View Full Version : a bad experience with WOTA --it's pilling!!

02-06-2006, 05:40 PM
My Wool of the Andes sweater is pilling like crazy :(

It was noticable within a week. I've trimmed off the pills twice, and it needs it again, and it's only been a month!

I've used WOTA for felting projects and loved it for that, but this is my first sweater in it. I'm not pleased to see my pretty hard work turning into a ratty old looking sweater in such a short time! :verysad:
Have others had better success with it?

I'm delighted to have knit a sweater for $20, but the pilling is going to drive me mad! I still think it's a great yarn for anything felted, it's truly fantastic for felting. But I can't say I'm pleased with its use as a sweater. If anyone's had better luck with it not pilling, speak up. The yarn I used was purchased in the Summer, maybe I got a bad batch?

If any of you have any favorite sweater yarns that stand up to pilling very well, please list them here. My next sweater will likely be in Web's Sugarloaf (a low-cost merino wool and microfiber blend) which has stood up well in a couple of projects I've done recently, and I was able to machine wash and dry a swatch successfully. I'd love to hear other favorite yarns.

02-06-2006, 05:46 PM
the only things I've knitted with WOTA that weren't felted, are some hats I've done, and a pair of socks for a friend of mine. They have pilled a small bit, but nowhere near the amount your sweater is. One of the hats hasn't pilled at all. The yarn for these was bought in either September or October. I'm guessing I just got lucky.

02-06-2006, 05:59 PM
Sorry to hear about your sweater, Amy. :( I have a hat made from WOTA that I wear every day when I take the dog for a walk. It doesn't have any pilling at all, but I don't think a hat gets the same kind of wear as a sweater so it might not be a good indicator. I will be interested to hear other responses because I love WOTA.

02-06-2006, 06:15 PM
Sorry about your sweater Amy.... all that hard work and then to have the yarn not perform well.

My WOTA experience wasn't great either. I used it to make a felted bag...and the dark blue color ran on to the other parts of the bag !!

It has been a disappointment to me.

02-06-2006, 07:03 PM
Aww Amy sorry to hear about the sweater :heart: :(

I havn't used WOTA yet, or even used anything close to it. I hope you can find a wool yarn that won't pill on you. :heart:

02-06-2006, 08:34 PM
OHHH NOOOOOO! And, I can testify that sweater is GORGEOUS!! :(

Ive only used WOTA for felting, so Im sorry I cant help ya....

02-06-2006, 09:37 PM
Oh my gosh, that really is a shame. You must be dismayed. I wonder if the nice folks at Knit Picks would somehow give you a refund or a credit if you sent them this photo?
Thanks, though, for giving the rest of us a heads-up (at your expense) so we can avoid using that particular wool for sweaters. :crying:

Jan in CA
02-06-2006, 09:44 PM
Oh no! That's just awful, Amy! I know how much work had to go into that beautifuls sweater!

I agree that a hat isn't a good indicator of pilling. It needs to be something that gets rubbed and brushed against other things a lot..which brings me to my felted purse. Because it's a shoulder bag it rubs against my side and hip and YES it is pilling even though it's felted. :evil:

I'm too new at this to know much about yarns, but I'll be watching what others say.

02-06-2006, 09:51 PM
I haven't gone with WOTA for a sweater because I was afraid that there was a reason it was so inexpensive. I guess this is evidence of that. I've made, and washed, and worn, sweaters from different types of wool, and pilling has never been a problem. The only time I've had a bit of pilling has been with shetland wool, and then only a bit the first time I wore it, only on the lower arms, because it is so unprocessed.

Even the sweaters I've made with Encore have only gotten a couple of pills on the forearms--certainly nothing like you're experiencing.

02-06-2006, 09:51 PM
It pills even after felting, Jan?! :shock: Oh that's just great.

Well, WOTA is turning into a false economy! I was looking forward to knitting Cinxia (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall05/PATTcinxia.html) in WOTA avocado....Stink!!! :evil:

Jan in CA
02-06-2006, 09:54 PM
It pills even after felting, Jan?! :shock: Oh that's just great.

Yep! Not as bad as the sweater of course, but it's still annoying. I will post a pic later or tomorrow.

02-06-2006, 11:43 PM
I finished a WOTA sweater last summer and it hasn't piled at all, BUT I haven't seamed it together and worn it either. sigh. I guess I need to do that, wear it, and report back.


02-07-2006, 12:40 AM
I used it for a hat and it hasn't pilled, but like the others have said it doesn't get the same kind of wear as a sweater. I'm glad I know about the pilling though for whenever I try to make a sweater.

02-07-2006, 01:00 AM
Oh, NO! That pilling is really bad, Amy, for having used it just for a week. That is so sad, it looks like such a pretty sweater!

