Review: Rico Superba Poems
Rico yarns are popular, affordable and come in a fabulous range of weights, colours and textures – Amy Kaspar reviews Superba Poems…
Hmm…socks, shawls, socks, shawls…fingering-weight yarn can of course be used for anything, but socks and shawls tend to be the default projects for this weight. Superba Poems by Rico Designs is equal to either task, among probably many other projects as well. I chose neither, actually; I made a scarf so I could show everyone how to knit on the bias last week!
The yarn is 100g/420m of self-striping, single-ply woolly goodness. It actually is only 75% superwash wool and 25% polyamide, with the polyamide giving the single-ply yarn some strength so it could be suitable for socks. Superba Poems also has sweeping, subtle ombre stripes in a pattern that repeats at about 50 grams, so you could either make two of the exact-same striped socks or a different item with a repeating-stripe pattern.
For the review, I used size 3.75mm/US5 needles (well, a circular needle) out of bamboo, and the yarn gripped pretty well to the needle. Beginners would appreciate this quality, but more seasoned knitters may opt for coated wood or metal to speed up their knitting. Needles for socks or more sturdy garments would likely be a smaller gauge, so coated or metal needles would be advised if you wanted to move along on your project more quickly for that reason as well.
With a single-ply, more woollen-spun yarn, there is always a bit of concern about the strength of the strand of yarn. I hold the yarn pretty darn tightly, and not only were there no breaks in the yarn (disclaimer: I still had 39 grams left when I bound off the scarf), pulling the yarn apart with my hands was difficult. There should be no fear about the yarn breaking on you.
Where the colours come together, the yarn is more tightly spun than where the yarn is solid, so the strand appears a bit thinner. There is still the same strength of the strand, however, so no panicking. Where the yarn was a solid colour, the strand appeared to flare and flatten out on the needle, causing Superba Poems to be a bit splittier than most sock yarns. Because of the woolly look of the yarn, however, a split here and there has zero effect on the look of the finished item.
Stitch definition does get a bit lost with Superba Poems because of the wool halo; single-ply yarn which self-stripes is more or less designed to let the yarn do the work for you, so this is not a major concern. Like many single-plies, also, knitting the yarn makes it feel nicer as a fabric than it does in the ball.
After washing the yarn by hand in my hotel sink and letting it dry on a white towel, the fabric softened up quite a bit, and it held its shape after it dried. There was no residual colour on the towel whatsoever, including where the red stripe was drying (red is the most common colour to bleed). The yarn also kept its same look, with the level of fuzz staying exactly the same. This is a good indicator on the wearability of the finished fabric; the more fuzz you see, the less time you will get to enjoy the item. Or, the more care you will need to take when washing and wearing, even if the item is superwash wool.
The depth of the stripes are striking; I used a few less stitches than one would use for socks, so the stripes would be slightly closer together for socks, but the colour combinations are also beautiful. I did make one major mistake with the Superba Poems: while I prefer to pull from the inside of a yarn ball, because of the woolliness of each strand, the yarn was pretty sticky for the first part of the scarf. It would have been better to just take off the ball band and pull from the outside.
Rico Designs Superba Poems would have made a beautiful pair of socks, but the colourful stripes are more than suitable for a beautiful shawl or baby sweater. While the yarn does not feel “baby-like” in the ball, it did soften up enough to be suitable for baby items after it was knitted and washed, so no worries about irritating baby’s skin. Knit on a tighter gauge, the fabric would also wear like armour, so even though the yarn is a single-ply spin, it will last once it is knitted.
With how much yarn I had left on a typically-sized scarf, one ball would be more than enough for a pair of socks, nicely-sized shawl, and a baby garment as well. Held doubled, the ombre stripes would produce a muted effect that would be just as pleasing as a single-ply, but more subtle for those gifts for friends who do not necessarily like the silly looks we knitters enjoy so much. There are six different colourways on the LoveKnitting site ranging from rainbow to muted khaki, so there is a little something for everyone by Rico Designs. I think you will like it.
Last updated: November 6th, 2014.