Independent Yarn Review: Noro Kibou
Fiber Content: 54% Cotton, 34% Wool, 12% Silk. Yardage: approximately 297 yards
Physical Weight: 100g
Yarn Weight: DK w/varying thickness from light sport to Bulky.
Gauge: 5-5.5 sts per inch
Recommended Needle Size: US 5 needle.
Packaged as skeins.
Pattern Support: No free patterns from Knitting Fever (KFI) for Kibou however there are 13 patterns for this specific yarn which can be purchases in three or four different books from KFI.
Palette: 6 self-striping colorways
This hub is in no way intended to promote or dissuade. It is intended to share my experience using a particular yarn and hopefully provide useful feedback.
First Impressions of Kibou
I can remember several years ago at the start of my knitting obsession coming across a skein of Noro at a local yarn shop. I do not remember which Noro line it was from. I was enthralled by the colors but when I touched it I can't say I was thrilled by the hand. Looking back I can put it into better perspective. I freely admit, at that time, my fiber knowledge was limited. My "hand" was very inexperienced when it came to various fiber types. Up until then I had only worked with big box store acrylic yarns and did not have a pool of fiber types and quality yarns to compare to or an understanding of what various fibers feel like. I only knew the hearsay of Acrylics are soft/smooth and wools are itchy. Fast forward several years. This time when I picked up the Kibou I could really put a greater perspective to my past, inexperienced evaluation.
I now know all wool yarns do not feel the same, just as all acrylics do not feel the same. Simply because something has wool in it does not mean it is going to itch like mad. Nor does it mean it will feel coarse. I have a better understanding of just how important formulation is when it comes to the final hand of a fiber. Of course that goes out of the window if you have an allergy or sensitivity to wool/animal fibers. Fortunately, I do not have an allergy or sensitivity.
Kibou (Pronounced: Key-Bo) is the Japanese word for hope. I think it was quite fitting this was the Noro yarn I picked from the group of four I was provided for review. Visually, I was enamored with the colors and the range of the hues. There is real artistry present in the crafting of the colorways. The hand, I found quite pleasant. The main fiber is cotton which really adds a beautiful lightness to the yarn. I honestly found myself imagining all of the projects I could make with this fiber. I was truly inspired by the possibilities and could not wait to dive in.
Swatching with Kibou
For the Knit Swatch: The knit swatch was a real treat to make. This yarn required no adjusting on my part. It moved well, gave when I needed it to and held fast when it needed to. I even found the variation in thickness, of which there are true extremes in this yarn, complimented each other nicely and I am generally not someone who likes my yarn to vary in thickness. The constant shifting in color hue and striping made me only want to keep knitting more and more. How often does that happen when you're making a swatch? Normally it is more of "Is this swatch done yet?" This time I had to say to myself "Ok, bind off so you can move on to the project."
For the Crochet Swatch: I found this yarn worked equally well in the crochet swatch. The definition the yarn provided to each stitch was lovely. There was firmness with a really pleasant give to each of the finished stitches. I normally find crochet stitches quite dense and this yarn really countered that well.
When it came to the Abuse Olympics I must give Kibou kudos. No matter how many times I ripped the little Olympics swatch apart the yarn bounced back. After 8 frogs and virtually no hint of distortion to the yarn I did not see any point to continually knitting and undoing. When it came to unknitting the yarn was a dream. It came apart as easily as it went together.
Since there were no free patterns specifically for Kibou I went to www.Ravelry.com for a free pattern search. I came across the Topographical Scarf by Kristin Hansen which I thought would be a great fit for this beautiful yarn. A note on the pattern, it was a great easy knit. It made really smart use of wrap and turns and the pick up rows to create a visually dynamic piece.
The more I knit with this yarn the more I felt I was knit a Monet painting. The play of colors within themselves and against each other showed the artistry inherent to the yarn. I do not consider myself an artistic person when it comes to colors, yet the more I progressed in the scarf the more artistic I felt. I began to better appreciate this brand of yarn which I had summarily written off years ago based on a single, inexperienced, 15 second experience. There was a simplicity to working with this yarn. Kibou moved through my fingers and around my needles effortlessly. It did not matter whether I was using stainless steel or bamboo the yarn moved equally well. The balance to this blend of fibers is exceptional. I even found the contrast within the colorway incredibly interesting. The reserved vibrancy of the hues in this particular colorway constantly drew my interest. Just when I thought a color was about to become too vibrant it transitioned away from the precipice and the same is true when the color seemed about to go too dark.
All in all, if you have not already guessed, I enjoyed my experience with Kibou. Considering how well the yarn worked, the visual play of the colors and the yardage (approx 297 yds) the price of $19.95 is quite reasonable. The bang for your buck is there. I would absolutely use this yarn again and if I found it on sale I would not hesitate to stock up enough to make myself an afghan. Notice I said myself. I think we have all used yarns and thought "This would be great to make myself something with." Then we find we don't get around to it. Not in this case. I would absolutely make myself something with this yarn before making something for anyone else.
The visual, textural and tactile interplay when working with Kibou is a real testament to the the artistry of Noro.
Copyright William Souza 2014