Wednesday, December 7, 2016

KPC Yarns :: Review


A few months ago I was asked if I would like to review a sampling of yarns from a company that I had never heard about. Um...hmm...let me think about this...a bunch of new to me yarn...the chance to play with a bunch of new yarn...I love yarn...I love trying new things...I love trying new yarn. Ok, yeah. This is a no-brainer. Sure! Sign me up!!

I didn't do any research before the yarns arrived, as in I didn't look up where the yarn company is from, what their history is, what kinds of yarn and fibre they offered, or even what their company name means. I didn't want anything to affect my first impressions. Straight up, I'll admit that I knew the yarns would arrive looking super cute, all bonbons-like in a box but other than that I had no idea what to expect. Imagine my surprise when a package showed up on my doorstep and I opened it to find a sleek looking white box that opened up to display a gorgeous splash of rainbow-y colour!

Let me introduce to you to KPC Yarns:


» First Impressions «
I am such a sucker for packaging and I have to say, this is stunning. Yes, when you really look at it, it's actually a simple, plain white box with dividers. But it's this clean simplicity that allows the yarn and colours to take center stage. And the yarns...oh, the yarns!! In the past, whenever I've encountered yarn samplers the yarns would either be twisted into mini skeins or wound onto a bobbin of sorts. Usually, each yarn is labeled or the whole lot is accompanied with a single card with minimal information. Not this sampler box of yarn! 

Just look at it:

Not only was I overly delighted to see 13 (yes, you read that right, thirteen) balls of yarn for me to play with, but there was also a garter stitch swatch for each of the yarns included! That really blew me away. Also in the box: a postcard, a pamphlet containing more information about each yarn and how many colours are available in each base, and get this, a beautiful wooden 16GB USB flash drive with the company logo etched onto it that contained a quick presentation about the company, product range, contact info, and upcoming events. KPC Yarns went all out with this sample box!! They definitely want you to know and enjoy all the luxury yarns that they have to offer!

LOVE!!

I absolutely love the presentation of the yarn samples. Each yarn ball is tied up with a logoed ribbon with a card containing the base name, yarn weight, fibre content, colour name, sample weight, and length in both metres and yards. I really like the idea of using the ribbon to keep your yarn ball intact when you put a project on hold or for when you have leftovers. On the full-size balls of yarn, the label attached contains all the yarn info and washing/care instructions, so when you finish a project you can reuse the label as a gift tag! There's even space on the label to write a little message. The sample sized yarn balls didn't have these labels, but the swatches did! You can even reuse the ribbon to either attach the tag to your knit or to use the ribbon itself as a label on your knitted piece. How awesome is that? 

After viewing the sampler box I did a little research on KPC Yarns to read up on what the company and yarns were all about (and discovered that KPC stands for "knit purl crochet" in the process). I found out that although KPC was launched in 2014, the family owned company actually started over seventy years ago in Shanghai. Back then they were a tailoring business that grew into a successful textile company that has been supplying premium grade merino, cotton, and cashmere to luxury garment manufacturers. Now, based out of Hong Kong, KPC is offering the same high-quality luxury yarns to makers everywhere. They have a strong commitment to not only using sheep that they raise in New South Wales, Australia that gives top priority to animal welfare, but also farms that utilize sustainable farming practices.


» The Yarns «
The yarns truly are pure luxury. I couldn't stop handling and squeezing all the balls (there's a joke in there somewhere...)!! There are four bases in the line-up: 


➳ Novomerino (100% ultra fine merino wool)
 Glencoul (70% merino / 30% cotton),
➳ Gossyp (100% organic cotton)
 Cashmere (100% cashmere!!).  

There are five weights available - but not for all bases. Cashmere is the only base that is available in lace weight but not in chunky. Novomerino is the only base that comes in an Aran weight. Otherwise, bases come in 4-ply (fingering), DK, and chunky weights.

All the yarns are made up of several small plies, with the plies twisted only just enough to hold them all together without over stretching so that the fibres can breathe, behave naturally, and ensure a soft hand and drape of the finished fabric. I find all the bases are buttery soft and produce amazing stitch definition.  

Can we also talk colours for a second here? I was really blown away by the sheer number of colours that are available. And not just in general, but per line and the yarn weight within that line. So depending on the weight, the minimum is 20 colours (that's in the chunky weights), and from there can range from 32-40 colours, with most of the 4-ply and DK weights boasting a bountiful 60 colours!! 


» The Swatches «
I have to say that I'm pretty impressed that the sampler included swatches for all the yarns included. I've never come across a sampler or yarn tasting that included even one swatch! You would have to knit it yourself. For a time-pressed knitter like me (re: lazy knitter), who would rather jump into a project or immediately start playing with the yarn, seeing how yarn already looks in a simple stitch like garter is just a blessing. From these swatches alone you can feel how incredibly soft the yarn is - I surprised myself when I choose the Gossyp Chunky over the Glencoul Chunky, I never thought I would prefer a 100% cotton over a merino/cotton blend! You can also play with the swatches and see and guesstimate just how a yarn could possibly react to stretching and wear, check out the bounce factor one may have over the others, and really be able to factor in the squishiness of a potential fabric before you even start your own project.

