Once 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.
The 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.
Rowan Bamboo Tape
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