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A skein of Royal Cashmere
Royal Cashmere knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Plymouth Yarns Royal Cashmere

First Impressions
Over the years I've developed a short list of yarns I'd like to be stranded with on a desert island.

First on the list was Jaeger Chamonix, a plush cabled angora blend that was eventually replaced on my list by a thicker cashmere blend called Jaeger Cashair. Today even the mighty Cashair faces potential replacement by another plush, lofty, and supersoft cabled yarn made of 100% pure cashmere.

Royal Cashmere was produced in Italy and is distributed in the United States through Plymouth Yarn. It has the telltale powdery, almost dry softness of cashmere and comes in 25 colors ranging from deep and rich to succulent and fruity. For this review, I used Magenta.

Knitting Up
Royal Cashmere ships in hank form. While most commercial hanks are one to two yards in circumference, this little hank barely measured two feet. Most umbrella swifts will hold a hank like this, but if you choose to do it by hand, be extra careful to keep the hank open and untangled.

Knitting with Royal Cashmere was a dream—smooth, fast, and perfectly even. Within just a few rows I was knitting flawlessly by touch alone. I encountered no obstacles whatsoever.

Blocking / Washing
I was pleased to see that my bright-colored swatches didn't bleed in their warm soapy wash. They emerged just as colorful and intact as when I dropped them into the water.

After a wee bit of poking and prodding, they were blocked into perfect form, and I could tell that the fibers had blossomed with wash. What was already a soft, fuzzy looking piece of fabric was even more fuzzy and inviting once dry.

Washing caused no change in gauge or overall swatch size.

Wearing
Cashmere fibers tend to be short and lacking in crimp. The shorter the fibers, the less durable the spun yarn can be.

But plying will strengthen any spun yarn, and Royal Cashmere is composed of five two-ply strands of yarn that have, in turn, been plied together to form one master strand. It helps make Royal Cashmere far more durable, although a gentle tug still snapped the strand in two.

Normally this kind of "cabled" spin produces a more visually textured yarn, but most of the texture is lost beneath the cashmere's halo.

At nearly $32 per skein, Royal Cashmere probably isn't a candidate for your average high-wear garment. Still, the only sign of ageing or distress in my swatches was in the form of faint pills that developed slowly over a long period of abuse and were easily removed.

If you're lucky enough to use this yarn for a sweater, be cautious about elbows wearing thin, and prepare to remove pills under high-friction areas such as underarms. Otherwise, indulge and enjoy.

Conclusion
Were money no object, I'd use Royal Cashmere for every sweater I knit from now to eternity. Period. Not only is it soft, plush, thick, and luxurious, but it knits up like a dream.

Unfortunately, the ticket for each sweater would be upwards of $360. Gulp.

Does this put Royal Cashmere out of reach for the common knitter? Absolutely not.

Two skeins would make a plush pair of slipper socks, a hat, a simple baby sweater (lucky baby!), or a scarf you'd never want to take off. Even one skein, used wisely and sparingly (or simply left intact and admired), will bring you years of tactile bliss.

 
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