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Rowan big wool is a pure wool from the rowan range. It has been around for a number of years and Rowan regularly introduce new shades and discontinue others. The wool itself has a lovely soft feel to it which makes it lovely to wear in a cardi or the like. As a pure wool it is also great at trapping air for warmth and so makes a great scarf too.
There are a number of pattern books that support this yarn and a quick look on the Rowan website indicates that new patterns continue to be be developed. There are a wide range of patterns available from jumpers and cardis through to scarfs and bags. I've used it on a number of projects including an orange cardi, two lovely long winter scarfs and my very first successful attempt at a felted bag.
The wool itself has a lovely soft feel to it which makes it lovely to wear in a cardi or the like. As a pure wool it is also great at trapping air for warmth and so makes a great scarf too.
So pros and cons of this wool are:
It is incredible fast to knit. Big stitches means creating jumper takes little time at all.
It's flexible enough to create interesting stitch patterns which lend themselves well to scarfs and hats.
It felts really well and this combined with the fast knit time makes creating a bag an easy weekend project, even for a novice knitter.
The wool itself is not cheap. However it is no more expensive that other Rowan products and it is a quality yarn.
You need larger needles which few of us have in our normal needle collection.
For sewing up items, you will need a different yarn as the Big Wool for me was too thick
So would I recommend this wool? For scarfs and felted bags absolutely. For jumpers and cardis I'm on the fence. It is quick to knit up and creates a warm product but for me it is too chunky and makes the end product look just too homemade. That said, I just spotted a new pattern while writing the review which will be lovely to knit in these winter months
RRP £8:50 per 100g
Needle size :10 or 15 mm
Tension / Gauge :7.5 sts to 9 rows
Stitches per 10 cm :7.5
Meterage / Yardage :80 m / 87 yds
Yarn Specification :100% merino wool
Rowan Big Wool is beautifully soft and chunky. It comes in a wide range of colours and knits up really quickly. It certainly is premium wool at the price it is but is it worth it? Well usually you can shop around and get it cheaper or on sale - admittedly you can be limited in colour if you do this as the offers tend to be on discontinued colours - so make sure you have enough to finish whatever project you are doing!
This is pretty good, Rowan have a number of dedicated books for Big Wool as well as patterns in their magazines too. If you are looking for slightly cheaper patterns, as Rowan can be pricey, try Sirdar Bigga - I found this knits up the same.
Wear and Tear
Hmm, not great - it does tend to shed and bobble. I have a cream scarf that I love that I knitted in this but woe betides me if it gets near any velcro or I'm wearing something dark....
You can knit up a scarf in a weekend. It's lovely and cosy and warm. It's great for beginners to learn with and they can really see their knitting grow, which is handy as beginners like to see immediate results. I've actually put my own beginners kits together as gifts with a couple of balls, needles, a "how to knit" leaflet and a simple scarf pattern. These are great personalised Christmas gifts that always get a good response. It's also a great wool to try chunky cabling. The stitch definition is lovely and it looks good.
Price, full price isn't cheap! Weight - good for scarves, not so great for bigger garments. I have a large cardigan that I knitted in it that doesn't leave the house. Its stretched below my knee's with the weight of the wool, something you can't really tell will happen with a tension square. However it is the warmest piece of clothing I own and was a godsend last Christmas in the cold snap! The bobbling and shedding is never good though it calms downs with careful washing.
On the whole a nice wool if you can get it on sale for a quick winter scarf but I wouldn't fork out full price for enough balls for a larger garment. You may end up with the world's most expensive slanket.....
I knitted a tank top for myself using this wool. It knits up really really fast and it only took me a week or so to complete my tank top even though I was a beginner.
I like that it is pure wool, it is soft and cozy feeling. I do think it would felt easily which is both an advantage and disadvantage. It would be a disadvantage if my husband was trying to wash my tank top but if you wanted to knit and felt a bag I think this wool would make a very excellent and sturdy choice.
The disadvantage with all wool this big is that it pills and gets worn looking faster (unless you felt it) and it has about zero amount of drape. My tank top is very warm and cosy but I now only wear it in the house as it isn't that flattering.
But I know loads of beginners who have knitted scarves with it and the speed really encourages them with their knitting. So would make a great present for a learner knitter or to yourself if you just want to make something quickly and aren't worried if it won't turn into a family heirloom.