Although, I have to say Manos pills really badly too. And, it is such a nice and beautiful wool too, and so freaking expensive. But it pills pretty badly.

02-07-2006, 09:44 AM
So sorry about your sweater Amy. Like others I have only used WOTA for felted. A yoga bag and a dog cape.

Can you tell me more about the merino/microfiber blend? I would love to try some of this because it sounds so soft and comfy. I was worried about it pilling though due to the microfiber content. The Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (with microfiber) has had some negative reviews due to pilling.


02-07-2006, 10:17 AM
Sorry to hear about the sweater Amy!

I too have only used it for felting so no help here.

02-07-2006, 10:49 AM
Thanks for posting about this Amy--I was about to use this for a shawl!

I'm so sorry to hear about your sweater--it's so beautiful!

02-07-2006, 11:57 AM
Is it within wool's nature to pill? If not, what does cause pilling? Is there some kind of marker in the yarn itself that we might look for? :??

I wish I'd taken some kind of textiles class in college! Fiberology 101!

02-07-2006, 12:02 PM
Poor Amy! And such a lovely sweater! I hope this doesn't put people off to WOTA now :shock:

02-07-2006, 12:08 PM
I wouldnt think it would put people off of using it for FELTING....but, yeah, I dont think its a good choice for a garment. Its too scratchy, anyway.

02-07-2006, 12:42 PM
Amy's sweater is surprisingly soft; maybe she got a soft batch of WOTA, too!

Lady M
02-07-2006, 02:28 PM
I am so glad that you posted this Amy.

I have been knitting my KAL sweater with WOTA in asparagus and while I have been knitting I have noticed my sweater balling up as I work in the round. As you know this is a huge sweater and I have already put a lot of knitting into it , but from what yours looks like and what mine is already doing. I think I will frog it all. I hate to put 4 months into making a 5x sweater thats 34 inches long only to have it to look like crap. I have 26 skines of this stuff. If it felts good I will make clogs and booga bags for my family for christmas with it by working it up with other colors.

Does this stuff Felt well ? :thinking:


Jan in CA
02-07-2006, 02:37 PM
Does this stuff Felt well ? :thinking:


It felts wonderfully! ;)

02-07-2006, 02:55 PM
Actually, i was surpried that WOTA would be used for a sweater at all--it seems so itchy. I made my nephew's hat out of WOTA and there hasn't been any problems, however it is kind of "fuzzy" now that he's been wearing it a while.

Lady M
02-07-2006, 03:00 PM
I used it Hilde because it was cheap and this was my first sweater.
I guess you get what you pay for.

That Fuzzyness is what I was describing and after a while it pills and looks old and used. Lesson learned........

I am knew to knitting so what is a good basic sweater yarn that will wear well ?
I am still starting another sweater.......with what yarn I don't have a clue


02-07-2006, 09:07 PM
Is it within wool's nature to pill? If not, what does cause pilling? Is there some kind of marker in the yarn itself that we might look for? :??

I wish I'd taken some kind of textiles class in college! Fiberology 101!

Yeah, unfortunately, all wool pills. Some worse than others, though. Some of the really, super yummy, super soft wools (like some lucious merinos) pill worst of all, just because they *are* so soft and almost delicate. However, I have worked with some merinos that don't pill nearly as much as others, though they are still fantastically, wonderfully delicious! :D

I am really surprised to see that WOTA pills that badly. I've always compared it to Cascade 220, and that doesn't seem to pill like that (for me, anyway).

So sorry about your sweater, Amy! It looks like the work is goregeous, too! Grrrr. :rollseyes:

02-08-2006, 12:01 AM
Amy, so sorry about your sweater! :shock:

I haven't tried WOTA, but have been told that all softly spun wool is more likely to pill, as Darhain mentioned. I have used Cascade 220 a couple of times; it is soft and does pill fairly readily in high wear areas (under the arms), but nothing like Amy's sweater.

02-08-2006, 12:53 AM
Yeah, the looser/plusher the spin, the more the pilling factor. But there's also a quality factor in the wool itself and the processing of it. Darhain, I'm curious to hear what the merino's you've had success with are, the ones that didn't pill nearly as much.

I spoke with a woman today as a local spinning mill, to get some definitive answers on the pilling thing. She confirmed what I suspected as a spinner...that it can be caused by a lot of things, but essentially it boils down to two categories: 1) the looseness of the spin, and 2) short fibers in the wool that work their way out.

The looseness is something you just need to be aware of. Wools like Lambs Pride, which we love because of their plush, softly spun quality, will pill more because they're not spun tightly in a way that holds the wool in place, so even long fibers can work their way out into balls. Lamb's Pride is extremely succeptible because it's both loose and single-ply. More plies will help prevent pilling. A tighter spin will also really hold the yarn in place and prevent pilling.

