A skein of Crystal Palace Shimmer
Crystal Palace Shimmer once knitted up
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Yarn Profile: Crystal Palace Shimmer

First Impressions
As I've mentioned before, most tape yarns are made from a finer strand of yarn that has been knitted in a tube. This type of composition presents an innate design possibility that most yarn manufacturers overlook. Let me explain.

One inch of tube-formed yarn can be made of 10 to 20 rows of knitted stitches. Knitting with this kind of yarn will give you a stitch-within-a-stitch effect, with tiny stitches within each finished stitch you knit.

Crystal Palace makes intelligent use of this feature by adding a superfine strand of reflective nylon to the mix. Each stitch in the yarn itself (of which there are approximately 15 rows per inch) shimmers like water in a breeze. When you knit it into a fabric, the eye-catching effect magnifies.

Knitting Up
To keep things in the family, I used Crystal Palace bamboo needles to knit my test swatches. Much to my surprise, I encountered fewer problems with Shimmer than with any other tape or ribbon yarn I've tried. I didn't have a single snag, and I was able to knit by touch alone after only a few rows.

My stitches appeared neat and tidy, with no difference between the knit or purl rows even after I allowed my attention to wander while knitting.

Although the yarn had very little elasticity on the skein, it clung snugly to my needles, and my swatches had a sponge-like elasticity to them as well.

As with other flat yarns, Shimmer had a tendency to twist as I worked. When the twist started to bother me, I simply dangled my work to untwist the yarn. I saw very little difference in the knitted fabric between areas where I'd worked with twisted or flat yarn.

One word of warning: This yarn can be slippery on the skein. If you bury the yarn in your project bag and tug away as you work, you'll end up with a big mess on your hands very quickly.

One way to avoid this is to keep the yarn in a separate pocket, place it in your lap, or put it in a plastic bag. Another technique is to cut off the foot of an old pair of nylons and tuck the yarn inside.

Blocking / Washing
Shimmer is machine washable, but many knitters may still prefer to wash it by hand. Either way, do keep a Shimmer garment away from a hot dryer unless you want a melted mess.

My swatches maintained their form in the wash, without any stretching, bleeding, or fading. With minimal prodding, my swatches dried into perfectly flat squares.

In the machine wash, the loose ends of yarn came completely unraveled -- you're advised to tie a knot on the end of any loose strands of yarn to keep everything intact.

The stitch-within-a-stitch effect does have potential problems in the wearability department. Within each stitch that might snag, you actually have dozens.

Modest snags can be resolved simply by tugging your fabric back into shape. But if one strand within the yarn gets tugged too far, you'll have to perform major yarn surgery to get it back into place.

Resist the temptation to cut the loose snag off completely because the entire strand will unravel.

From a texture standpoint, Shimmer has a soft and unabrasive hand that can be worn comfortably against bare skin. Although it'll hold modest warmth, Shimmer won't be too hot for summer wear.

While some summer yarns work just as well for wintry styles, I suspect that Shimmer would look out of place in anything other than summer attire. It's a fun warm-weather yarn that works for both daytime and evening styles.

When knit, its elasticity will give you an attractive, body-hugging tank or tee. Or if you want, be more generous in your sizing and create an elegant evening cardigan or tunic.

And at $4.50 per skein (putting your average project pricetag somewhere between $30 and $50), the price is definitely right.

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