Yarn Profile: Baby
At $11.99 per 60-yard skein, it is somewhat more expensive than other bulkies. The difference is that you're paying for 100% merino fiber. And, of course, you're helping support the great Tahki / Stach Charles / Filatura di Crosa empire.
Baby is available in 22 solid colors and four multicolored blends. Its loose two-ply spin adds texture to downplay the plush loft of the yarn, but there's no hiding the fact that this is a fast-knitting yarn.
Knitting was almost shamelessly fast and easy. Although the yarn is loosely spun, it held together well enough for me to knit by touch alone without any snagging problems.
There were only two clouds that shaded my sunny picnic: First, I discovered a knot halfway through the skein; and second, the stitches appeared slightly uneven. On a positive note, the uneven stitches could add an extra dimension of texture to the swatches.
Blocking / Washing
The dry, flattened swatches felt much more relaxed, yet no matter how many times I measured the swatches I couldn't detect a change in gauge.
First, I dissected a foot-long piece of the yarn. The two plies stuck together tightly and had to be pried apart, which to me was a good sign. Even the firmest tug wouldn't break the yarn, nor could I pull a single ply apart easily.
Only after excessive thrashing did the swatches begin to pill. Considering that pilling is a fact of life for merino fibers, I was impressed.
But the bulk has some benefits. You can't beat the speed with which you can produce a project - helpful when you're impatient or you've forgotten an important person's birthday, for example.
Also, it knits up at the same gauge as Cleckheaton Gusto, Reynolds Bulky Lopi, Reynolds Allagash, Swedish Yarns' Quick, and Colinette Isis. This means you have a world of patterns at your disposal.
Speaking of patterns, you can see two examples of Baby in the Fall 2001 issue of Vogue Knitting.
Previous Reader Comments
"Without a tighter twist to hold the short merino fibers in place, it seems they'd be much more likely to pill or simply wear thin with age" Merino has an average staple length of about 3 inches and is quite crimpy (about 11-12 crimps per inch) Yarns are usually best spun to match the amount of crimp, so merino is generally spun with a higher twist than other yarns. Were the fibres much shorter than 3 inches? If so, then this would account for the pilling, if there is any. Pilling usually occurs when the fibres have been broken in the processing. About.com's Weaving/Spinning Guide, 8/21/2001
"Thank you for the information on the Baby Bulky yarn. Very interesting to note that as a bulky the merino could stand a lighter twist. For me, being a hand spinner, I have found the twist with merino needs to be tight. I am brand new to your site so I am very pleased with what I have found. Thanks!" bkofruth, 8/20/2001
"I can't wait to try Baby. Also, thanks for the tip that the fall issue of Vogue Knitting is out! I tried Tahki's Capri earlier this summer. I liked knitting with it; however, I encounted the same knotting problem with those skeins as well. Out of the 7 I used, 4 had knots and one of those skeins had 2. It looks like the Tahki skein wrappers could use some follow up training or quality control measures need to be put into place. (Gee, can you tell that I'm writing this from work?)" alicobb, 8/16/2001
"Do any of your readers ever say "THANK YOU???" I would like to thank you for the valuable FREE service that you provide. Your reports on yarns and their characteristics are SO valuable!" joy, 8/16/2001
Tahki / Stacy Charles Inc.
100% merino wool
2.5 sts / 1" on 10mm (US 15) needles
Average retail price
$11.99 / skein
Where to Buy Online
Weight/Yardage per Skein
100g. / 60 yards
Country of Origin
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Hand wash, use cool iron, do not use chlorine bleach, standard dry cleaning OK, do not put in dryer.