School of Yarn Semester #2 - Merino Madness


Semester Two... Merino Madness is all about the bases made predominantly from the superstar of the wool industry, Merino. This 'Queen of Fibers' is probably the most popular wool on the planet, so we wanted to delve into its origins and history as well as the specific qualities which give Merino its royal reputation. All the while exploring how the properties of this one breed of sheep play into the choices we make in everything from ranching to milling down to the yarn that’s in your hands.

Our Merino wool is a global wool, and since all three of these bases are made in different parts of the world, we will also have a chance to discuss what that means in terms of quality, sustainability and the footprint it leaves behind.

Your instructor, Karen, has often said that if she could be a wool, she'd be Merino - it has a refined smoothness, a soft roundness that can lend such glorious soft definition to your work as a knitter. We knitters tend to crave softness for a lot of our knitting, and Merino (and its blends) truly deliver! Some folks worry about it pilling, so we'll have a long conversation about that (and how to mitigate or manage it) so that you can enjoy the light, bouncy softness that Merino delivers to its bases.

The three bases we’ve chosen for our in-depth Merino study are all of the same weight (DK) while varying in percentage of Merino, the range of fibers blended in, as well as yarn construction. This will give us the opportunity to explore not only the fiber type across differing bases, but also how one weight of yarn can feel different in the skein and in the knitting with those other elements blended in. These skeins will each tell us their own special story of spinning, ply, weight, color, knitting and wearing.

We will be dyeing all three of these bases in brand new and different colorways, each designed to accentuate the yarns’ attributes:

  • 1 CAKE DK will be dyed as a shaded solid, to show Merino's character in its purest form as a stitch magician and special garment yarn.
  • 2 skeins of Crackpaca DK will be dyed as a multi-hued muted watercolor wonder, to enhance the softness and luminescence that the silk and alpaca bring to this blend.
  •  2 skeins of La Luna DK will be dyed as a layered color, one we build on the skein hue by hue, amplifying the silky magic that is La Luna.

As with Semester #1, in each shipment you’ll get pages and pages of invaluable information about the breed; the qualities of the fleece; how it’s spun at the mill; dyer’s notes about how it takes dye; swatching prompts to help you play with needle sizes and gauges to find each yarn’s ideal range; and project ideas both small and large. We will discuss pattern support for each yarn and have pattern recommendations and discounts for a few select patterns. Plus there will be a few little goodies in each shipment to go along with your skein and your course PDFs!

You'll also recieve:      

  • A super cool Semester 2 patch
  • A nifty and useful needle gauge
  • Breed-specific patch

Join us in the new year for a whole new set of fabulous fibers to play with, all in the name of learning what it is about Merino that makes it so magical!



100% Merino
Length: 765 yds / 704 m
Weight: 9 oz / 255 g

CAKE is a  three layered (3-ply) slice of delicious woolly wonder; as heavenly as a perfectly light and airy sponge cake that is just firm enough. Tina knew as soon as she held it in her hands that she wanted to add this in as one of our quintessential garment yarns. The DK version of CAKE is still lofty, but with a little more drape.

This is 21.5 micron Merino spun just right! The stitch definition is just stunning. Our good friend and yarn gauge test knit goddess Karen is head over heels in love with CAKE and is planning all sorts of wonderful sweaters of this 3-ply beauty!



Crackpaca DK
45% Baby Alpaca / 45% Superfine Merino / 10% Cultivated Silk
Weight: 3.75 oz / 106 g
Length: 265 yds / 242 m

Tina isn't known as the biggest alpaca fan on the planet, which is why up until now Blue Moon had only offered one Alpaca-blend yarn – Peru. Then the same folks who created our Peru came up with a yarn that Tina seriously wanted to just call Crack (it's that wonderful)... so she settled on Crackpaca! Because this is most definitely crack for knitters, luckily there are no harmful side effects – and as far as we know it's still legal to enjoy knitting *this much*!

Crackpaca is equal parts baby alpaca and a superfine Merino, and this is what we think makes it so wonderful. The superfine aspect of the Merino enhances the baby alpaca by providing elasticity and buoyancy without taking away that ultra-softness we love alpaca for.

And if that were not enough, let’s just add in a little cultivated silk to the mix – just enough for sheen and strength.

And… because we can, let's ply it a little tighter than we normally do on this type of yarn and make it a 2-ply.

So soft and light and buoyant.

La Luna DK
85% 19.5 Micron Merino / 15% Mulberry Silk
Weight: 3.5 oz / 99 g
Length: 220 yds /  201 m

What could possible make an ultra fine and soft 19.5 micron Merino any better? Maggie suggests a little Mulberry Silk?! 15% to be exact. La Luna is such a lovely blend of these two fiber superstars, with just enough silk to support the fineness of the Merino while adding in a little tensile strength and durability.

La Luna DK is a 2-ply yarn; light and lofty, nice and round with just enough elasticity for some seriously lovely stitch definition!

Oh, and let’s not forget the sheen that silk brings with it.


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