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A skein of Bazic Wool
Bazic Wool knit up
click each image to enlarge
Yarn Profile:
Bazic Wool

First Impressions
A reader recently emailed to ask if I'd ever consider reviewing superwash wools. "I already do!" I exclaimed indignantly, and went searching through the archive to find her some examples. But I discovered I really hadn't reviewed that many superwash wools. Realizing my mistake, I set about to change this.

First on my list was Bazic Wool, an intriguing yarn from Classic Elite Yarns. I would review this yarn even if it weren't superwash because of its lovely textured ply composition that makes even the most basic stockinette interesting.

Classic Elite began by plying a thin and thick strand of yarn together. This alone would produce an interesting texture, but the company went further to ply three of those stranded plies together into one even more complex strand of texture.

The fact that the fibers have been given a smooth worsted preparation and then plied together a total of six times makes this a strong yarn. Add machine-washability to the mix and you really do have an all-around rugged yarn. The textured surface also makes it creatively interesting. And Classic Elite's bright colors (currently 23 total) give endless possibilities.

Knitting Up
Bazic Wool knits up at a chipper 4 stitches per inch on US 9 needles. I cast on for my swatches and by the third row was knitting by touch alone.

I throw the yarn with my left hand, which tends to add extra twist to yarns spun this way. So I had to pause occasionally to pull out more yarn from my skein and redistribute the twist. Even then, I had to dangle my work every few rows to release the extra twist.

A few times my sharp-tipped needle would snag a wisp from the stitch below, and the snag was pretty visible. It's possible that this would've been resolved with a duller-tipped needle, but I'd still recommend you not let your attention stray too far.

The smooth worsted fibers have a sheen to them. Running along the rippled surface of the stitches, the fibers had the effect of water trickling over a fine cobblestoned path. There's a lot of energy and movement in this yarn.

Blocking / Washing
Because this was superwash, I decided to forego the usual handwash and toss my swatches in the washing machine. I put them in with a few sheets for medium friction. (No matter what the label says, I wouldn't put them in with a pair of jeans.)

Worsted-spun yarns don't tend to bloom in wash because all the fibers have been so carefully and smoothly aligned together. But when I pulled my swatches out of the washing machine, I could see the stitches had evened and the swatches softened. There was even a very slight halo of loose fibers along the surface.

Unfortunately, there was also a visible bias—I probably hadn't unraveled the pent-up twist enough. I knew I could block the heck out of it but I also wanted to try plan B.

I set about knitting a second test swatch throwing the yarn with my right hand to see just how much this impacted the twist and bias. On the needles, the swatch did feel more open and relaxed. The gauge remained an unchanged 4 stitches per inch. With wash, the swatch showed only a hint of bias that I was able to block out. Conclusion: If you throw with your left hand, be disciplined about un-twisting any pent-up twist in the yarn, or prepare to spend a lot of time blocking.

Wearing
As I said before, this is a strong yarn. Over a sustained period of abrasion, my swatches slowly grew softer and their surface more blurred—but the underlying foundation of fibers never weakened.

From a touch perspective, Bazic Wool isn't a baby-soft merino but it's far from scratchy. I think it's fine for most purposes and softer than some yarns I've seen used in next-to-skin designs. It just depends on how sensitive you are.

Bazic Wool doesn't produce a smooth, even surface—so if you're looking for crisp picturesque Dale color patterns you'd be better served by a smoother, slightly finer yarn such as Cascade 220 Superwash. The vivid surface texture is part of the story here. Although the fibers are different, the visual effect is similar to Mission Falls 1824 Cotton.

Conclusion
When I first saw this yarn, I immediately envisioned children's sweaters with large stripes and dots and squares that show off the bright colors without requiring complicated stitchery. Sure, you could spend the extra time to add cables to the mix, but it'd only be to keep yourself interested—the yarn is perfectly happy to work its magic with simple stockinette.

Considering its Italian heritage and complex composition, this yarn is reasonably priced. A child's size-six drop-shoulder sweater would require about six skeins, keeping the price at under $36. A medium-sized woman's long-sleeved pullover would require about 15 skeins, or run you $90.

Occasionally when I describe a yarn's durability I'll joke, "I wouldn't necessarily use it to outfit an entire children's soccer team." But this week, I would.

If you can stay on top of the twist and block out any extra bias, Bazic will be a great contender for durable, machine-washable handknits.

 

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