Monday, July 9, 2012

Sheep(ish) Yarn Review

I've been swatching for my niece's Pea Coat, and I thought I'd share my experience with this new(ish) yarn! I want to preface this review by saying I am no Clara Parkes, but I still think some of you might be interested in what a "regular Joe" like myself has to say about it. Oh, and I did not get paid for any of these words, either. Not even in free yarn ;)

Colorway: Robin Egg(ish)

Vickie Howell launched Sheep(ish) with Caron International in June of last year. It is a worsted weight, roving-style acrylic blend made in Turkey.

70% Acrylic/30% Wool
3 oz/85 g
167 yds/153 m
Price in my town: 4.99

At first, I found myself thinking this was a wonderful option for children's clothing: easy-care, beautiful bright colors, soft in the skein, and with a nice sheen. Unfortunately, from the second I reached in the skein to find the center-pull and ended up with a giant pile of yarn barf my opinion dropped.
Here is a list of random notations from while I was crocheting with the yarn:
1) Yarn barf- not easy to untangle because the "roving-style" fibers stick together
2) Very loosely spun
3) Thick and thin spots
4) Pretty sheen
5) Pre-washed= plasticky and stiff
6) Softer in skein
7) It has a halo, but not in a good way- sort of makes the FO looks shabby
8) Splitty (especially when I switched to knitting- even with pointy metal tips)
9) Looks fine after frogging, but actually frogging is difficult due to point 1
10) Breaks easily

I guess most of my problems are derived strictly from the fact that it is made to mimic roving yarns. But a quick look at the Ravelry Comments proves that I am not the only one who was disappointed by this yarn.

I made several swatches, and here they are pre-washed:

The two crochet swatches were for the Pea Coat. I didn't end up getting gauge after 2 swatches and that was plenty of time to decide I didn't want to use this yarn anyways- I'm awfully glad I only bought the one ball to test it out!

Swatch in Single Crochet

I then did a simple stockinette stitch swatch to check out the drape, as well as a little ribbing/cable swatch to test for elasticity. I used a size 9 needle- the ball band recommended size 8's but I wanted to see if a looser fabric would be softer.

Can you see the weird plasticity, sparkly halo?

It's not a terrible yarn. By that I mean, if I ended up getting a bag of yarn from someone (I'm not the only one who gets those, right? Every once in a while? From someone's aging relative or something?) and there's the usual Red Heart, some Fun Fur and a skein of Sheep(ish), I'd be super stoked about the Sheep(ish). But still, I'm not likely to go out and buy some any time soon.

After going through the machines (Wash and dry- no special treatment, just thrown in with my clothes) the swatches came out exactly the same. Seriously. Even in that picture above, how you can see a little bit of uneven tension? If that was knit with 100% wool and I washed and blocked it by hand, those uneven bits would have diminished greatly. Not so with this blend, although the washability is a very nice factor.

At heart, I am a Wool-Ease girl: I thought I would enjoy this yarn because of how I feel about Caron's Simply Soft (LOVE!) but I believe Wool-Ease serves the same purpose as Sheep(ish) with fewer difficulties and a softer hand. All in all, not a yarn that I'm planning on using again. Also I think the yardage is skimpy.

There you have it! Some random person's thoughts on Caron's Sheep(ish)!
Thanks for reading ;)


  1. Couldn't have said it better myself. I cursed it the whole time I knitted my eggplant. I just like the variety of colors but that's it.

  2. I totally agree with you- if I want a cheap, mostly-acryclic wool blend then I look no further than wool-ease!

  3. What a helpful review .... thanks for taking the time to save us all from aggravation!

  4. I won a ball of it, tried to use it and then biffed it. More trouble than it's worth IMO.

  5. Good to know - thanks! I'm in the UK, so we don't get much Caron over here, but I bought some Simply Soft when I was in the states and I love how it feels.

  6. I could not agree more! I'm doing a tunisian simple stitch scarf for someone and the buyer picked the yarn. I'm going to poke my eye out by the time this thing is only half done. Beautiful colors but I won't work with this yarn again any time soon!

  7. You are all crazy. This is my favorite yarn. It may be difficult to work with for a brand new knitter, but anyone that's held a needle for more than a minute will be able to handle it and enjoy it.

    1. I've been knitting over 10 years, so it's not lack of experience.
      It's not UN-enjoyable, like for instance Lion Brand Homespun.


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