Friday, March 09, 2007

Yarn Review: Rowan Bamboo Tape

bambootape1.jpgOnce again, thanks to Amy and Sheryl at Yarntopia, I have a chance to knit with some delicious new yarn: Rowan’s Bamboo Tape. As you can probably guess by its name, the yarn is made from bamboo and it’s a tape yarn. (Yes, Valerie, it really is a tape yarn!)

Bamboo Tape is delightfully soft to the touch. It’s very smooth and silky. In fact, it has a slight sheen to it that is somewhat similar to the sheen of silk. But not exactly like silk, just similar. I was actually surprised by the extreme softness of the yarn. I’ve never worked with bamboo before and I guess I expected it to be somewhat similar to cotton. But Bamboo Tape is not similar to cotton at all.

The yarn is a tube of woven threads that is pressed flat. This construction give the yarn a bit of resiliency and springness that is usually absent from yarns made from plant fibers. As a result, the yarn is easy to work with. People who complain about working with “stiff” cotton yarns will not have an issue with this yarn. The construction of the yarn also prevents splitting. I occasionally catch the yarn with my needle tip and the needle just stops. The needle doesn’t go through the yarn and doesn’t distort the yarn very much.

Swatch.JPGThe resiliency of the yarn is evident in the knitting fabric as well. The fabric feels squishy and is stretchy. It has a fairly nice drape—somewhere between the drape of silk and the drape of wool. I think the yarn will be wonderful for summer knitting. But be very careful when you are swatching with this yarn. I promise you that the yarn will grow when wet. And then it will grow even MORE when it dries completely. So wash and thoroughly dry your swatch before measuring!

At this point, I’m not sure how the fabric will wear. I’m not ready to abuse my swatch because I’m not sure if I will need to unravel it to finish my sweater.

Now that I’ve sung the praises of this yarn, I have to admit that there is a down side. This yarn is heavy! Not thick-heavy, but weight-heavy. Even before I finished knitting the back of my sweater I was surprised at the weight of the fabric on the needles. But I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. A 50 g ball of Bamboo Tape contains a mere 82 yards of yarn. Even the smallest size of the sweater that I am making requires 9 balls of Bamboo Tape! And the pattern is a simple a short-sleeved “T-shirt” (it’s Tori shown on this page). At about $10 per ball, even a small garment will be pricey.

Yarn stats:misprint.JPG
Rowan Bamboo Tape
100% bamboo
Approximately 4.75 sts/in. (worsted weight)
50 g balls (82 yds/75 m)
And despite what the misprinted label says, it should be knit on about a US size 8 needle


Rachel said...

The yarn and the pattern both look really pretty! I can't believe that the pattern calls for NINE balls, though. So many ends to weave in in so little space!

I almost didn't comment on this post because I'm not mentioned anywhere in it. Then I decided to step out of character and be mature about it. This time.

Lori said...

thanks for posting the review! That yarn caught my eye and I was wondering about it. I'm using some Rowan calmer right now and I adore it! I'm usually such a wool-baby, but I thought I'd better check out these cottons and bamboos, too!

Joanna said...

Wow, that does seem really heavy - but the fabric is so pretty! All those puffy little stitches squished up next to each other! From the garter rows on top, it looks like it has good stitch definition... hmm... I wonder how it would work in lace (to help reduce the weight)?

Jennifer said...

Oooo, I didn't know Rowan had a bamboo yarn. Looks like it would be a good yarn for a tank, but you're right. It would be an expensive tank.

Helen said...

yeah, bamboo is SOOO soft!

knitseashore said...

I wonder why Bamboo is more expensive...the camisole I'm trying to knit also calls for Bamboo from Alchemy, and would cost as much as a heavy wool sweater in some cases.

Enjoy the new project, and another break from Lotus. :)

s t a c i said...

It seems like a pretty wide tape - are there issues with the yarn twisting and making funny stitches?

Mintyfresh said...

Very interesting yarn; can't wait to see the FO.

the kitchener bitch said...

It does look nice and like it'd be beautiful in that top. All the bamboo I've tried definitely does grow, so it doesn't surprise me with this one either. The heaviness does surprise me, though - I'm assuming that's less a function of the bamboo part (since most of the bamboo I've knitted with has been much lighter - about 125-150 yards to 50g) and more a function of the tape part; most of the tape yarns we carry don't have particularly spectactular yardage per 50 grams, even in wool.

KeanaLee said...

Can't wait to see it finished!

amylovie said...

I'm not sure why the yarn is so expensive (our wholesale price is high too). It could be that transforming bamboo into a fiber fit for yarn is labor intensive. Who knows? I DO know that it is yummy to touch.


Amanda said...

Thanks for the info! I've been considering using bamboo for a "T-shirt" that recently caught my eye. Now I can make an informed decision.

Anonymous said...

I am glad I came across your website while doing a search for the new yarn Rowan Bamboo Tape. I was going to spend the money on it, but now I know that the yarn is heavy when knit up and that does not appeal to me. I made a beautiful sweater with Japanese Bamboo I picked up at a Stitches Convention. The sweater also came out heavy and grew. Your comments on this yarn were very helpful.


Pink Feather Paradise said...

Hi I am looking at possibly buying some rowan bamboo tape to crochet a shawl for the summer... do you think it would be succesful crochet'd?

cheers Alex

MiniLaura said...

Hi Alex,

I think you could crochet with Bamboo Tape, but I'm fairly sure that the yarn was discontinued a couple of years ago. I hope you can find some if you really want it.