Backpacking With a Yarn Stash in Southeast Asia

My backpacking yarn stash

There is a well known formula among bike owners regarding the number of bikes you should own. The rule is this: if you have n number of bikes, then you need n+1 bikes. Therefore, you always need one more bike than you already own.

This same formula applies perfectly to yarn.

I found this out the hard way when working on my last pattern for the Diyi mittens. In the middle of knitting my second pair of mittens, I realized I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish the mitten for the left hand. I was stuck. And frustrated. Fortunately, I had enough yarn in another color to finish a separate pair of mittens, but I knew my stash would be quickly coming to an end. So I decided to order some yarn online from the nearby Cotton House Store in Malaysia.

Their prices were reasonable, about half the price they would be in Canada. Although all of the wool was the Cotton House Store’s own brand, I decided to go ahead and purchase it anyways.

You can never have too much yarn. Backpacking with a Yarn Stash by Wooly Ventures.
The new addition to my yarn stash!

I ordered:

  • 6 skeins of Milk Cotton (100 g per skein) for RM 15 each ($4.92 CAD)
  • 4 skeins of Cashmere (100 g per skein) for for RM 18 each ($5.91 CAD)

Although I wasn’t as sure about the milk cotton being a good deal, I felt pretty good with my cashmere purchase. I mean, $6 CAD for a 100 g skein of 100% cashmere sounded pretty good to me. This was my first time purchasing cashmere since normally it was always too expensive in the yarn shops to afford it anyways.

It might have been too good to be true. When I received the package this morning, the cashmere didn’t feel nearly as soft to the touch as I was expecting. Granted, it was still softer than the itchiest of wools, but still felt like a material I would prefer as a toque, cardigan or mitts, and not as a sweater to be worn directly on my skin.

Cashmere Specs
Cashmere Specs. How do you know if it’s good quality cashmere?

Oh well, the important thing is that I won’t be running out of yarn anytime soon!

Also, in case you are wondering in your head: “What the heck is milk cotton?”, I came across a super informative article about milk fiber to answer your question. It’s a pretty extensive article, so if you’re not into reading the whole thing, here’s a snippet from the article.

Milk fiber is a blend of casein protein and the chemical acrylonitrile, which is used to make acrylic. It’s made using a process that is similar to rayon/viscose, but because it’s a regenerated protein fiber and not a regenerated cellulose fiber, it reacts like wool. That means that it dyes like wool and even smells like wool when burned, according to Kiplinger.

Who knew! According to the Cotton House, it’s supposed to be good to use to knit for babies, as it’s super soft.

You can never have too much yarn. Milk Fibre specs.
Milk Cotton specs from the Cotton House in Malaysia

So although my backpack is now a few pounds heavier, my heart feels lighter, as I can now knit to my heart’s content! 😉

Have you heard about using milk cotton for knitting? And how can you tell if it’s good quality cashmere if you’re buying online?

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The trials and challenges of backpacking with a very large yarn stash in Southeast Asia. by Wooly Ventures.