MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino: yarn review

Robynn is smitten with MillaMia in her latest yarn review for us – just wait until she sees their adorable free patterns for Valentine’s Day!

The fun colours of MillaMia's Naturally Soft Merino

The fun colours of MillaMia’s Naturally Soft Merino

MillaMia – Naturally Soft Merino
Worsted-spun merino, 125m/137yds per 50g ball
Gentle machine wash

I’d better be frank about this. I’m not always a great judge of character. Some of my best friends are people I didn’t really hit it off with at first… and apparently my first impressions of yarn aren’t to be trusted either.

At least, not if we’re talking about MillaMia. I came across this cheerful sportweight merino (the company also produces an aran weight) when it was launched, in 2009, and I didn’t really see the point. It didn’t stand out, to me, from what was already on the market. Even though, if pressed, I probably couldn’t have named a single yarn that was quite like it. But somehow or other I ended up with a ball in my stash, which I combined with some other yarns in a child’s cardigan: the rest of the card was knit with a better-known merino blend, while MillaMia took care of the hardworking buttonband and other bits of trim.

That was the ice breaker. You might say I was smitten.

Big Love Front

The Big Love cushion – a free pattern from MillaMia

To start with, it was a pleasure to use. Rounded, bouncy, and soft, it felt good in my hands and adjusted happily to my needles, creating wonderfully even, elastic ribbing. But what really won me over was the long-term relationship. When the rest of the cardy was showing signs of wear – a touch of pilling, a general hint of fatigue – that grey MillaMia buttonband was as perky as on day one. Merino doesn’t have a reputation for lasting well; that luxurious softness tends to come at a cost other than just financial. But this yarn is ready for commitment.

The company MillaMia was formed in London by two Swedish sisters with a fashion design background. Their vision was fairly ambitious: their designs – initially mostly for children – were to be fresh and modern, but not trendy (given the time investment required by knitting). They had to be stylish, but not intimidating, and offer something to beginners as much as to more advanced knitters. This really is the perfect yarn for their purposes: soft, washable and above all durable, all vital qualities for children swear. It’s also versatile, since its smooth, rounded construction will show off any stitch you care to try, but it’s especially well suited to cables or textural stitches.

MillaMia Collage

More MillaMia free patterns, clockwise from top right: Cross My Heart Cushion, Cross My Heart Candle Warmer, and Sweet Heart Cushion.

 

The colour range is, I think, another reflection of the company’s focus on children. And I have to admit, this is probably where much of my initial resistance came from: they’re not my favourite colours. There are pastels, crayon-y brights and a few dark shades – the kind of navy, burgundy and forest green that would be very useful for school jumpers. Not so much the rich but subtle shades that generally get me excited. Still, the line is expanding. Even the fussiest knitter (moi?!) can find an elegant neutral or two, while the brights are great for kids; and I’ve also found myself excited by the limited edition colours too.

There’s a lot more to this yarn than first meets the eye. It’s a workhorse, but it’s not boring. It’s modern, but classic. It’s accessible, but a little bit different. It’s fresh, friendly and eager to please. Really, it’s very Swedish.

Robynn's great suggestions for IK knits using MillaMia yarns - L to R: Ice Storm Cowl, Sunrise Headband, Helios Mitts, and Harbour Lights Cowl

Robynn’s great suggestions for IK knits using MillaMia yarns – L to R: Ice Storm Cowl, Sunrise Headband, Helios Mitts, and Harbour Lights Cowl

What to knit?
I’d be inclined to take advantage of MillaMia’s fantastic durability with a pair of soft, cozy hand warmers – the textural lines of Ice Storm show up beautifully in this yarn. The Sunrise headband (and Helios mitts) show off MillaMia’s ability to form beautifully rounded cables. But I’d really love to wrap it around my neck in a warm cowl, which has me taking another look at that colour range, pondering combinations for Harbour Lights!


Thanks to Robynn for another wonderful yarn review, and thanks to Max at MillaMia for sharing some great pics with us of their juicy yarns! If you love the look of MillaMia’s sweetheart pillows, why not knit one for your own sweetie for Valentine’s Day? The patterns are free to download for a limited time – until February 23rd! – so grab them now while you can!

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2 thoughts on “MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino: yarn review

    • There’s a definition here

      Basically, the fibres have been aligned really well, making for a smoother, denser yarn than a woollen-spun yarn. Worsted-spun is less common for knitting yarns and more common for yarn destined to become fine woven fabrics.

      And…it’s not to be confused with a worsted yarn, which is just a weight of yarn and nothing to do with the spinning method used.

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