That matte quality

Carolyn, the sweetie that she is, sent me some KnitPicks Shine she had left over from a project (thanks, Carolyn!). Experiment time!

Have you read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell? I’m more accurately described as a Maven, but I certainly have a bit of an Early Adopter quality to me – I’m the one who buys the new thing everyone says is too good to be true and tests it out. So why has there been no KnitPicks Shine purchase in the Grumperina household, even though everyone has been raving about it?

The swatching I did with the Shine combined with a recent conversation I had with Colleen finally clued me in: it’s the matte quality.

I realize that tencel and modal are two different substances, but I think that when combined with cotton, they produce very similar-looking yarns which knit up into similar-looking fabrics. In total, I have now encountered three cotton/tencel or cotton/modal blends: Classic Elite Premier and Cascade Pima Tencel, both 50% pima cotton/50% tencel, and KnitPicks Shine, 60% pima cotton/40% modal. I absolutely adore the softness of these yarns, the smooth manner with which they glide on the needles, and the way the resulting fabrics feel: soft, drapey, with a silk-like quality.

However (you knew it was coming), I feel that these cotton blends aren’t appropriate for the kinds of projects I’ve been considering lately. When I think of cotton, either mercerized or unmercerized, cotton/wool blends, cotton/silk blends, etc., I envision a certain crispness in texture and depth of color. To my eye, the cotton/tencel and cotton/modal blends do not have either. For example, the black versions of Classic Elite Premier and Cascade Pima Tencel look like a brand new black t-shirt that’s then washed 10 times. First, a certain fuzz is present, almost looks like there’s an angora component. Second, the black color is not a true black anymore, certainly not that crisp and shiny black when you first bought it. It looks like someone took black cotton, fuzzed it up a bit, and then gave it a light dusting of baby powder, making it a bit matte. Does it look like that to you?

Will I be buying any KnitPicks Shine in the near future, at the delicious price of $2.29/ball? Maybe. I think if the KnitPicks Shine came in some other colors I would be more tempted. In the meantime, many of the 100% cottons come in a much more varied palette and cost only twice as much, which isn’t that bad, if you ask me :).

Anyway, because no blog entry is complete without a picture, here’s the KnitPicks Shine swatch.

10 thoughts on “That matte quality

  1. Kathy

    I agree — I considered buying some of the Premier yesterday at a big sale. Although it was soft, I thought it looked like it had already seen better days :)

  2. Carolyn

    I certainly know what you mean about the crispness of cotton that “shine” lacks. But for the price…machine washable…I can’t resist! Maybe one day you’ll give it a try!

  3. naomi

    I actually like matte yarns…as long as it actually wears about as well, I don’t object to its looking faded. How did the shine compare to pure cotton, stretchiness-wise?

  4. Judy

    I’m with Carolyn — for the price, I really like it, and while it may not have the crispness, it’s a nice, soft cotton for summer use (especially for the kids…ANYTHING gets that “worn-out” quality almost immedaitely with kids!).

  5. Shannon

    I agree with you about color and texture, but 100% cotton kills my hands. I feel like I’ve developed arthritis at an early age. Blends also seem to give cotton an elasticity.

  6. Michelle

    I liked that book, especially the inside scoop on how children’s shows are made. I am definitely not any of his types though, I don’t know a lot of people, and I don’t have any influence. Had Paul Revere been me, we’d be having tea at 4 o’clock in Boston right now.

  7. Tara

    Yeah, I noticed that when I swatched with Shine it was a little fuzzy. You get what you pay for, I guess, but I’m not really complaining!

  8. Snooc

    Ha, this is old and I came upon it whilst scrolling through the archives of your fabulous blog, but the blanket underneath your swatch is very familiar ;)

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