Friday, February 25, 2005

Why I love Louet

Jenifer from Knitting at 5337 asked whether I agree that Louet Gems Merino sportweight (that weight is called Opal) is similar to Koigu Premium Merino.

If you hold a hank of Louet and a hank of Koigu next to each other, I can see why people would say they are alike. Both are tightly-spun merinos, Louet is a 3-ply, while Koigu is a 2-ply. The resulting yarn in both cases has little beads of texture along its edge, almost like delicate lace. The weights are similar - Koigu is fingering, and the Louet I'm talking about here is sportweight. Louet also makes a line called Pearl, which is probably even more similar to KPM because it's fingering, but I have no experience with it. Nonetheless, KPM and Louet Opal could be potentially used for similar projects. Louet comes in more subdued, earthy tones, while KPM comes in every shade under the sun.

I think KPM is a bit softer, and produces a buttery fabric. Louet is also soft, but it has this "great sweater yarn" feeling to it - this stuff isn't going to fall apart or pill in three days! The reason for the difference in softness, I think, is that Louet is superwash merino, while KPM isn't. An ideal project for Louet - sportweight socks, sweaters (I'm considering Louet for this bad boy), baby clothes of all kinds (especially). A garment made out of Louet will withstand repetitive baby pukings and washings. An ideal project for KPM - shawl, adult sweater for someone who'll take really good care of it. I guess anything that you know will be handled delicately.

Finally, the price comparison. KPM is $11 for 50 grams/176 yards of goodness, Louet Opal (sportweight) is $12 for 100 grams/225 yards. Louet Pearl (fingering) is $7 for 50 grams/185 yards. Need I say more? :)

Enjoy your KPMs and your Louets, they both rock!


At 4:21 PM, Blogger June said...

I haven't used Koigu for myself (yet), but I've heard a lot of people say that it was machine washable, even if the label doesn't say so. I didn't know the difference in plies between Louet and Koigu - guess it's not the same yarn after all! :)

At 5:28 PM, Blogger grumperina said...

To reply to June, Louet Opal, the sportweight merino I've used, is 3-ply. Louet Pearl, the fingering weight that's probably even more similar to KPM, but a yarn I've never used, is actually 2-ply. I wish I could get my hands on some Pearl to give a more honest comparison :).

Thank you for letting us know that KPM is perhaps machine-washable! I'm one of these crazy women who machine-washes all her wool anyway, but that's a matter for a whole another post :). However, I do believe that superwash wools feel quite different than non-superwash wools, even if both can go in the machine.

At 1:24 AM, Blogger Tipper said...

According to Linda at Yarnzilla, Koigu is indeed machine washable (and I still want to smack the person on Livejournal who, years ago, yelled at me for insisting it was so - why, yes, I hold grudges!). It's not advertised as such because the owner of Koigu thought it would be a negative point instead of a positive one. Apparently, lots of people have had bad experiences with superwash wool.

At 2:01 AM, Blogger grumperina said...

Thank you for your comment, Tipper! I never said Koigu is not machine-washable. I just said Louet is a superwash wool, chemically treated to be this way, while Koigu isn't, which is true judging by the labels :). In my hands, superwash wool feels different than non-superwash wool, and in this case I think it makes a difference in the way Koigu and Louet feel.

As for how they behave when washed in the machine is a whole another discussion. As I mentioned, all my wools go into the machine, so for me all wool is machine-washable :-D.


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