More Than One Alpaca- Suri Yarn

Several years ago I learned to spin yarn, indirectly this lead to my now working in crochet. However I digress, during my time spinning I visited a local alpaca farm that sold fibers for spinning. The farm was filled with those cute little teddy bear like animals that I learned were a breed called Huacaya. I only thought that these were the standard alpaca, until the farm owner showed me a fleece of another breed of alpaca, one known as Suri.

The Suri fleece was smooth and silky and in ringlets like a young Shirley Temple. It only resembled the Huacaya in size and shape…the same body but very different fleeces. I was mesmerized by the Suri, probably because it is not commonly found in the United States, and I definitely get drawn to something a bit out of the ordinary.

Researching a bit about these different breeds I learned that almost all alpaca yarns found are created from Huacaya fleece. Huacaya is a much more common breed in the US, and the yarn is warm and soft, really an affordable luxury. The Suri is much less common, and until recently I had not found a commercially available yarn made of this fleece.

At a trade show this summer I found Salt River Mills, Simply Suri yarn. I admit it drew me in. I was fascinated to find a Suri yarn, it is produced by the North American Suri Company that purchases fleeces from breeders across North America and is helping to create a market for this fiber.

I have been playing with a skein lately and have enjoyed how it works up in the hand. I have been using Simply Suri, an 85% Suri, 15% wool yarn. It is very common for all alpaca yarns to have a blend with wool, as wool adds a bit of structural integrity to the yarn that alpaca by itself does not have.

I have found the yarn soft and smooth, with a nice sheen that makes me think of a silk blend. It is light and airy, but it is easy to feel that it is warm as well. It has nice drape and stitch definition. It is a three ply yarn with a soft twist, that lends itself to standard stitches, however I would not personally try to much textual stitches, like cables or popcorns as the yarn does not seem strong enough to give it a bold definition. I am currently envisioning a shawl….I hope to have the pattern available soon….but this yarn will definitely have me playing with it more in the future.

 

Soxy Lady Can Take You Places

It is easy to shy away from yarns that have “Sock” anywhere in its name, or on its label, after all a few crocheters work up socks, but not most. However the name really should not place a limit on its possibilities.

Sock yarn is typically a lighter weight, either a fine or lace weight and sometimes even a light weight. By weight I am meaning the diameter of the strand, the smaller the diameter the skinnier the yarn, the smaller the weight. Some yarns will identify this on a numbering system, in which case sock yarn can range from a number 1-3, with a number 2 being the most common.

Diamond Luxury Soxy Lady www.lindadeancrochet.com

Diamond Luxury Soxy Lady yarn

I have been playing with Diamond Luxury Soxy Lady, which is comprised of 60% superwash wool, 20% alpaca, and 20% nylon, with a generous yardage of 437yrd/400m/100g per hank. It is soft in the hand and creates a nice stitch definition. It has a bit of springiness yet not enough to compete with the openness of lace work.

There can be a benefit to working with a sock yarn, especially if you are not use to using “luxury” yarns. One of the most obvious benefits is price. Price per yarn makes this a very economical value. In some cases you can make a complete shawl from a hank or two of sock yarn, and feel like you have created something of heirloom quality.

Another benefit is that it is usually created with some durable fibers. Often the fibers will be machine washable, such as superwashed or boiled wools, making lit more family friendly and easy to care for. It usually contains a filament that gives added strength to the overall yarn construction and use, such as silk, nylon, or some polyesters. This fibers are strong and wear well, and when you ideally make socks you do not want to replace the heels all that often. So the yarn is designed to wear better and hold up longer.

Often the color variety is vast and the selection of yarn is great. Smaller yarn companies offer a sock weight yarn, and fun colors are always available. Some have short color repeats, some have long color repeats, some have muted tones, and others are vibrant. There really is a lot of selection.

The Soxy Lady by Diamond Luxury fit all the above characteristics, and I can see great possibilities for it in the future.

Vermont- A Nice Yarn

It seems like I am always saying that not all yarn is created equal….there is really so much that subtly goes into making yarn that it creates a large difference in how it works up in your final project. Tahki Yarns Vermont is a yarn that has some great quality that easily adds a little luxury to your project.

It is comprised of 50% Merino Wool and 50% Superfine Alpaca, since both of these fibers are have a small micron count (the diameter measurement of the individual fiber) this is a really soft yarn. The property of both of these fibers is one of working well to retain heat, so this yarn is warm. It also has a nice soft loft to it, allowing it to trap air, resulting in warmth as well. Even listed as a worsted weight, this yarn seems to be on the light side, but does work up well with 5-6mm hooks and needles.

