A skein of Berroco Cirrus
Berroco Cirrus knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Berroco Cirrus

First Impressions
The skein lies furry and limp, a bit like you'd shaved a cat and forgotten to clean it up. Like Gertrude Stein said about Oakland, there's no there there. Cirrus is soft all right, with a wonderful wooly fuzz to it. But when I squeeze the skein, squeeze a strand, try to figure out where the core is, I'm left with the unsettling fact that there is no core. The yarn is like the cloud formation for which it is named.

But be not deceived. What appears one way on the skein can often transform into quite another thing on the needles. I suspected Cirrus would be one such yarn.

Cirrus up close

The construction is unique. Picture a fine, somewhat shiny strand of nylon that's been knitted into a small but very loose tube. Now, imagine a blend of extra fine Merino and superkid Mohair fibers, heathered in hue, that appear to be shot inside the tube. The generous staple length and natural narrowing tendency of knitted tube conspire to hold the fibers in place. There is no real twist to this yarn. It's like clouds caught in a butterfly net.

Knitting Up
The halo is the story here, so give the fibers plenty of room to do their stuff. The recommended needle size of US 10 (6mm) is spot-on for obtaining a cohesive yet airy enough fabric to showcase the bloom without becoming too vulnerable.

I chose somewhat pointy tipped Addi Turbo Rockets and had only a few snagging problems. The Rockets are so slick, though, that I inadvertently slipped several stitches off the needle by mistake. A larger project might benefit from grabbier wood or bamboo needles, just be mindful that the pointier the tip, the greater the potential for snagging. Here you're not just worried about snagging clumps of fiber but one of the tiny nylon strands of mesh.

With my slipped stitches came dropped stitches, which are usually a nightmare with this kind of low-visibility yarn. Nevertheless, the stitches were rescued without great distress, and the resulting fabric showed no scars from surgery. You will, however, need to be very patient when frogging any large pieces of fabric made from this yarn, as the loose fiber ends enjoy enmeshment with neighboring stitches.

My stockinette looked friendly enough. I switched over to garter to see how it would fare. The purl ridges provided a welcome contrast to the smooth stockinette face, but they didn't really stand up in high relief. I imagine anything more complicated than this would be a waste of time, all definition lost to the halo and flatness of fabric.

The yarn did shed some as I worked it. Not a ton, but the stray fibers were definitely noticeable on my black pants.

Blocking / Washing
If you've ever washed a wool fleece by hand, that's what Cirrus felt like as soon as it got wet. It sank quickly into the water and was happy to be squeezed and squished.

There was just a faint poof of silver something in the water. I'm not sure if it was dye or spinning oil, but it came out easily. The swatch rinsed clear immediately.

Wet, the swatch seemed sad and aimless. I blotted out the excess moisture and waited for it to dry, curious how much the wool and mohair would pull the fabric back together.

Wearing
On the abrasion side, this isn't a yarn you'd use for socks or anything that sees heavy abrasion. Likewise, you wouldn't want to wear it if your job involves rubbing up against rough pieces of wood all day. The potential for snagging is just too great.

From a touch perspective, 60% Cirrus is composed of extremely fine fibers that shouldn't produce any prickle unless you have a preexisting sensitivity. As for that 40% nylon, if you're a princess-and-the-pea type, your fingers might pick up on the plastic. But it's there to keep the rest from falling apart. It has a reason for existing.

Conclusion
Here's the life I imagine for Cirrus: It wants to be that much-loved rectangular shawl that you pack in your carry-on and pull out when you've reached 35,000 feet and are starting to get cold. The yarn produces an extraordinarily lightweight fabric that occupies barely any space and, yet, when completely unfurled, reveals a dense halo of fibers that will trap still air and keep you cozy.

The sheen and halo make it glamorous, the 60% Mohair/Merino make it warm and breathable, and the 40% nylon makes it durable and, perhaps most important, affordable. Cirrus costs just $8 per 114-yard skein. The more sensitive among you will easily discern the faint stickiness of the nylon, but the natural fibers work hard to help you forget. The affordable price doesn't hurt either.

I see this yarn for gauzy tops, shawls, anything open and airy—or even a slouchy hat. It's just not tremendously high on spring or bounce, so don't go too heavy on the patterning or the garment itself. Let bold and basic be your motto.