Saturday, January 17, 2009

Review: Patons (Australia) Washed Haze

For Australian lovers of Rowan All Seasons Cotton (ASC) who despair at the price and/or availability of it here, you might be interested in trying (if you haven't already!) Patons Australia's Washed Haze (WH). Both are "worsted" or aran weight cotton/acrylic blend yarns.

While the colour range of the WH is small (only 6 colours) and the yardage is slightly less than the Rowan, it is fairly easily available here and is very reasonably priced.
(ASC on the left, WH on the right)

Here are the general specs:
Yardage: ASC - 90m; WH 85m
Composition: ASC: 60% cotton, 40% acrylic; WH - exactly the same
Washing instructions: ASC: warm (40C) machine wash on wool cycle; WH: gentle machine wash
Gauge/tension: ASC: 4.5 - 5.5mm (7-9 US) gives 16-18 st and 23-25 rows over 10cm/4"; WH: 4.5mm (7 US) gives 19 st and 25 rows over 10cm/4".
Origin: ASC - not clear on some ball bands, others say Italy; WH - China.
Colour range: ASC - here; WH - here
Price: ASC retails for about $13 in Australia, WH for about $4-5.

Most importantly, how do they feel and compare when knitted? I've used both, and for the same pattern - the monogram cushions I've made for my nephews and nieces (ASC here and WH here).
I think the ASC feels slightly softer in the ball, but the yarn itself looks almost indistinguishable. However, the colours themselves, to me, make the yarns different - the ASC dyes are deeper and more even, the WH is (as the name suggests) slightly washed out and the WH shades are, in side by side comparison, slightly garish tones. This is far less obvious when the WH yarn is viewed by itself.
(ASC on the left, WH on the right)

As for the knitted fabric, it is, to me, indistinguishable. Using 4.5mm sticks gives a firm-ish fabric, which is what you want for the cushions. I've knit ASC on 5mm sticks too (for the Trellis toddler cardi) and it gives more drape, but holds the cables well. I'm sure the WH would be the same - the monogram letters on the cushions have really nice stitch definition.
Something to watch with the WH (and from recollection, with the ASC as well) is that the ends tend to untwist. The yarn is made up of a whole bunch of smaller plies, which are themselves plied, and if you leave the ends to darn in once you've finished knitting the whole piece, the yarn will untwist. Easy to fix by a small knot right near the end of the yarn which you just cut off before darning in!
If you can live with the limited colours, then the WH is a great substitue for ASC. Hopefully if we buy lots of it, Patons will increase the colour range (please, pretty please?!).


Bells said...

How very useful this is! There's lots of discussion around about the differences between the high end yarns and the close cousins and info like this shows that substitution can be done quite comfortably if you're on a budget. I'm going to get some!

MadMad said...

I LOVE this idea of seeing yarns reviewed. One of my local stores has a pretty good patons selection... Did you know I went and got that book to make the cushion? Of course, it's for my living room, not a baby. Is that bad?

Lin said...

I agree with you, it is nice to knit with and wear.

Bells said...

When I eventually get that book I'll be making a cushion for myself like mad mad Rachel did! And for others...

sweetp said...

Great post, I've eyed that WH but wasn't sure what it knitted up like and yeah the colour range is a little blerh, like the blue though. Hmm may have to get some now :)

Kris said...

Great yarn review! I hadn't actually heard of this yarn before your cushions. Useful... :)

Lynne said...

Thanks for the review - very helpful.

Bells said...

i got to fondle some of this today. i liked it!!

catsmum said...

very useful review RR
I'd not been aware of the WH until I saw it AT THE SUPERMARKET for $2.50 a ball. It looked good despite the crappy colour range so I bought all they had of the so-called dark blue which is more of a faded greyed lavender.
I've got enough to make either Hey Teach or Summer's End, both of which I love. I'm leaning a bit towards Summer's End.

Sarah said...

You should have a magazine column, this is a fab review, so helpful - you've got me wishing I could get the Patons yarn here!

Bells said...

At the supermarket, CatsMum? Which supermarket I wonder????

Donna Lee said...

I like the washed out colors. Sometimes they are nice as a break from bright, solid colors and make nice sweaters. I like cotton yarns but they are all splitty like that. I love your hint about tying a little knot at the end.

Michele said...

or you could overdye some of those washed out colors to brighten them up. you could even dye it red. i mean outside in the backyard - not in your new house!