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Baruffa Maratona
Baruffa Maratona

Yarn Profile: Baruffa Maratona

First Impressions
Maratona is a light, soft, and luxurious Merino yarn that comes in over 41 colors. At first glance, it looks exactly like a mercerized cotton.

That's because it's spun in the "cable" style. Six smaller, tightly spun two-ply strands are spun together to form the main strand. The end result looks much like a cable, hence the term.

Knitting Up
As soon as I started casting on, I knew I was in trouble. Remember those six strands I mentioned? Well, they quickly came unspun once on the needle, resulting in my having to manage not one but six miniature strands of yarn per stitch.

Unlike cabled cotton, which holds a tighter shape with less spring and flexibility, this yarn is soft and lose, making the strands harder to manage. In fact, I wanted to give up entirely, but I persevered, and things got a little easier.

Word to the wise: If you use dull-tipped needles, you'll have an easier time managing your strands and not snagging others by mistake.

Blocking / Washing
There was no bleeding during washing, but I did notice an unusually pungent scent of wet wool -- strong enough to make me pause and wonder if I'd left something else in the sink by mistake.

I saw no color fading, but the stitches had expanded by about five percent. Definitely keep this in mind when you size your garment.

Once dry, the fabric was distinctively lighter, flatter, and softer, losing just a bit of its elasticity in the process.

Wearing
The swatches got so soft and so light that I suspected they wouldn't wear well. Sure enough, after only 60 seconds of vigorous rubbing, the swatches began to pill. After another 60 seconds, they had lost all of their youthful vigor.

I was a bit surprised by the extent of pilling after so short a time. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend it for any items that will get heavy wear. Then again, at $7.20 a skein, this isn't the kind of yarn you'd use for just any project.

If you like the cabled look of Maratona but are on a strict budget or want more durability, you might want to switch to cotton and try Tahki's Cotton Classic instead. It comes in 137 colors, is only $3.99 a skein, and looks very similar -- although, of course, you're losing the luxuriousness of Merino.

Conclusion
Maratona is one of those yarns that makes you hold your knitting about three inches from your face -- even if you start out with it on your lap. You have to concentrate to make sure you're getting the right stitches and not snagging bits from other stitches instead.

I don't want to lose any new knitters, so I can't recommend Maratona for beginner projects. However, if you have a few projects under your belt and are ready for a little challenge, this yarn would do nicely.

The reward for your hard work? A soft, lightweight fabric that's ideal for late spring and early fall sweaters -- or winter sweaters for our readers in warmer climates.

Previous reader comments
"I found when I knitted on Maratona it worked much better doing an Aran-type pattern on size 6 needles. It seems to hold up better."
lakotagal5, 03/21/01

"I was surprised by the review. I've knitted with this yarn several times and never had it "split" on me...in fact, the cable-ply held up perfectly. One thing I don't love though is the yarn is so fine and silky the resulting garments can stretch quite a bit." knitterati, 11/1/2001

"Maratona has been around for a long time. I remember working on a project with it in the eighties that I gave up on -- and it wasn't cheap in the eighties either. I thought at the time it was because my sweater was black and dark yarn is difficult to knit -- but now that I read your review I remeber how much it split. It was beautifully soft, though."
V. Clark, 10/26/00

"i was surprised to read the reviews on maratona. i knit a couple of cowls - on red, one black - in the late '80s. loved working with it. and they have worn beautifully! they have only gotten softer with wear."
JoanKnits, 12/08/00

"I used Maratona for one of my first projects . . . I thought it was nice to work with . . . I really liked the sweater that resulted . . . Unfortunatly . . . So did the moths . . . When I first moved to the desert we had moths and I had a heck of a time getting rid of them . . . This was the only sweater they got though! I will (and have) used Maratona for a number of projects . . . It does pill a bit so I'm selective on what I use it for though . . ."
Neil in San Francisco, 12/09/00

 
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