“Hand” is an elusive, idiosyncratic when it comes to yarn. I like to borrow a few terms from the culinary world to explain what hand means–it is similar to the multi-sensory descriptors of “mouthfeel” and Japanese concept “umami”. The only way to develop your conception of hand is to head to your local yarn shop and revert to a childlike state!
A yarn might feel squeaky, crunchy, fluffy or slick. Knitting with it might be a pleasure or a trial–it all has to do with the combination of fibers, the twist and the amount of processing it has gone through from sheep to shelf. I’ve noticed that the combination of a high twist, super-smooth alpaca and bouncy wool in Cuzco make my knitting go REALLY quickly. For me it has a sponge-like hand.
When Norah says ‘dry’ I immediately think of an unmercerized cotton or a starchy linen, maybe something like Love It or Linen Jeans. Words used to describe these yarns are ‘cool, matte, well-worn tee, stonewashed jeans’. A yarn with a dry hand is great to knit with in the summer and will create crisp, comfortable garments that aren’t overly soft or fuzzy–like Norah said, perfect for menswear and really anyone who wants a no-fuss casual garment.
Thinking about Pure Merino Heather has just made me SUPER WISTFUL for my dream wardrobe that I’ll never have time to knit, Urban Layers from NG v1 …SIGH…one day I will knit a Kaari and never take it off!