I’m a sucker for cashmere and cute packaging.
But there’s something more to these kits, which actually don’t look like kits at all—they look like a sort of magical multicolored caterpillar in fiber form.
I first noticed them in people’s pictures on Instagram. I followed the tags and discovered that they were coming from a Boise, Idaho-based company called Lux Adorna Knits. They contained 100% cashmere yarn. Naturally, I immediately had to order a kit.
The kit arrived, but I waited.
I’m the kid who kept her Halloween candy for months before finally opening it. I love holding pleasures in suspended animation because as soon as you pop the cork or untie the bow, a little bit of the magic is gone. And so I held onto my beautiful cashmere bundle for several months—even displaying it on a shelf in the living room—before finally breaking down and opening it up for this review.
Each of those cute mini-skeins unfurls into a slender hank.
That’s a lot of winding, snipping, tying, twisting, and braiding right there, and all of it was done more or less by hand in Boise, Idaho. It should come as small surprise that this 360-yard bundle of cashmere retails for $52.
If you’re more of a solid-colored person, Lux Adorna also sells 230-yard (210m) skeins of the DK-weight cashmere for $38 apiece. You’ll also find lace, bulky, and DK weights.
Part of the charm of these kits is that they come with a simple pattern designed to use every inch of yarn. This particular bundle will make a Lila Cowl, the pattern for which is abbreviated on the label and offered in full form on Ravelry. But more than the convenience of having a pattern already picked, I really appreciate that someone else chose the colors for me—and the colors in these kits are, in a word, gorgeous.
The yarn itself is constructed in the S-on-S manner, with three two-ply strands of cashmere twisted into a single larger strand. The initial two-ply strands were plied in the S direction, and then the strands were held together and plied, again, in the S direction (hence S-on-S). With all that twist going in the same direction, you have a yarn that is both round and as bouncy as its fibers will allow it to be. You also have a strong yarn, with layers upon layers of twist holding the fibers together. That is quite helpful when you’re dealing with delicate cashmere.
Despite the yarn’s energetic construction, there’s very little bounce or oomph or va-va-va-voom here. The yarn has a dry, cottony feel to it, which is common for cashmere before it’s sufficiently washed and lovingly flogged to bring up the bloom.
For extra grab and control, I used my Knitter’s Pride Bamboo Interchangeable Circulars. The tip isn’t as pointy as the other Knitter’s Pride needles, but it is precise. And I was relieved to see that the yarn didn’t split at all. In fact, it behaved beautifully on the needles.
I swatched using the needle size that the label recommended for the cowl pattern (US 5/3.75mm). It produced a lovely, open fabric that works well for a cowl. For anything that requires more structure—say, a sweater—I would definitely go down at least one needle size, probably two.
There were no knots in any of my tiny skeins.
I was hoping to lose some of that powdery dryness in the wash, so I made sure to use a water hot enough to dissolve any remaining oils or residues from spinning and dyeing. (Not hotter than I’d wash my own hair, but definitely warmer than lukewarm.)
The swatch released no residue or color in the wash, nor did it do so in the rinse. While the fabric relaxed slightly, it never lost a strong, underlying “stringy” structure holding the stitches together.
I blotted the swatch, reshaped it on a towel, and waited for it to dry. Initially, I saw no significant change.
Here’s a fun fact for you. Dyeing hardens fibers ever so slightly, and the phenomenon is more pronounced in delicate fibers like cashmere. In this kit I had both dyed yarn and undyed white yarn, and the difference—though perhaps tricky to see in this picture—was noticeable if I really closed my eyes and let my fingers wander from color to color.
Having a physical example of this phenomenon is alone worth the price of a kit: Consider it an in-depth cashmere workshop in which you come home with a cowl.
Cashmere is a notoriously delicate fiber with a short staple that requires more twist than manufacturers usually give it. (The higher the twist, the firmer the yarn, the lower the skein appeal on the shelf. Plus, let’s not forget the cost of running the machines longer to give that additional twist.) But here, in these layers upon layers of twist and ply, the fibers are firmly held in place. I huffed and I puffed, but that little skein—even with its lack of significant structure—held firm.
People have been going bonkers for tiny skeins for a while now—but usually they’ve been in the form of gradient kits that play off a single color. These kits, on the other hand, celebrate all sorts of color combinations that move from serene to surprising.
I’m sure you can find varying yarn equivalents elsewhere. The real charms here are the sumptuous, thoughtfully blended colors and captivating presentation. Whether for yourself or as a gift for another knitter, these kits are a winner.