Shorter fibers is something else, that can come from many things. Very often it comes from the shearing when the clippers pass twice over the same area (this creates little bits which spinners call "slubs," ideally that stuff will be sorted out before the wool is processed). It can also come from sheep that are poorly fed or have been sick, or from chemicals that are used in processing the wool, all of which can cause the fiber to break, creating shorter strands that pill more readily. These things seem to speak of poor quality in the wool and/or processing. Mind you, no wool will be perfect, there's always going to be some shorter fibers here and there, but it shouldn't create so much pilling that it's a major problem.

I think in the case of my WOTA, it's both factors. It's 4-ply yarn, so you'd think it would hold together well, but the individual plys are very loosely spun, which is apparently lending itself heartily to the pilling of too many short fibers in the mix.

I'm not so heart broken as I might sound, I did enjoy the knitting, even if the end product is a let-down. I just wanted to post it to let you all know, since I know how appealing the price is for a sweater! LadyM, I'm sorry to hear about your sweater! That's a lot of knitting! *HUGS*

02-08-2006, 01:04 AM
:doh: I wish I knew about all this pilling and ply information before starting a sweater in Lamb's Pride...Maybe I should be glad it's been neglected!

02-08-2006, 07:52 AM
Aw, and I was hoping to use Lamb's Pride for a sweater...it's soooo cushy! Drat. :(

Thanks for all of the info, Amy--great investigative work! :thumbsup:

02-08-2006, 09:11 AM
Yeah, the looser/plusher the spin, the more the pilling factor. But there's also a quality factor in the wool itself and the processing of it. Darhain, I'm curious to hear what the merino's you've had success with are, the ones that didn't pill nearly as much.

Not to sound like a broken record, as I've been touting these in other threads as well, but Blackberry Ridge merino ( http://www.blackberry-ridge.com ) is very soft and doesn't pill much. I've made pants for my DD with it, and I think I've maybe shaved them twice since the beginning of October. (She wears the pants often and is your typical two-year-old, so she's pretty active in them.) It's a minimally processed yarn, as well. I swear you wouldn't even know it's wool when you're working with it -- it feels like a cotton chenile, almost.

Another merino that I love is Morehouse merino ( www.morehousefarm.com ) . It pills a bit more than the Blackberry Ridge, but is still much better than most other merinos I've worked with. Again, a minimally processed yarn, so maybe that has something to do with it? When DD was still in diapers, she had several soakers and soaker pants/capris in this yarn, and they held up very, very well!

Really, try the Blackberry Ridge, Amy! It's pricey, but it is SO, SO lovely!

Lady M
02-08-2006, 10:29 AM
It's the life of a Fiber Artist Amy.......

Knit a while :XX: , then frog a while......lol

I hope in time that I will learn what yarns are for what projects and
the wear factor on it.

In the meantime, I will just use my WOTA yarn for felting projects and there's no harm, I was thinking that it was going to be very scratchy anyway.

Plus it gives me a good excuse to shop for more plush Yarn :thumbsup: Who in their right mind could complain about that :lol: .......

On a even better note.. While knitting this sweater, I have learned that I can keep gauge :XX: ........ what could be better that that.


02-09-2006, 10:31 AM
Oh dear. That is such a shame! Have you sent that photo to Knit Picks?

I am alarmed because tomorrow I am going to start knitting a vest using WOTA for the Knitting Olympics. Before this I've used WOTA only for accessories, and haven't had any pilling problems (I also don't find it to be scratchy). But, as others have said, a hat doesn't get the wear that a sweater does.

Thanks for sharing this. It's true, all wool does pill, but this looks excessive.

02-09-2006, 12:21 PM
Thanks for all that info about why yarns pill so much Amy, I know that will be something I'll be thinking about when I'm ready to attempt making a sweater!

02-09-2006, 12:36 PM
So what merinos have you guys used that don't pill..preferably cheaper ones??

02-09-2006, 04:54 PM
I find it interesting though that when you look at WOTA on the Knitpicks site, a number of the 'suggested projects for this yarn' are clothing garments.

02-10-2006, 12:20 AM
I'm still miffed that they call it a worsted weight yarn when it is at LEAST a sport weight, more than likely less than that.

Glad to have the info...and sorry to all of you who had a stinky project. :(

02-10-2006, 05:41 AM
I just knitted some longies with Malabrigo, and it's already pilling. After 2 days! Truth be told, I haven't lanolized it, which might well make a difference. And honestly, I don't care THAT much about the pilling, because Miriam, my baby, is just not going to give a hoot about anything but cuddling warmth.

I've purchased wool from 100purewool on eBay. Anyone have experience with the pilling factor on that yarn? I might just try Blackberry Ridge and Morehouse, though their prices are double that of Malabrigo in terms of pennies per yard.