What do I think of knitting with Patons Diploma Gold Aran? Well, yes and no and mainly no. It is perfect for this project - for one thing, it belongs to the pattern, so I don't have to struggle with substitution maths and all that jazz. It also promises to wash like a dream, in a machine, and even tumble dry if you like. This is perfect for the recipient. Hand washing would be too much for m-i-l, so it has to be machine washable. The yarn is made from 55% wool, 25% acrylic and 20% nylon. There are 164M/180 yards per 100g ball, and it was just over £4 per ball.
My feeling is that the reason I'm not keen on Patons Diploma Aran Gold is that it has been treated to within an inch of its life in order to be so durable, so it's got none of the features that make wool so lovely to knit with. It is flat, dead, almost like cotton to handle. Having said that, I have enjoyed knitting with springy acrylics such as the first shrug was made from, so it's not so much the fibre it's made from as the treatment to toughen it that's probably caused the problem. The other thing I don't like is how splitty it is! Because there is no spring in the yarn, and all the fibres of each ply of the three are perfectly smooth, if you do split a stitch then it goes into a horrid fluff which will not mend. As soon as you drop a stitch or fumble, the yarn splits. Once split, it's messy for ever. Not good for a hamfisted knitter like me.
The yarn comes in four colours, so I'm told, I haven't seen the others, but you can get it in dark blue, cherry, cream and the one above, neutral. In the photo in the magazine, it looked to be a kind of yellow wheat neutral, but when it arrived it looked more like the photo above, a kind of pink stone neutral. I hope m-i-l likes the colour.
Because I needed a machine washable garment, and it went with the pattern, then Diploma Gold is good for this project, but I wouldn't buy it again. If the recipient could manage hand washing, then I'd get some natural Aran from a small farm in the isles, which I saw on the Internet. If it had to be tough, I'd get Robin or something like that - Aldi have huge balls of Aran sometimes as well.