Wednesday, December 17, 2008

more adventures with knit picks

Knit Picks got me again. I thought I got away, but they keep pulling me back. This time it was an alpaca sampler. They offered four skeins of alpaca or alpaca blends in two different colorways-cool or warm. I chose cool and got:

Suri Dream in Gloxinia (deep purple)
Andean Silk in Merryweather (light teal)
Elegance in Aegean (dark teal)
Andean Treasure in Summer Sky (medium blue)

Enchanted as I have been by the large swatches offered by the Learn to Knit Afghan squares, and feeling like a project, I decided to make a headband/neck warmer from each skein and compare results.

I made each one 5 inches deep because I don't like narrow headbands. They look athletic, and I don't need skiing gear. I chose headbands because I figured that I'd have enough yarn for them, and also because I have finally come to the realization that I despise hats. The night look cute, but they make my head too hot, even in the winter, and they never stay on properly. Each headband is 20 inches wide to fit an average-sized 22 inch head (although mine might be smaller than average). I knit them flat, back and forth, in keeping with my hatred of circular needles. So here are the results.I think I might like the top one best. It is from Suri Dream, a bulky weight blend of suri alpaca (74%), wool (22%) and a little nylon. It is like mohair in that it is fuzzy, but it's totally non-itchy. I knit it in a simple 2x2 rib, and it took about five minutes to finish. I used a 10 1/2 US needle, which produced a gauge of 3.2 stitches per inch. I cast on 64 stitches and used about half the skein. It clings well to my head. This yarn would make a nice bathrobe type sweater for around the house or a cozy blanket. And again, it would take no time to knit. (band on top, stockinette swatch on bottom below)

The Andean Silk version is the only one I've worn. The yarn is a worsted weight of 55% alpaca, 23% silk, and 22% merino. It produced a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch in basket weave pattern on # 7 needles. I cast on 99 stitches and used the entire skein of 96 yards (a little skimpy there if you ask me).

Everything about this product is my favorite: favorite color, favorite stitch pattern (next to moss stitch), favorite yarn - so soft and luxurious. BUT. The basket weave shows up well in this yarn, but it is almost flat compared to the wool version I did for the Learn to Knit afghan. It needed no blocking. That is a clue, I think, that the yarn is stretchy. When I wore it, it was uncomfortable, tending to creep downward toward my face. Remember, I like head gear that doesn't move. I think it will make a nice neck warmer. What would I knit with this yarn? I'm not sure. I would be afraid to make a sweater that needs to hold its shape. I guess a scarf or blanket that doesn't need firm stitch definition.

Above, the unblocked stockinette swatch is on top, unblocked headband on the bottom. After Suri Dream, all of these yarns were a dream to knit in stockinette. The stitches are remarkably even without blocking. I didn't block any but one of the headbands, and I am a fanatical blocker.

To be continued....

Thanks to Anne for the last delightful post.

1 comment:

Wool Enough said...

I've knit a sweater from Andean Silk (gold cabled v-neck) and had no trouble at all with stretching. Although the cables do lie flatter than they might with wool, the sweater overall has a clingy fit. Might be partly because I used #5 needles, somewhat smaller than is usual for worsted yarn. It's definitely my favorite sweater -- soft and cozy and incredibly warm.