Vermont by Tahki yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Tahki yarns, Vermont

This is an eight ply yarn, meaning it has eight individual strands that are spun together. This creates a nice and round yarn. That might sound odd, but when you ply strands of yarn together the actually shape is not perfectly round. Imagine twisting two ropes together, there are spaces where the ropes touch that prevent it from being a complete circle. So the higher the number of ropes the more of this gap that is filled in, making a more round yarn.

Typically the rounder a yarn the better it can highlight a stitches definition, that is true with Vermont. This yarn has a nice definition, the only distraction from the stitch itself is the marbled color of the yarn. All color options for this yarn look like natural colors, and are worked together in a manner that is reminiscent of tweed, but a bit more consistent. This makes for a very gender neutral color scheme, allowing it to be perfect for an item accepted my many.

Vermont by Tahki Yarn www.lindadeancrochet.com

Vermont by Tahki yarn

The ball size is not that generous, on 93 yrds/85m per 1.75oz/50g, so one ball could probably complete a hat, but any other project would need to have a few more. Overall though, a very nice yarn, that will create a very treasured item. Due to the size I feel that this is a yarn best suited for accessories, a nice hat, gloves (fingerless or otherwise), or maybe a scarf. I could make a nice sweater, but the yardage needed would require many balls and might be price prohibitive.

Arya Ebruil Yarn Has Some Definite Possibilities

ScannedImageYarns with only a single twist can create a unique stitch that is well defined and full, but there can be some draw backs. I experienced these with a new yarn, Nako Arya Ebruil.

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Nako Arya Ebruil yarn

The yarn has beautiful colorways, with long gradient color, so long that it maybe that only the beginning and end use of the skein will share the same tones. It is lovely lace to superfine weight yarn comprised of 80% Acrylic, 10% wool, and 10% Alpaca, so it is not only durable, but has a little extra warmth. The feel is quite soft, and the single strand has a nice twist.

So what is a single strand? Well yarn is usually made up of multiple strands of twisted fiber that are plied together, meaning they twisted together in the opposite direction than they were originally created, it is this tension that creates a study yarn. A single simply means that it is only one, being the initial twist of the fiber, there is no plying with others to create a tension. This does cause some definite positives as it creates a nicely defined stitch, and can easily highlight various stitch work, but there is a drawback, it tends to pill, and is not a yarn that you want to rip back often as it usually snags on itself. This is due to the fact that the individual fibers are not as securely “locked” into the yarn structure and can break free of the twist. All of these characteristics are present in this yarn.

That being said, it still has a nice drape and feel that encourage me to put it to use. I can see where this yarn would lend itself very nicely to a wrap of shawl, possibly even a garment (I would suggest sleeveless, to avoid underarm pilling).

Another Crochet Journey, New Projects, New Inspirations

ScannedImageOne of the things that I really enjoy about crochet is that it has so many possibilities. When I began crocheting I created scarves and Barbie dresses, then I worked afghans….many, many afghans. I really didn’t even begin to make hats for several years as I was a little intimidated with working in the round and the working it straight, I was fine with the flat circle, but the contours of a hat use to intimidate me. I think I may have made my first sweater before my first hat, not much before, but before. When I realized that I was just creating fabric garments became my new go to, (and I include shawls in my garment category, as it took me a long time to place a shawl in my personal wardrobe).

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BBD (Baby Brown Dog)

Looking back on my time stitching I can see certain trends, however I never really got into the trend of doilies or toy making. However, I find myself taking inspiration from the work of classic thread doilies and applying it to some of my current designs and at the prompting for some of my crochet students I have been investigating some Amigurumi.

In playing with the techniques used to create toys, I have made up a little puppy. BBD (Baby Brown Dog as it is affectionately referred to in my home), is created with 2 skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK yarn, so it is really quite soft and cuddly. This stitches used are simply single crochet, with the only challenge being the Magic Loop beginning (that can be substituted if desired with alternative circle beginnings). Simple increases and decrease are worked for the overall shaping. The paws have a little special touch of having nickels added to give a little weight to the legs so that they always want to hang downward (so it can be recognized as a 20¢ puppy).

I may not be someone that creates things like this often, but I will admit, this little dog has gotten to me, and even I enjoy cuddling with it. Sometimes working on things outside your everyday comfort zone can inspire new ideas, BBD already has me things…I wonder where this journey might take me.

If you would like to take a journey with BBD you can find it on Ravelry and Craftsy for only $5.50 US.