A skein of Lumio
Lumio knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Schachenmayr Lumio

First Impressions
It reads like an April Fool's joke, this superbulky acrylic yarn that glows in the dark. But hear me out.

By the time winter arrives here in Maine, the sun sets as early as 3:30pm. Depending on where you live, you might get a few more hours of daylight than that, but not many. Which means that most of us spend our winters navigating in the dark.

Winters also tend to be cold. We have to wear hats to keep warm. Does it not make sense to knit a nice thick winter hat from a material that will also make you more visible in the dark? I thought so.

The Lumio recipe is pretty simple. Three spaghetti-like strands of acrylic are wrapped with a strange silver strand no thicker than sewing thread. On the label, it's identified as "other fibers." But the minute you shine a bright light on the yarn, you'll see why it's there. This 7% "other" is reflective, very similar to the stuff they sew onto running shoes, crossing-guard vests, and messenger bags.

The reflective strand is what makes Lumio shine, both literally and figuratively.

Knitting Up
As with any yarn of this girth, knitting with Lumio was swift and pretty easy, though it did give my hands a workout. The firm, plastic-like reflective material is wrapped slightly tighter than the yarn's puffy plies, presumably to help it stay inside the yarn instead of snagging or puckering.

With sharp-tipped needles I did snag the yarn several times—not necessarily the reflective material, more often the acrylic. With blunt-tipped needles the snagging slowed, though it never stopped completely. Occasionally the acrylic fibers rubbed against the needles in such a way that they seemed to squeak ever so slightly.

a loose strand of the reflective material

I noticed that the reflective strand had snapped in one place. I managed to tuck one end into the fabric, but the other popped out like a loose eyelash. Against the dark background, the occasional flecks looked more like an accident than a design element. It's the kind of thing that you might have to explain to people—but their expressions, when seeing the yarn shimmer, are worth it.

Blocking / Washing
Not much to see here. My swatch washed and dried with no surprises: no bleeding, stretching, or fading, nor was there any odd debris left in the wash bowl. This is fairly standard behavior for acrylics.

My only hesitation with Lumio is the fact that it's acrylic. I know, I know, everybody always picks on acrylic. But my reasons are chemical, not sentimental.

This yarn is intended for warm winter hats and mittens. While acrylic is warm, it lacks the ability to absorb, hold, and release moisture to keep the wearer comfortable. Only protein fibers can do that. Anything you make out of Lumio will be warm, yes, but it won't breathe. Wear your hat outside for a long period of time and you'll start to feel clammy.

Lumio has no aspirations of being a Steinway. It's a perfectly fine Puff-n-Play Melodica that doesn't take itself too seriously, and you can use it to make endless happy tunes. In knitting terms, one skein will make you a fun hat complete with pom-pom.

The acrylic is what it is. Either you like it or you won't. To its credit, I doubt many people will be buying Lumio to outfit themselves for an Arctic expedition.

Bottom line, the fun, easy, somewhat silly Lumio offers a brilliant way (ha!) to make your presence known.

Note: Lumio has been featured as part of the My Mountain hat campaign. If you want to see some clever design ideas, many of which use Lumio, check out the My Mountain Facebook page.