June Cashmere | Lace & All Seasons Slouchy Hat
This is a two part review because not only was June Cashmere kind enough to send a hank of their Lace yarn gratis, they also offered a choice of patterns to knit with it. I will say, as much as I love doing yarn reviews (and I mean, I love doing them for a great many reasons), what to knit is always the question on the table. I selected the All Seasons Slouchy Hat because in my mind, lace yarn and small needles coupled with my currently busy schedule meant I wasn't in the right mind to fiddle with lace or anything that might hint at complex. So, I'll begin with a review of the yarn and briefly discuss the pattern throughout.
This is no flimsy, whisper of lace yarn. This stuff is sturdy, round but not springy, and seems to say "I can take care of business". I hand-wound a center pull ball to get a feel for the strength and texture of the fiber. As you can see, I chose natural because I will wear natural. I am a neutral-loving lady and even though I was tempted by some of the rich jewel tones offered like Curry and Indigo, I had to go with my gut. I'm glad I did, there's so much charm in natural fibers. Also worth noting, this is another product that is sourced with sustainability in mind. I review these products because they're important and need exposure. When I come across a company with a beautiful message, I want to pass it along and put these products in the hands of people who may not even know they're available.
Specifically, June Cashmere works with shepherds in rural Kyrgyzstan, then sends the fiber to Europe for processing, and finally the yarn is organically dyed in Maine. It's quite the journey with exceptional results. When I cast on for the hat, I really noticed how little spring the yarn has. I know we all love a bouncing bundle of squishy wool, but this isn't wool and it's lack of spring reinforced my feeling that this yarn is a work horse. The pattern, by Elizabeth Elliott is straightforward and easy to follow. There are short rows but they're German short rows, and for goodness sakes, short rows are our friend - nothing to shy away from. When I was first diving into socks, that evil W&T sent me into a craze, and then I learned to search knitting videos and my life was forever changed. What I'm saying is, don't avoid this pattern because of a couple little turns.
As of now, it feels like I've already talked at length about the non-springiness of the fiber and I'm really feeling like I've gone on too much about it -BUT- just one more thing! I've worked with yarns with very little bounce in the past and they produced a stiff, firm fabric with little stretch. I don't particularly care for fabric like this, so I want to point out that the fabric that resulted, even with the slipped stitch ladders (which are quite firm by nature)was extremely soft and stretchy. The yarn is soft in the hand, has a beautiful drape, and was softening as I knit. I could see a very fine bloom developing as the fabric grew.
You may be wondering just how long a hat knit using a lace weight yarn might take to knit, and I will admit to spending a whopping two weeks with this hat on the needles, but I was also writing two patterns, knitting samples, and not working on it daily. It was a blessing of sweet easy going between two colorwork samples!
As I was closing in on the crown, I had a substantial amount of yarn left over. The 50g hank boasts over 300 yards, but my scale is somewhere in the henhouse so I haven't weighed the remainder to see exactly what I have. I'd like to say I could easily pull out some little tot fingerless mitts from it though. I made sure to include the ball in the photo below for reference.
The minute the hat was dry from its little bath, it went onto my head. They yarn bloomed into a delicate haze, the stitches evened neatly, and the hat was feather light, warm, perfect. The weather this year has been even more unpredictable than usual and we're delighting in a February bathed in 60 degree days. This hat has already found its place in my must-haves.
If you get your hands on some of this lux June Cashmere Lace, do consider picking up a copy of this pattern also AND share your work! Social media posts can use #junecashmere - the company is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Learn more about the company and their part in revitalizing the cashmere market in Kyrgyzstan HERE and a press release from founder Sy Belohlavek HERE.
Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this review; I did however receive the product in exchange for posting my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. Your experience with the reviewed products may differ from my own.