Yarn Spotlight Addition: Fall 2011

In the Fall 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet, the Yarn Spotlight shines on six alpaca yarns. Here we review three more alpaca yarns.

Alpaca is a fine choice for people allergic to wool, because alpaca does not secrete lanolin, the substance that most wool-allergic people react to. Alpaca is denser and softer than wool, and it provides more warmth. Alpaca comes in two types: Suri, which has a soft hair that grows downward like human hair, and Huacaya, which has coarser and crimpier hair that grows outward from the skin. Huacaya alpaca includes long hairs that are picked out of the finer grades of commercial alpaca yarns.  Huacaya makes up more than 90 percent of the alpaca available. Compared to wool, alpaca fibers are longer, have fewer scales, and more tensile strength. This all adds up to a fabric that is soft, lustrous appearance, and durable. Alpaca fabric has more drape than wool, which is perfect for garments that call for added drape, such as shawls and wraps, but can pose a problem for more fitted garments. A happy medium is an alpaca/wool blend, which has the luster of alpaca tempered by the firmness of wool for a soft fabric that holds it shape.

The swatches are worked in the body stitch pattern from Simona Merchant-Dest's Lace Canopy Cardi Wrap, the cover garment on the Fall 2011 issue.  

Yarns, from left to right: Alpaca With a Twist Baby Twist, Mirasol Qina, Classic Elite Vail

Alpaca With a Twist Baby Twist

Content: 100% baby alpaca  Put-up: 8.75 oz, 250 g / 549 y, 502 m Construction: 3 ply Care: hand wash, lay flat to dry Color: 0284 brindle Hook: 7 / 4.5 mm

Baby alpaca is the finest of alpaca fibers, having the smallest micron count (micron count is a way of measuring  the diameter of the fiber; the smaller the finer). This super soft yarn, with just a whisper of strandiness, yearns to be a soft winter sweater.  And this yarn's generous 549-yarn put-up encourages this indulgence. Its slightly chubby appearance belies its light weight. Working this 100% alpaca fiber on a size 7 hook produces a fabric with drape, body, and stretch.

Perfect for an elegant sweater with drape

Mirasol Qina

Content: 80% baby alpaca, 20% bamboo Put-up: 1.76 oz, 50 g / 91 y, 83 m Construction: 3 ply Care: hand wash, lay flat to dry Color: 918 fire flames Hook: 7 / 4.5 mm

This three-ply blend of alpaca and bamboo works into a soft fabric that has drape. The bamboo lends softness, sheen and drape -but not so much that the fabric sags. The ral story here is the color: a rich blend of coppery red and brown, like a lucky penny shining in the street. Go ahead, pick it up.

Perfect for garments of all kinds

Classic Elite Vail

Content: 70% baby alpaca, 30% bamboo viscose Put-up: 1.76 oz, 50 g / 236 y, 216 m Construction: 3 ply Care: hand wash, lay flat to dry Color: 6438 chestnut Hook: D / 3.25 mm

This yarn, from Classic Elite's new Mountain Top collection, is a blend of alpaca and bamboo in their natural colors for a rich tone. It produces a fabric that is soft, with stretch and a very slight halo. This fingering-weight yarn is perfect for a shawl or fine-gauge garment; it would be really terrific in a classic style befitting its natural look.

Perfect for shawls, fine-gauge women's garments or a keepsake baby blanket or garment.

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