Wool Yarn Louet Gems Opal Sport Weight Yarn Review Louet Gems Opal Yarn Review

Louet Gems Opal Yarn Review

Louet Gems Opal is a discontinued yarn, but I still see it selling often enough on eBay and Etsy . For that reason, I believe it is still worthwhile to write a yarn review. You’ll often see Opal mixed in with regular search results for Louet Gems. The more antiquated looking label is pretty clear. It’s not the same Gems! Find links for patterns and yarn at the bottom of this post!

Gems Opal is a superwash wool yarn, specially designed to handle machine washing and drying. Unlike it’s successor, Gems Sport (and Worsted, and Fingering) this yarn is only a regular wool yarn, not a merino yarn. Presuming my information is correct, I think this is main difference between the two. I believe the material difference is the primary reason I am on the fence about this yarn. Gems Opal also appears to be a slightly lighter weight than the modern Gems yarn.

Yarn Workability

Knitting with Gems Opal isn’t amazing, but I can’t pick out anything bad about the experience either. Opal yarn does not split. It doesn’t have a large number of joins, and it’s overall a quality yarn. Based off of how easy the yarn is to work with, I would generally consider repurchasing.

Yarn Wearability

Unlike modern Louet Gems Sport, Opal definitely has more of a prick that can be felt when worn against the skin. I hadn’t even considered testing this aspect before beginning a sweater, assuming it would be exactly like the Gems Sport weight I’d already tried. When I began wearing the “On the Beach” sweater that I finished , I was surprised to find that I did get a bit itchy. It wasn’t unbearable, but I did notice it.

on the beach pullover pattern by Isabell Kraemer knit by pirateforhire
pirateforhire’s On the Beach Pullover knit in Louet Gems Opal

At this point I will insert a disclaimer that I have two genetic variants that cause me to not break down histamine in my food. If you have allergies, you may be familiar with histamine; it’s released by the body in response inflammation, allergies and injuries. Histamine is part of what causes you to start sneezing or itching in response to a substance you may be allergic to. This means that if I’m eating too many of the wrong foods, I am more likely to feel itchy when wearing certain clothes. Even if those clothes might not normally make me itch at all.

It took me some time to decide if my On the Beach sweater was making me itch because of the yarn or my diet making me overly sensitive. I am quite confident now that it is the yarn, presumably because of the difference in wool vs merino wool. Merino wool fibers are finer and much less likely to cause itching sensations.

Needless to say I will likely be wearing my On the Beach sweater as a layer now. Other than the itch factor, Gems Opal is great to wear as it’s very breathable.

Yarn Durability

Finally, Gems Opal yarn seems durable thus far. I snagged the sleeve quite badly on my foster dog’s kennel on day when I was feeding him. He gets so worked up about meal time; we had a bit of a collision and my sweater was collateral damage. The snag was terrible, pulling out 10-12 inches of  yarn and scrunching up the entire sleeve. Fortunately I was able to work the yarn back in. You can’t even tell my sweater was in an accident!

on the beach pullover sleeve in louet gems opal
Sleeve closeup of the On the Beach Sweater knit in Louet Gems Opal.

I may need a few more months to tell you how well my sweater holds up after machine drying. But so far Opal is passing the general wear and tear test.

Final Notes

The only final note I have on Louet Gems Opal is that the ply seems to cause the stitches to lean to one side. It looks a little uneven in stockinette stitch. I haven’t dissected the yarn to see exactly how many plies there are (if anyone is interested, I will). The modern Gems yarn is known for it’s stitch definition so perhaps it’s predecessor is also better suited to lace or cables than plain old stockinette.

To summarize, I would not repurchase Louet Gems Opal. I would only use it on a project where the slightest roughness or prick would not matter. And like Alton Brown, I don’t believe in uni-taskers. I am thinking of using up my remaining yarn for a pair of socks, as I think this would be an appropriate use. Another appropriate use for this yarn would be an oversized pullover for layering. Although it would end up being a lighter weight layer than one might prefer, it’s a good application.

Featured in this Post

lina hat Louet Gems Sport
Cabled Hat Lina
in Louet Gems Sport

We wouldn’t buy Louet Gems Opal. But we love Louet Gems Sport!

Don’t miss the amazing On the Beach sweater pattern, available for FREE at Lovecrafts. You can also find the Lina Hat pattern for free on Ravelry.