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A skein of Shine
Shine knit up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Knit Picks Shine

First Impressions
The better you are, the higher people's expectations. When Knit Picks introduced its first line of winter yarns at the beginning of this year, knitters went wild and immediately wanted more.

Recently, Knit Picks released its second batch of yarns, this time targeting warm-weather cotton blends and novelties. Could the company revolutionize summer knitting, as it had done for winter? If this yarn is any indication, my answer is yes.

Shine is a fluid four-ply yarn consisting of two relaxed two-ply strands plied together. It is composed of 60% super-soft Pima cotton (named for the Pima Indians of Arizona, who worked with USDA scientists breeding cotton on an experimental farm in Arizona in the early 1900s) and 40% modal, a fiber derived from beech wood chips.

The modal adds a shiny, mercerized look to the cotton, and it also adds drape and durability to your finished fabric. Better yet, modal fiber tends to absorb humidity and let it evaporate quickly, making this an ideal warm-weather fiber.

Knitting Up
Shine felt comfortable on the needles. While some cottons feel like an unfriendly rope, this yarn flowed smoothly through my fingers, eagerly doing everything I asked.

With all those loose plies, I expected far more snags than I actually encountered. In fact, I only had one snag, and that was the first stitch on a purl row while knitting in semi-darkness. (I'd gotten into a perfect rhythm and failed to notice that the sun had set outside.)

When I finally turned on the lights to see what I'd done, I was pleasantly surprised at how even and steady the swatches looked. Beginners can feel safe with this yarn.

Blocking / Washing
My swatches quickly grew heavy and firm in their warm soapy wash. The intense fuchsia color stayed true, with no bleeding, fading, or change in hue. As with most cottons, the swatches did need to be formed back into shape before being left to dry flat on a towel.

The yarn is surprisingly dense—even after resting overnight, my swatches still felt damp.

The next series of swatches went directly into the washing machine, on cold and warm water settings, and came out just fine. They also benefited from some gentle prodding back into shape before being allowed to dry flat. (Knit Picks owner Kelley Petkun puts her Shine garments into the dryer using the Cotton setting and insists they come out beautifully.)

Here's where I had a pleasant surprise. While I was knitting, I noticed small wisps of loose fiber on my swatches. Normally this indicates that a yarn won't wear well. I worried that my previously crisp swatches would fall victim to the dreaded Looks Like an Old Bathrobe syndrome after just a little bit of wear.

But instead, they withstood the ravages of time gracefully. The crisp surface gradually relaxed into an evenly blurred and deliciously soft piece of fabric. Instead of looking cheap and tired, the swatches looked cohesive and inviting.

Shine is ideal for next-to-the-skin wear. Its cotton/modal blend means the best of both worlds: the softness and durability of cotton and the graceful drape, strength, colorfastness, and sheen of modal.

I'm often asked to recommend a good machine-washable yarn for baby blankets and children's clothes. Combine supersoft cotton with machine washability and you get ideal conditions for baby garb.

The fact that Shine knits up at the same gauge as Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, Rowan Cotton GlacÚ, Rowan Wool Cotton, and Rowan Linen Drape means you'll have no shortage of gorgeous patterns to choose from—including some of the finest baby patterns ever written.

require 4 skeins. At $2.29 per hank, that's less than $10.

A medium-sized women's cardigan with moderate stitchwork—something that'd last you several seasons and feel marvelous every time you wore it—would require 15 hanks. That's just under $35. A steal!

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