight plies of super soft pima cotton create a slightly thick and thin texture for a feel that is both rustic and modern all at once. A bulky weight yarn, Billow works up quickly while the luxuriously soft feel makes it the perfect treat for those with sensitive skin. With a contemporary and sophisticated palette that spans 16 stunning colors, Billow’s cloud-like softness is sure to tempt your needles and hooks to cast on your next project right away.

Billow Yarn Review: I don't knit with cotton very often. It hurts my hands and since it has no elasticity I feel like it limits the number of things you can make with it. When I was told about Billow I wasn't as excited about it as I should be about a new yarn, but I decided to try it out and keep an open mind.

First Impression: When I opened the packaged and touched the yarn my first thought was OMG soft! And the colors.... I love the muted tones. So very pretty. I decided to wind the yarn right away. Now this is really minute, but something I loved was how the yarn was skeined. I opened the skein and put it on my swift and looked around for a scissor to cut the ties that are always on a skein to hold it in the looped form. I couldn't find the scissors and I was too lazy to search the house, so I decided to attack the knots with my fingers. I found the place where the yarn was tied and noticed that a simple pull untied the knot. And the part I really loved? The yarn was tied with itself and only in that once place, so as soon as that knot was undone I could start immediately winding. Not cutting several ties or looking for ends. Untie, pull, wind. So simple. All of the three skeins I received were the same. No tangles, no breaks, no knots.

Simply Striped Shrug in Billow
Designing with Billow: I wanted to design something in this new yarn right away. Normally if I only get a small amount of a yarn my first choice is a hat. Since this is cotton I new that wasn't going to be happening. I toyed with the idea of a cowl and started one, but I decided that if I knit a cowl in Billow I wanted a nice oversized one in a single color and since I only had one skein each of three different colors I wasn't going to get exactly what I wanted. (Eventually I will make that cowl. The yarn is too soft not to want to wear around my neck.) I settled on the idea of a shrug. I knit halfway through, realized my gauge was larger than I thought, ripped it out, and started again. When I was finally done I decided to wash the shrug and see how it held up. I hand washed it and then threw it into the dryer on the delicate cycle. It shrunk ever so slightly. Barely even noticeably. Technically the washing instructions for Billow are hand wash and dry flat, so if you use the machine it's at your own risk. For me it worked fine and that makes me happy because heavy cotton takes so long to air dry. The photos of the shrug were taken after it was washed and dried.

Knitting with Billow: In the manufacturer's description one of the things it mentions using Billow for is "lazy weekend pullovers." In theory this seems like a good idea. I wouldn't mind snuggling with this yarn. However, it's a bulky weight cotton and it's heavy. Not heavy like it's going to make you sweat, but heavy like it weighs a lot. But if you like a sweater with a lot of weight behind it then go ahead and give it a whirl. Just remember that cotton also has a tendency to sag over time.

I would use Billow for a shrug or bolero, cowl, scarf, stole/shawl, or blanket. A shrug or bolero in a heavy cotton yarn remains manageable because of it's smaller size. Cowls, scarves, wraps, and blankets all make good choices since they don't necessarily need to retain their original size.

Overall I really enjoyed my experience with Billow. It did make my wrists hurts, but that's no surprise and no fault of this particular yarn. The thick and thin texture makes simple stockinette look great. I probably wouldn't do much more than stockinette or ribbing with this yarn. I suppose a large simple lace pattern (like a leaf or trailing vine) could look nice if you weren't too concerned about crispness of the detail. The colors are lovely and I want all of them. A cowl in each color.

*The yarn in this review was received complimentary from the manufacturer for test knitting & designing purposes. Reviewer was not otherwise paid, contracted, or obligated to review the yarn or product in this review. 


JAM said...

Thanks for the review and shrug pattern! I found your blog through Knitpicks on FB and think I may try this.

Laura Blinn said...

Great review and lovely pattern. Found the retweet by Knit Picks. Adding your blog to my reader now :)

Bobbie and Jim said...

I want to knit this shrug, but I'm not a pink person. Are there other color combinations you might suggest please. I like the green tones.

Erica Jackofsky said...

Well, you can really use any combination you want. That's part of the fun! But how about Ash or Willow with Gosling, and Lichen stripes?

Fancy Yarn Manufacturer said...

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