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A skein of Rowan Cotton Tape
Rowan Cotton Tape once knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Rowan Cotton Tape

First Impressions
Tape yarns have always reminded me of shoelaces. They're flat and sturdy, but not necessarily the kind of material you'd want to cuddle up with on a rainy day.

Rowan Cotton Tape is an exception. It is a knitted tube made from a fine, airy thread of cotton. The result is lightweight, fluid, and flexible.

Knitting Up
After just a few stitches I discovered the one drawback to this open, airy composition: snags. My dull-tipped bamboo needles didn't cause any permanent damage each time they punctured the yarn, but it was still frustrating. After a few inches of stockinette I was able to adapt my technique, using broader, more careful movements to slow the snags.

The yarn also had a tendency to twist as I worked, which is a common occurrence with most flat yarns. Every few rows I'd dangle my work to untwist the yarn. When I didn't untwist the yarn, I saw very little distinct difference in the knitted fabric.

Speaking of knitted fabric, here's where the yarn gave me a pleasant surprise: My stitches looked absolutely ego-flatteringly perfect. They were even, steady, with no hint of lumpiness or human irregularity.

Blocking / Washing
My swatches retained their composure throughout the wash, even in hot water. They rinsed easily and dried in perfect flat squares, no blocking necessary.

I couldn't detect any bleeding or fading, although the yarn I used was possibly too light to test colorfastness thoroughly.

Cotton Tape produces a pleasant, cohesive but flexible fabric that's excellent for summer sweaters (as long as you wear a camisole underneath).

Contrary to most tape yarns, Rowan Cotton Tape is only moderately strong. I was able to break a strand of yarn with one hearty tug. This is the price you pay for a softer yarn, and I don't see it posing a long-term threat to your garments.

Before even a hint of baldness would appear in a Cotton Tape garment, I can see it succumbing to a greater threat: snags. The thread that makes up the tube is fine, lightweight, and open -- the siren's call for any stray splinters, nails, or hooks that may fall in your path.

Although I'm sure Cotton Tape is ideal for adult garments, it immediately made me think of a baby outfit. Lightweight, soft, and cuddly, it's totally wearable against a baby's sensitive skin.

The yarn is available in a range of rich yet fundamentally soft colors that are perfect for a baby's ensemble. And it's more interesting than your standard cotton yarns, which will keep the knitting process interesting.

Finally, its bulk means fast knitting. This is especially welcome for those of us who otherwise won't finish baby shower gifts until long after the baby takes its first step.

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