I've been knitting a sweater out of HD (Harrisville Designs) Shetland yarn for
the past week or so and it's been great, but there's not a lot to look at
because it's just a plain sweater in black yarn, but I thought I'd write a bit
about the experience.
I've knit a lot out of this yarn, mostly in stranded color work, and it's
probably the yarn that I have the most of in my possesion, but I've never
really used it alone until recently, and hadn't really knit anything with it
in years. I'm a bit more than half way through a plain sweater in this yarn,
and I find myself entranced.
It's a simple 2-ply yarn, woolen spun, dyed before spinning, and it comes in
hanks (which I've never used,) and on half pound cones. In color work, I tend
to get 8 or 8.5 stitches to the inch (US 2.5/3mm), against a plain 7 stitches
to the inch (US 0/2mm), and the fabric is light but solid. There are a bunch
of colors, which is why I started using it for color work, including a number
of heathers as well as natural colors. I would by a pound (2 cones) of each
color to make a stranded sweater, but I always ended up with a lot of left
overs. A plain sweater (for me) is under a pound, though I expect fewer left
The name "Shetland" describes the weight, not the fiber contribution: the wool
is a blend of unspecified breeds (probably some collection of Corriedale,
another Merino cross, and/or Merino), but the effect is quite similar to
actual Shetland Wool. While the wool is imported, the Mill is in New England,
and the yarn is stocked by many yarn stores that supply weavers (though you
can buy directly from the mill as well.) There's something classic about the
yarn: it smells like wool (probably the spinning oil, but still,) and the
way that the fibers cling to each other makes it a jot to knit with.
HD Shetland isn't exactly soft, but it isn't rough either. I think part of
this is about expectation management: because we know that this isn't going to
be yarn to wear against more sensitive skin (wrists, etc.), the fact that it's
actually pretty soft is a pleasant surprise. I also think that because the
yarn is lofty and woolen spun the ends of the individual fibers end up less
likely to be irritating or trigger reactions in the same way that smoother
Conclusion: heartily recommend!