Cascade Longwood is a very interesting yarn with a very interesting feel and ply. It’s plied in what’s known as an “S-Twist”, which is a left hand twist and I’m told is spun counterclockwise. It looks like it twists clockwise to me, but I guess it twists the opposite of the way it spins. The way it twists is only the start of the story.
You see, unlike traditional 2-ply yarn which is made up of two lengths of fiber that are spun one way and then spun together the other way, Cascade Longwood is actually made up of several lengths of fiber. They’re about lace weight in thickness and spun together in a bunch of individual 2-plies as an S-Twist. Under really close scrutiny, the original fibers appear to be spun in a Z-Twist before being spun together in that S-Twist, essentially making a 2-ply lace weight length of yarn (so the original fiber is about cobweb in weight? It’s really thin whatever it is).
Here’s where it gets really crazy. So you have a whole bunch of 2-ply lace weight yarns just sitting there and being all pretty and ready to knit into some amazing lace, so what do you do? Well, you take all those yarns, put them together into one giant worsted weight yarn, and then ply them together in an S-Twist again. That’s what the finished product of Cascade Longwood is like.
A crazy yarn begets a crazy product. The stockinette that comes from this yarn is incredible. Instead of the usual “V” shape you normally see, one leg of each “V” instead stack atop each other and line up so you basically end up with a stockinette that looks like a straight line going down next to a column of slants. It’s really cool.
The yarn is also really soft and squishy and has a kind of luxurious feel to it. My only two issues are how easy it is to split the yarn when knitting with it, though that’s easily avoided, and how it doesn’t really like to hold its shape. I’ve probably been too rough with it and expected too much, though. It’s not the type of yarn that’s going to stretch and then bounce back into shape after extended wear. Reblocking the piece will fix this, of course, but that gets tedious after awhile. In the end, I highly recommend using this yarn, but not for knitting projects with a lot of negative ease like gloves, skull caps, tight fitting cowls, or socks.
I used this yarn in my free knitting pattern, Out of Sequence. The yarn makes the cowl very warm and soft, but since it’s a tight fitting cowl that gets a lot of wear in the winter I have to reblock it a lot. I still love the cowl and the yarn, though.