We recently discovered that one of our classic stand-by yarns is being discontinued. Rowan's 4-Ply Soft, one of the greatest, softest, machine-washable-est (not dryer-able, more on that later) yarns is going by the wayside in favor of everyone's new favorite--the machine washable wool, microfiber and cashmere blend yarns (read: Rowan Cashsoft 4-Ply, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby et al). It's sad to see an old friend go, and while there is a time and place for the 'cash-yarns' of the world none can out do the old standard--a 100% wool baby yarn. It is king, it will always be king. Why?
Because your mother knit her baby's things with it, and her mother before her and her mother before her. Because as Elizabeth Zimmerman told us, "wool is good for a baby." Why? Because it's wool. Because it's natural, it's warm, it's soft and it has a feeling of comfort, history and home.
As you can see, I am biased. I knit my baby his going home outfit (my own design) in 4-Ply Soft, as well as his baby Moc-A-Socks (oh so cute!) and his Penny Straker Baby Owl Sweater.
I have 3 bags of Cashmerino Baby in the stash and they have never been cracked open. Not that Cashsoft 4-Ply or Cashmerino are "bad" yarns, but they are not heirloom yarns. If I was going to knit for my own baby, something that would stand the test of time and be there for future generations, it wasn't going to be with a yarn that was part microfiber. Soft, yes. But they won't wear for 100 years. They just don't have it in them the way you did, 4-Ply Soft. For a close relative or friend, I would totally go for one of the 'cash-yarns'. It's a great yarn. It will be soft, warm and easy care. It's one thing if I shrink my baby's going home sweater (because I did, but let us never speak of it again) but if my sister had--well neither I nor she would ever forgive ourselves. As a knitter, I will miss this yarn. It was a beacon of softness, balanced with sturdy and gutsy construction and excellent stitch definition in a world of wimpy merino blends.
RIP Rowan 4-Ply Soft.
You will be dearly missed.
(If you still need a 100% wool baby yarn, may I recommend Dale Baby Ull?)