I also love how each swatch is labeled individually so that you're not trying to guess which is which, and that the labels wrap around the swatch perfectly. All in all, the way the swatches are makes for an eye-pleasing presentation and a fantastic reference for future purchases. At first glance, I was immediately drawn to the chunky weights of Gossyp and Glencoul due to how utterly squishy they looked, the vibrant green colours (they were Toxic and Chartreuse, in case you're wondering), the roundness of the yarn, and the beautiful stitch definition. While all the Novomerino swatches felt like silky squares of heaven and the lace weight Cashmere was like petting kittens, I was astonished that I kept going back to the Gossyp. Who knew organic cotton could be so soft and luxurious feeling?!


» The Knitting «
Even though the sampler had all the swatches available that could have made this review super easy, I really wanted to see for myself how these yarns knitted up. I had hemmed and hawed over what to do. Due to my hands, I couldn't really commit to knitting a bunch of little things to try out each base separately. So I decided to try my hand at some form of colourwork. At first I thought some fair isle legwarmers but that seemed like too big of a project, then I thought fingerless mitts. They don't require too much yarn and could potentially be do-able. But the pattern I had in mind involved too many colours and I wasn't sure if I could make the differing weights work to fit properly. I don't know how I stumbled upon it but then I found Spilly Jane's Plant Cozies pattern. 

Bingo!! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!!

I was able to incorporate five of the yarns into a medium sized plant cozy. I feel quite new to fair isle knitting but felt confident that I could make it all work. I used a ball of 4-ply Novomerino, two balls each of Glencoul and Gossyp in a 4-ply and DK weight. I have to admit that I couldn't bring myself to use a ball of Cashmere for a plant cozy! But could you blame me? This is 100% cashmere we're talking about here!

It was quite lovely working with these yarns. I did find the 4-ply to be on the lighter side of fingering weight and that I preferred knitting with the DK weight. I also found that you do have to be careful about what kind of needles you use when knitting with these yarns. For me, it's always "the pointier the better" but in this case, I found that to be slightly problematic in that I would split my stitches. I switched needles to something a little less pointy and the splitting issue stopped. However, I noticed on one of the yarns, the 4-ply Glencoul (the gorgeous "Mango" yellow in the photo above), the plies would often untwist and separate while knitting. I learned on the KPC website that I should have been knitting from the inside out from the yarn ball because that way I could pull and wrap the yarn into the stitches by traveling with the twist of the yarn rather than against it. I tested this theory out by knitting the next chart that contained this yarn with the strand that came from the inside of the ball. It definitely helped. It was a lot less splitty. The things you learn...

Regardless, all the yarns felt like butter as they ran through my fingers. I stopped knitting several times to simply pet the ball of yarn or to rub my work against my face. I've said it a few times already but I'll say it again, I was really impressed with the stitch definition of each yarn. Every stitch was nice and crisp and really did stand out on their own. Even the stitches where I thought the plies had separated too much came out looking quite defined. A little light press and a zap of steam from my iron made all the stitches and the cozy in general look like perfection!


» Final Thoughts «
Overall, I enjoyed working with all the yarns involved in this yarn tasting box, and am keeping both the Gossyp Chunky and the Novomerino Chunky on my list of yarns I would like to knit a project out of in the near future. Because the yarns are so luxurious, I don't think I would want to knit anything like mittens or legwarmers, or anything that involves too much wear and tear. A hat maybe, since the knitted fabric would feel so soft on my forehead. But I think I would want to knit something as equally luscious and grand. Maybe a shawl or a special sweater, something that can be worn next to the skin.

I'm super happy with my final plant cozy (I'll post photos once I re-pot my poor, poor succulent...how is it that I can grow them, but can't keep them alive?!?) and totally plan on knitting a few more with the leftovers and with some of the other colours in the box. I'm also planning on knitting a few hexipuffs too!! Although, I think I'll keep the ball of Cashmere intact...maybe display it on my dresser in a covered glass cupcake stand? I'm a knit-nerd, I know! 

I'm also really happy that I had this opportunity to try a new-to-me brand and yarns and to be forced to practice my fair isle skills. I don't know if I would have ever been able to find this company or their yarns on my own, as only a little over a handful of shops outside of Hong Kong carry these yarns (and none of them are located in either Canada or the US). Now, you're probably thinking shipping MUST cost an arm and a leg if the yarn is coming from Hong Kong. Surprisingly, shipping isn't outrageous. It's actually decent! And if you're a fellow Canadian, shipping seems to be comparable with the rates we face when purchasing yarns from south of the border. How do I know this? Well, out of curiosity I added a bunch of stuff to my cart and tried checking out. A handy dandy tip: at the very top of the page select your currency (or the one you plan on paying with), as the default is Hong Kong dollars (HKD). 

If you would like to give any of the KPC Yarns a try or would like to know more information about KPC Yarns, please check out the following links:





:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation for my review. I was sent a yarn sampler kit for review purposes in exchange for the possibility of posting a review. The wording and opinions I've written are my own and I will not be receiving any commissions from the links provided in this post.


3 comments:

  1. oh wow, those look amazing!! How incredible it must feel to crack open a box of colourful yarn like that, and so perfect for fair isle. Looking forward to seeing your plant cozies!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Melissa! That was a very detailed and thorough review. The yarn looks lovely and the presentation - wow!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a cool opportunity for you. I love how they presented their yarn to you and how thorough they were. I thought you had knitted the swatches.

    ReplyDelete

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