Yarn Review: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering

This week I’ve been knitting with Knit Picks Chroma Fingering, their brand-spanking-new, slow-color-changing yarn (also available in worsted weight). As far as I know, this was a top-secret project, and Knit Picks kept it quiet for over a year until it arrived just before Christmas with many fireworks and much ado, at least on the Ravelry boards.  There are already over 100 projects listed in Ravelry using Chroma, which is pretty amazing considering it was released just over a month ago.  If you’re curious about the process of creating a brand-new yarn line, check out Knit Picks Podcast #151.

I’m working on a new pattern for Knit Picks IDP.  I’d worked up a sample swatch in Felici Sport in the now-unavailable “Picnic” colorway, and submitted it to a magazine … after the usual epic wait for a decision (knitting magazines have a Very Long Time Horizon), they decided not to use it.  Ever the optimist, I re-did the submission and turned it right around to Knit Picks. It is incredibly reinforcing to submit to KP, because they decide so quickly! I heard back that the proposal was accepted within a week. Of course, nothing is final until they have the sample and finished pattern in hand, but they did agree to give me yarn support.  I was sad to hear that Felici wasn’t an option, but delighted when they agreed to send me some of the new Chroma! Yay!

Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering

Fiber: 70% wool, 30% nylon

Price: $8.99 for each 100-gram ball (396 yards)

Care: hand-wash

Colorway: U-Pick

1404 Chroma (glamour)

First Impressions:gorgeous, soft, fluffy, awesome

I pulled it out of the envelope and ooohed and ahhed out loud.  The balls are squishy round things that show all the gradual color changes. I cast on the same day, starting work on the sample for my pattern.  It begins with a simple braided cable on a garter-stitch background.  This strip is narrow (23 sts), so each color lasts several repeats.  When the cable was long enough, I joined it in a circle and picked up stitches all the way around, just over 100.  At this circumference, each color runs for about an inch. I was a little afraid that the repeats would be too short and make the fabric stripey, but instead I got exactly what I hoped for: slow, beautiful, easy gradations from one color to the next.

1403 Chroma Top

The yarn is spun as a single, and is similar to Malabrigo in texture (though Malabrigo, the king of softness, is perhaps a smidge softer than Chroma). Like every single-spun yarn I’ve ever used, it can be a bit cantankerous: it is splitty, dropped stitches are tricky to retrieve intact, and I had to use a cable needle on my big 5×5 cable crosses. However, once knit, the fabric is soft and smooth, with just a bit of variation (see the slightly bigger stitches in only one row? the yarn was a bit fatter there).

1405 Chroma (stockinette)

The finished fabric has a slight halo, even without being washed and blocked.  I expected it will bloom significantly after washing, and I suppose it would happily felt if mistreated. Even with the softness and halo, I found it had great stitch definition.

1406 Chroma (halo)

Now it’s obvious to me that Chroma is meant to compete with the biggies in slow-color-changing yarn: Noro, Mochi, and the like. I’ve knit one thing, once, with Noro Silk Garden … let us just say, I encountered every problem that Noro haters complain about: knots that interrupted the color changes, harsh yarn that hurt my hands, grass and other prickly junk in the yarn, yarn that pulled apart with very little provocation, and more. I’ve been sad not to knit with Noro, because I love the colors … I just can’t stand working with the yarn.  I am thoroughly delighted to have Chroma, which is such a pleasure to work with.

Rating: 5 of 5 DPNs

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