Friday, August 07, 2009

Rowan Alpaca Cotton

I knew we had to have this yarn

as soon as I saw it, which completely baffled Courtney and Kate. When all the Rowan yarns arrived, before it even came out of the box, I think I heard Jenna say "Alpaca and cotton? Isn't that the most ridiculous fiber combination ever?"

Yes, it's 72% alpaca and 28% cotton. Yes, it's fuzzy/shaggy. It does shed while you knit it (ask me how I know). And I still say: it's fantastic. Here's why:

It's light and lofty; it knits at a pretty quick gauge (4 sts per inch, US #8), but it isn't bulky at all. It looks fuzzy like a brushed mohair, but it's much lower pile (so it doesn't add visual bulk to your silhouette), and it doesn't itch (because the fuzz is from alpaca, not mohair). It's nowhere near as warm as 100% alpaca would be (because of the cotton).

To look at it another way, this skein has 148 yds and weighs 50g. Let's compare it to some other yarns that knit at 4 sts per inch: Manos Wool Clasica (and you sure won't catch me dissin' Manos) comes in a 100g skein, but if it were 50g, it would have 69 yds -- less than half. Reynolds' Andean Alpaca Regal would have 55. Even a brushed mohair like Classic Elite's La Gran has only 90. And an all-cotton yarn like Schaefer Laurel would be 88.

Compared to all of those yarns, a ball of Alpaca Cotton will go much farther. This has the potential to make it quite cost-effective, but what I want to point out now is that your finished garment will weigh about half what it would if you made it in any of those other yarns.

What particular applications do I imagine for this yarn? I imagine it for ME. I am (for any of you who haven't seen me recently) significantly overweight. I'm too warm more often than I'm too cold, I don't need any yarn that makes me look any bigger than I am, and my current responsibilities preclude knitting myself a sweater in a small gauge. If this description fits you as well, you might want to consider one of these:

All are sized up to 50" finished bust circumference, by the way -- that's a lot of knitters who won't need to rewrite the patterns.

But don't think this yarn is only for those who wear larger sizes. If you like a warm, cuddly sweater without the itch, check this:

And if you want something a little dramatic for fall-into-winter, try this:

In short, not only do I like the yarn, I think this collection does an unparalleled job of matching the designs to the yarn's inherent qualities.

1 comment:

shamroxann said...

that might be interesting to look at as far as mens garments as well (although maybe a bit to fluffy?) my boy loves the feeling of my alpaca projects, but runs to hot to wear alpaca for much more than a scarf. hmmmm...