Yarn Spotlight Addition

In the fall issue of Interweave Crochet, we reviewed five new yarns, worked in both crochet and knit. This follow-up explores two laceweight yarns: Manos del Uruguay Lace (distributed by Fairmount Fibers) and Filatura di Crosa Nirvana (distributed by Tahki Stacy Charles).

For the exploration, I used the crocheted Alpine Frost Scarf by Amy O'Neill Houck (Interweave Crochet Winter 2008), available for purchase here.
For the knit swatch, I used the Spectrum Scarf, available for free download here.

For both samples, I used the same size hook (D-3/3.25 mm) and needles (3/3.25 mm). For crochet, I began with 33 stitches and worked 16 rows. For the knit, I cast on 33 stitches and worked 33 rows.

Manos del Uruguay

50 g, 439 yd
70% baby alpaca, 25% silk, 5% cashmere  
handwash cold, dry flat
color: iridessa L7805
hook: D-3 (3.25 mm)
needles: 3 (3.25 mm)
finished size crochet, before blocking: 4.25" x 3.75"
finished size crochet, after blocking: 5" x 4"
finished size knit, before blocking: 5" x 3"
finished size knit, after blocking: 5.25" x 4"

This laceweight yarn is sturdy to work with and softens up with blocking. The yummy blend of alpaca, silk and cashmere is made yummier with the space-dyed color. It is perfect for crocheting, but likes to jump off the needles prematurely. Longer needles would probably work better (I was using short double-pointeds). The denser crochet stitches make the color appear darker than in the airier knit swatch.

As you can see in the side-by-side shots here, you make more fabric with fewer rows (half as many!) in the crochet version than in the knit version. I love that.

Here is the crochet swatch alone.

The color is fabulous. It is a terrific choice for crocheting the Alpine Lace Scarf.

Here is the knit swatch alone.

Note that the original pattern for Spectrum Scarf calls for using two strands of yarn at a time, which change as you knit the scarf to create color changes. The original scarf is heavier, perfect for outerwear. But this yarn would make a very lovely lightweight fashion scarf.

Filatura di Crosa

25 g, 372 yd
100% extrafine merino superwash mercerized  
hand wash cold, dry flat
color: rust 15
hook: D-3 (3.25 mm)
needles: 3 (3.25 mm)
finished size crochet, before blocking:  3.75" x 3.5"
finished size crochet, after blocking: 4.5" x 3.5"
finished size knit, before blocking: 4.25" X 2.5"
finished size knit, after blocking: 3.75" x 3.75"

This yarn was a pleasure to both knit and crochet. It is soft to start with, which sometimes spells trouble when working with a smallish crochet hook. But it crocheted nicely and was just as nice on the knitting needles. This is a much finer laceweight than the Manos Lace, perfect for an airy shawl.

It's totally true that the knit swatch pulled in lengthwise after blocking. I measured three times. The knit lace opened up widthwise, forming a perfect square. The crochet stayed the same widthwise, but opened up lengthwise.

The mercerized superwash has a gentle halo, which makes it very difficult to photograph clearly. Here, after my second go-round, is the crocheted swatch:

You can see the gentle fluffing of the fiber after blocking even more clearly in the knit swatch:

This larger-than-lifesize view shows the plumpness of the fiber between the stitches.

This is a great yarn for a fine lace project in either knit or crochet.



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