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A skein of Circus
Circus once knitted up

Yarn Profile: Circus

First Impressions
I'm always on the lookout for a bulky yarn that actually looks interesting once knit up. Often the stitches look too large and simple, resulting in a bland and shapeless garment. Other bulky yarns often have too much texture, producing lumpy spots or large gaps where the yarn gets thinner.

Circus has neither problem. The nubby boucle texture conceals a speedy 2.5 stitches-per-inch gauge while maintaining enough consistency to produce a satisfyingly uniform texture.

It is currently available in six color blends. Each skein includes a nifty sock pattern on the label, which you can complete with just one skein.

Knitting Up
Compared to most other boucle yarns, Circus is a breeze to knit. Stitches were snagless and easy, with sizeable swatches unfolding before my tea even had a chance to get cold.

As with all boucles, you'll want to knot any loose ends to keep the boucle from pulling out. Circus is also beginner-friendly: Undoing stitches and picking up dropped stitches was no major problem.

Color repeats were nicely varied, with no blatant blotching.

Blocking / Washing
My swatches survived their wash beautifully. There was no bleeding or fading, and they popped right back into shape with a minimum of prodding.

It's such a lofty yarn that my swatches dried almost instantly with just a little squeezing in a towel.

There was no evident change in gauge, though the stitches relaxed and the swatches flattened nicely.

Wearing
Bulky yarns are notorious for not wearing as well as their finer, tighter-spun counterparts. I was surprised at how strong Circus really is.

A hearty tug snapped the acrylic binder threads (of which there are three), but the wool body wouldn't budge.

The fibers have a good crimp, and staple lengths were on average five inches. This alone means greater wearability and a lower likelihood of pilling.

I do have one warning, but chances are you won't encounter this situation: Wait until your garments are entirely dry before introducing them to any sort of friction. When I rubbed nearly-dry swatches, they quickly became matted down. No amount of washing and prodding could fix them.

Conclusion
Circus produces a lofty but lightweight fabric whose elaborate texture conceals just how fast and easy it is to knit. Because it is so lofty without enough weight to produce significant drape, you'll want to consider patterns with a little more shaping.

This yarn was obviously created by very knowledgeable people: JCA's Susan Mills and Nora Gaughan. Their intimate understanding of color and texture, combined with JCA's resources, makes Artful Yarns a top contender right out of the gate.

Relative beginners looking to experiment with texture will enjoy Circus. More experienced knitters can have a blast working out their own designs until JCA comes out with more.

 
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