This is my first attempt at a yarn review, so please excuse any clumsiness on my part, and let me know what I can do to make this more useful to you.
This is the first attempt to use the yarn I mentioned in my post about the Local Yarn Store. Here are my thoughts on it so far.
First of all, I usually buy yarn which is already in a convenient form. This is only the second time I've had to wind a hank of yarn into a ball in order to use it. This took a long time, and ended up with a very large ball (fortunately I have a very patient and loving 10 year old, who was willing to act as my swift!). At some point in my future, a ball winder will undoubtedly become necessary.
Then, in my eagerness to do it 'right', I went ahead and swatched. I started off with size 11 needles (remember the package called for 10 1/2). I really wasn't satisfied with that, so I frogged the whole thing and jumped right down to size 9 (my largest circulars). I really like the look of the yarn at this tension. I think it will make a beautiful hat. At this point, the gauge was 16st/4", which works for the pattern that I'm using. I washed my swatch gently by hand, with Woolite, set it out to dry, and ironed it. Yup, still 4 st/inch, so it's good to go.
My biggest concern with this is that the hat will be a donation. It needs to be reasonably easy to care for, and wool, unfortunately, is titchier than synthetics. I think that, since it's a hat it won't need to be washed that often. Also, I'm giving it to a half-way house, not a homeless shelter, so I *know* the recipient will have access to facilities to care for it properly.
I *love* the feel of this yarn. It's light weight and soft, no scratchiness at all, and the color is rich and deep. I don't like the slight tendency to 'shed', and it's a bit light weight for a sweater, I would think. Still no explanation of why the name Eco, and whether this actually is organic or not. I wish we had 'Fair Trade' certification for yarn in the States.