The Softest Yarn?
We talked about measuring fibers in microns as an objective measure of softness a few months back, but softness remains somewhat subjective. After all, there are different varieties of softness which at times work in unison and at times conflict with one another. Sometimes I walk around the shop, contemplating this question: which is the softest yarn? I consider myself incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to contemplate a question like that. It’s not as straightforward as you think. I always provide several options when I’m asked which yarn is the softest.
There are three factors that come to mind, when I assess my personal experience of softness.
- Slickness: Think about the slickness of spun silk. There is no friction. There are no wisps. Your fingers just slide along the surface like skates on freshly zamboni’d ice. A 100% silk yarn like Luxury Silk Sport has the slickest feel, but others like Bloom and Findley and Ultra Pima possess a similar sort of softness.
- Fuzziness: Think about the halo of angora, or brushed alpaca, or mohair. When you stick your hand into it, it compresses a plethora of little fibers which stick up off the surface. Fuzzy yarns look bigger than they really are. They’re best appreciated with a very light touch, though with too light a touch, you can barely tell they’re there. Andean Mist and Herriot, both baby alpaca yarns, have a luxuriously fuzzy softness.
- Loftiness: Think about the squishiness of merino wool, somewhat loosely spun, like Malabrigo Worsted (a personal favorite). Its surface is kind of slick, barely fuzzy, but more remarkably, oh-so-squishy. The loftiness requires a slightly firmer touch to fully appreciate. It makes you want to dive into a mountain of yarn. Other lofty-soft yarns on our shelves include Noble and Swans Island Worsted.
But in my humble opinion, the very softness yarn on our shelves at Over the Rainbow Yarn right now is Lujoso from Araucania. It’s a blend of baby alpaca, silk and merino wool: that is, a slick fiber, a fuzzy fiber and a lofty fiber. They’re combined in the most ideal proportion. I swear, this yarn is amazing! I made my prototype for the “All The Pretty Things” hat out of Lujoso, and positively loved every second. I think it’s my favorite yarn I’ve ever worked with. Lujoso is the Spanish word for luxury and this yarn looks and feels like luxury. The fuzziness and loftiness give it a warm, insulating feeling. It feels heavenly soft with a light touch or a firm touch. You’re all cordially invited to come touch it whenever you like! I dare you to resist it.