Yarn Review: KFO Heavy Merino

A soft, structural yarn

Hi guys! Welcome to my weekly yarn review. Each week, I write about a specific yarn that I’ve worked with in the past and discuss what I loved about it, where it falls short, and what kind of knitted items it may work best in. For my more yarn reviews, and to get notified when I write a new one, sign up for my newsletter!

Today I’ll be reviewing Knitting for Olive’s Heavy Merino – a yarn I used for the first time, strangely enough, to knit summer tops.

I like to knit my tank tops / crop tops in yarn that has enough “bounce” and stretch to fit well, is soft enough to be worn (in a tighter-than-usual garment) right up against my skin, and is thick enough that I could hopefully get away without wearing a bra. For these reasons, I often find myself gravitating towards solid merino yarns as the weather gets warmer instead of reaching for traditional summer alternatives like cotton, linen or silk yarn.

Knitting For Olive’s Heavy Merino comes in such a broad range of summery colors, from bright pinks to cool yellows and baby blues, and I couldn’t resist reaching for it at my local yarn store (although of course, Heavy Merino can be used for so much more than summer tops!).

KFO’s Heavy Merino is a 100% merino yarn designed for use on 4.5 mm needles with a natural structure that lends itself to amazing stitch definition and limited pilling. It comes in a range of solid colors and slightly variegated hues (I’m a huge fan of their Soft Aqua colorway which is sage green with subtle blue and purple hints and reminds me of sea glass).

KFO is also very particular about the ethical sourcing of their yarn and ensuring that the animals that produce their wool are treated humanely and the farmers who source the wool are paid fairly for their work.

Good for:

- Stitch definition. This is such a versatile yarn, and it looks beautiful in lace, cables, or plain stockinette stitch.
- Wearing against your skin. This wool is not itchy at all, and it is such a pleasure to knit with and gets even softer after blocking!
- Using alone or with a thread of silk mohair. I was afraid that Heavy Merino would expand a lot after blocking (thus ruining my plans for a fitted tank top), but it barely grew during washes and has not pilled at all. While holding Heavy Merino together with a thread of silk mohair is not necessary to make sure the yarn holds its shape or doesn’t pill (necessary for other KFO yarns like the now discontinued Double Soft Merino), it does lend a good degree of warmth that comes in handy when knitting heavier winter garments.

Not great for:

- Projects where you are counting on the yarn to expand. To be fair, I didn’t really try to stretch the yarn when I was blocking, but in my experience most yarns will grow a certain degree naturally after wet blocking, and Heavy Merino did not at all. This was great for me, but maybe not so great when you’re knitting an oversized sweater. Definitely do not substitute this for a fiber that grows like Alpaca or superwash yarn.

Recommended patterns in KFO Heavy Merino:

- The Davenport camisole
- The One that I Want Crop from Lily Kate Makes
- Sweater Number 20 from My Favourite Things Knitwear
- The Sade Pullover from Sari Nordlund