Gems 100% merino is a dream sweater yarn! Machine wash & dry. It is a true worsted-spun yarn with a tight twist to minimize pilling while maintaining a high elasticity. This combination allows for excellent stitch definition, making cable designs truly come to life.
The fingering-weight is a favorite yarn base among indie-dyers.
Gems is custom-spun for Louet North America in South Africa from non-mulesed sheep (If you aren’t familiar with the practice of mulesing, please read more.). Pressure-dyed for consistent color that is spectacular for crisp colorwork patterns.
- 100% merino
- Pill-resistant and hard-wearing
- Prickle-proof and scrumptiously soft
- Machine wash & dry
- Amazing stitch definition
- Available in 50 colors
Available in 3 weights: Fingering, Sport and Worsted. The same colorways are available in all 3 weights for optimum flexibility for your knitting creativity.
Why is Gems so amazing?
The story behind our quest for the perfect sweater yarn
As knitters and crocheters, we naturally ogle and are drawn to soft and beautiful yarns. But many of us have also had the feeling of feeling ‘duped’: you pick up a beautiful yarn only to discover that it falls apart/is too scratchy/ felts… or just plain lets you down. And we don’t want that to happen again, do we?
We know this feeling all too well. We’re knitters, too.
We wanted the perfect merino yarn. Obviously, it’d be soft (merino usually is). But it also had to be pill-resistant (merino, because of its short staple length, tends to pill a lot). And it had to be machine-wash and dry. Oh, and from sheep that were happy and treated well. It was a tall order, but also a sweet story, let us tell you how Gems was born!
Once upon a time… the founder of Louet North America (and Dave’s mom!), Trudy Van Stralen, was a spinner. When we had the idea for creating a 100% merino yarn that was machine wash and dry, she developed the yarn by spinning samples and sending them to the mill. As a result, Gems is one of the only worsted spun yarns on the market and one of the only commercially-produced yarns that mimics many ‘handspun’ characteristics in terms of bounce and ply.
Why worsted spun? When a yarn is worsted spun, all of the fibers are aligned, and lay together nicely. It means that the yarn has a fabulous stitch definition, and is also ‘prickle-proof’. Some customers pick up Gems and feel how soft it is… and don’t believe it’s really wool! It is! It’s a 22 micron, 100% merino made from South African wool from non-mulesed sheep.
The minimum staple length for the merino used in Gems is 90mm (3.6″ long), which is VERY long for a merino (known for it’s short staple lengths!). The short staple lengths that many other yarns feature means that merino has developed a reputation for pilling… that’s because the short fibers easily work their way out of the twist and create a ‘pill’. Not Gems. While every yarn *can* pill, ours is pill-resistant, a much harder-wearing yarn than any other Merino yarn on the market.
Our beloved fingering weight has been used (undyed) as a base for many popular indie dyers. You may have worked with it already and not known!
We think it’s the perfect yarn. Great for sweaters, baby-items and shawls. Gems comes in 3 weights: fingering (2 ply), sport (3 ply) and worsted (4 ply). It comes in over 50 colors, with new color collections every year.
What does ‘Superwash’ mean?
Wool, straight from the sheep, will felt if washed in a hot washing machine (we’ve all heard about a sweater shrinking, right?). Yarn that is specially-treated so that it can be washed is colloquially called ‘superwash’.
Let’s dive down into a bit more detail. There are a number of ways to make wool machine-washable. Technically speaking, the term ‘superwash’ is a patented process, and these yarns can be machine-washed, but it is recommended that they are laid flat to dry (i.e. not put in a washing machine).
Louet Gems is Hercosett-treated (a resin is applied to the yarn to keep the scales from felting with each other) and does not use the superwash process. It’s even better than superwash! Gems can be washed and dried in the dryer. Fabulous, right?
Because the term ‘superwash’ is used by many knitters as equivalent to ‘machine-washable’, we’ve used it in this description. But we’re fully disclosing the details to those of you who geek out on the details!
Gauge & More information
100 gram skeins.
Recommended Needle Size: US 2-3 (2.75-3.25mm)
Recommended Gauge: 6.5-7.5 sts/inch (26-30sts per 4 inch/10cm)
100 gram skeins.
Recommended Needle Size: US 3-5 (3.25-3.75mm)
Recommended Gauge: 5.5-6.5 sts/inch (22-26sts per 4 inch/10cm)
100 gram skeins.
Recommended Needle Size: US 7-9 (5-6mm)
Recommended Gauge: 4.5-5.5 sts/inch (18-22sts per 4 inch/10cm)
Machine wash on gentle cycle using a non-bleach, mild soap. Dry the garment or item in your dryer on a medium setting for 15 minutes, then lay flat to finish.