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Jo Sharp yarn
Jo sharp yarn

Yarn Profile: Jo Sharp DK

First Impressions
The first thing you'll notice about Jo Sharp yarns is that they're packaged in tidy, dumpling-sized skeins. It's not only a cute marketing ploy—they stack and travel better, and they hold a respectable 107 yards per skein.

Jo Sharp's designs are alive with color, and this yarn reflects that with more than 52 colors. For this review I chose a chestnut brown with hints of olive green, yellow, and light orange.

Knitting Up
This yarn is tightly spun from long, fine fibers. The result? It wants to be knit. It has a very solid, consistent feel, similar to knitting with a strand of licorice.

There's nothing to snag or twist or otherwise get in the way, because the yarn has been double-combed to eliminate short fibers. I gathered steam quickly. Stitches appeared well-defined and even.

Blocking / Washing
This firm yarn holds its shape even when soaked with water. My swatches behaved like troopers through the entire washing and blocking process.

There was no stretching, bleeding, fading, pilling, or anything. Lifting them out of the water, I saw beautiful, flat, solid squares of fabric.

Wearing
In her books and in the instructions on the inside of the yarn label, Jo Sharp insists that this yarn will soften with each wash and wear. Ever the cynic, I had to test this for myself. I gave a set of swatches several additional washes.

Sure enough, the solidity of the first swatches gave way to a much softer, more pliable fabric in those that had been washed more frequently. The added softness wasn't the result of any fiber degradation, mind you, but rather from an overall relaxing of the material, making it much more pleasant to touch.

Conclusion
Although I like this yarn, I wasn't completely sold on it until I saw how soft it became after washing. The yarn was so firm as I knit it up that I doubted I'd enjoy any garment made of it. I stand corrected.

If you like the yarn, you won't have any trouble finding a good pattern for it. Jo Sharp provides a huge variety of patterns for almost every skillset, from simple two-color pullovers to insanely complicated color patterns and Arans. And if those don't float your boat, check out the Cider House Rules pullover pattern in the Fall 2000 issue of Interweave Knits.

 
 Talk about this yarn in our forums

Previous reader comments
"I had to go down 2 needle sizes to get gauge with this yarn. Normally I knit to gauge. Would be interested in other knitters experiences with this." mrlamb, 11/26/2001

"Regarding the Jo Sharp yarn: If I had to pick only one yarn for the rest of my life, it would be Jo Sharp. The yarn does not fray while knitting, its feel while knitting is luxurious, and the finished garment has very little pilling. This is due to the spinning process where the short fibers are removed. And the colors!"pschu10275, 7/27/2001

"I'm currently knitting a vest for my husband using Jo Sharp yarn.
It's my first experience with her yarn and I love it. It knits up so beautifully -- the stitches are so well defined -- and yet, it's easy on my hands and doesn't snag. I'm anxious to finish if only to wash it and see how well it feels, based on your recommendation. Thanks!"  
J. Plumhoff, 10/13/00