Yarn Profile: Rowan Cashsoft
This machine-washable cashmere is new for 2005 and comes in two basic incarnations: Cashcotton (a mix of cotton, polyamide, angora, viscose, and cashmere) and Cashsoft (blending merino, microfiber, and cashmere).
Smitten with Cashsoft from the very first touch, I made it the focus of this review. I should note that it is very similar to Cashmerino from Debbie Bliss.
Touch is everything with this yarn. It is breathtakingly plush and soft, inviting full-body contact.
The yarn contains 57% extra-fine merino, 33% microfiber, and 10% cashmere, thoroughly blended and spun together in four balanced plies for stability and durability. It comes in 20 vibrant, almost candylike colors—typical Rowan at its best. For this review, I chose a delicate blue called Ballad.
As a result, the yarn clings comfortably to your fingers and your needles, stretching and sliding easily into stitches.
My swatches emerged slowly and steadily from the needles. Occasionally I'd pull a tiny loose clump of fiber from the strand, but otherwise it posed no issues whatsoever.
I was happy to see that the yarn's multiple plies didn't snag once on the highly defined tip of my Bryspun needles.
Visually speaking, the four plies give each stitch a somewhat rippled look on the finished fabric. But I did see that the yarn's elasticity made consistent tension on knit and purl rows a little bit trickier.
Blocking / Washing
The bias pretty much straightened out with blocking. I'd like to think this was an isolated incident, or perhaps caused by my throwing the yarn with my left hand, but do be prepared for extra blocking just in case.
Friction caused the swatches to soften and bloom, but it also brought pilling. Fortunately, the pills formed rather evenly across the fabric surface. And from a distance, the fabric's bloom concealed any pill detail.
If pills bother you, yet you crave the delicate softness of merino and cashmere, I'd still recommend Cashsoft. All you need to do is find a pattern with some stitchwork to help detract from any early surface degradation.
Rowan hit the sweet spot when pricing this yarn, with each 142-yard skein costing only $7.95. This means a classic medium-sized woman's cardigan will require nine skeins and cost under $75.
Debbie Bliss. They are also machine washable, but because the Aran and Super Chunky weights contain more fiber, you'll pay far more per yard.
Otherwise, for a fine blend of merino and cashmere that won't break the bank and can be tossed in the washing machine, I consider this a top choice.
57% extra-fine merino
5.5 stitches per inch on US 6 needles
Average retail price
Weight/yardage per skein
50g / 142 yards
Country of origin
Not indicated on label.
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Warm wool cycle (minimum machine action), warm iron, do not dry clean, do not bleach. Do not tumble dry. Dry flat out of direct heat or sunlight.
Color used in review