Friday, October 22, 2010

Yarn Review: Malabrigo Silky Merino vs Manos Del Uruguay Silk blend

This yarn by Malabrigo and this other yarn by Manos Del Uruguay are very similar.  For instance, they are both DK weight.  They are both spun into a thick single.  They both have lovely color, and lovely sheen.  The Malabrigo has a higher silk content, at 51%.  Manos Del Uruguay has a respectable silk content at 30%, and manage a remarkably high sheen with the lower silk content.

Here are the yarns, side by side:

so soft, so pretty....
Both of those skeins are 150 yards to 50 g in weight.

I guess it's because the Manos is closer to the sheep, but I have consistently found a high concentration of vegetable matter in their yarn.  VM is not a huge concern to me, it's part of any yarn that involves something that lives outdoors.  Sheep, llama, goat, alpaca, rabbit... they all contact vegetation at some point, and it's part of the experience.

The issue I have with the Manos, which makes it less of a favorite than the Malabrigo is the number of knots per skein.  With Malabrigo, you have some 'perfect' skeins where you don't fight knots at all, and their knot per skein has been less than 3 in my limited experience.  I've knit about 30 skeins of Malabrigo since discovering Silky Marino, and the quality has been fairly consistent.

The Manos I've only knit about 20 skeins of so far, and I've been disappointed in the number of knots.  I am willing to overlook a certain amount of knots in a skein, especially in a singlespun yarn;  but the giant green blob made from this
so pretty, so full of @#$@ knots
which has involved 5 skeins of this particular yarn (5 different dyelots from 3 different sellers) have an average of 4 knots per skein with a top out of 11!  Eleven knots.  Their yarn is lovely.  I do, in fact, love it.  Perhaps they have more knots because of the lower silk content.  The Malabrigo has more silk, so the yarn is harder to break.  I have tried a tension test between the two, and it's much harder to snap the Malabrigo.

Both of these are lovely yarns.  They can both be a delight to work with, and the colors they have are stunning.  I won't stop using the Manos yarn, but I will no longer be purchasing it over the web.  In person, you can look through the skein (they are hung untwisted in most shops) and determine the knot-ly-ness of each on it's own merit.  Since these are dyed by hand, you will be switching out yarn every few rows anyway, so waiting to find the right skeins is an option.

Malabrigo comes out slightly on top for quality for me.  But they are still both lovely...

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