April Yarn of the Month

The Alpaca Yarn Company has launched a new program, and will be introducing a Limited Edition YARN OF THE MONTH!  The first yarn is from the Suri Elegance yarn line and is called “Curiosity Cabinet”.  It is a beautiful yarn with deep, rich tones!

Suri Elegance Yarn of the Month

Suri Elegance is an elegant, lustrous, lace-weight yarn made of 100% Suri Alpaca. Each 3.5 ounce (100g) skein has approximately 875 yards and is perfect for lace projects.  The manufacturer’s suggested gauge for lace knitting is 7 stitches per inch using US#3 (3.25 mm) needles.

The Suri Alpaca is the rarer of the two types of alpacas. A suri in full fleece is absolutely breathtaking, with its locks of fiber blowing in the breeze. Draping locks are what characterize these elegant animals. The fiber grows vertically and hangs down their sides. It is straight and has a slick, silky feel.  It has a high degree of sheen, often referred to as luster.

The alpaca pictured above is a Grand Champion named Matterhorn and he resides at our farm!

If you order Curiosity Cabinet during the month of April, you will receive a FREE downloadable pattern of either Bouvardia (knitting pattern) or Mithril (crochet pattern).  Just send me an email and let me know which one you’d like!

Helpful TIPS on knitting lace can be found here:

Majoring in Lace: Introduction

Majoring in Lace – Part II

Hat Crochet Pattern

I just finished another project with coordinating yarns of different colors and weights!

Alpaca Hat

For this hat, I used three different Alpaca Yarn Company yarns, available online or here at the farm.   The yarns I used were Snuggle in Seafoam, Swizzle in Peacock , and Paca de Seda in Black.

Snuggle Yarn - Seafoam

Snuggle Yarn

Swizzle Alpaca Yarn

 As I’m crocheting, I usually try the hat on periodically to be sure it is fitting.  We all crochet at different tensions.  Switching back and forth from one weight yarn to another can cause a hat to end up too big or too small, if you stick to the pattern exactly.  So, use the pattern as your guide, stay flexible, and add or subtract double crochets as needed.

Alpaca Hat

If you would feel better measuring as you go, keep in mind that knitted or crocheted hats should be made about 1- 1 1/2″ smaller around than the head circumference, as the hats should stretch and sizes are not an exact science!

To find out the correct way to measure your head, click Standard Body Measurements/Sizing.

 The pattern follows.  If you decide to use different yarns, feel free to alternate as desired!

Loving Georgia Lee Tyler

by  Christine Marie Way Tyler & John Wesley Tyler

Hook – G if you crochet loose, H if you crochet tight.

— CH 2 always counts as 1 DC. (or CH 3, which ever you usually like to use)

CH 4 or 5 (which ever you usually like to use to make a ring). SL ST in first ST to form a ring.

Round 1 – CH 2, 11 DC in ring. SL ST in top of CH 2. (12 DC)

Round 2 – CH 2, DC in the same ST. 2 DC in each ST around. SL ST in top of CH 2. (24 DC)

Round 3 – CH 2, *2 DC in next ST, DC in next ST*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2. (36 DC)

Round 4 – CH 2, DC in next ST. *2 DC in next ST, DC in next 2 ST*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2. (48 DC)

Round 5 – CH 2, DC in next 2 ST. *2 DC in next ST, DC in next 3 ST*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2. (60 DC)

If making child sized cap use fewer “2 DC in next ST” in this round or skip this round.

If making large adult cap repeat this round, or just add a few “2 DC” in another round of DC.

If making cap with 3 ply yarn for adult sized cap, add more rounds of increases.

Round 6 – *CH 2, skip 1 DC, SC in next DC*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2.

Round 7 – SL ST into CH, CH 2, DC in same CH 2 space, *2 DC in each CH 2 space around*. SL ST in top of CH 2.

Round 8 – CH 2, skip the first 2 DC, SC in space between 2ND & 3RD DC, *CH 2, skip 2 DC, SC in space between DC’S of previous round*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2.

Repeat rounds 7 & 8 until cap is the length that you want, ending with either round. Finish off.

Alternate ending round – CH 1 & either SC OR HDC around. SL ST in top of CH 1. Finish off.

Alpaca Hat and Texting Mittens

One skein of each of the yarns mentioned was enough to do both a Hat and a pair of Texting Mittens!

Alpaca Texting Mittens

Free Crochet Pattern – Fingerless Mittens

I love our Snuggle Yarn!  Being a bulky yarn, it works up so quickly!  Being a blend of  55% alpaca, 30% wool, and 15% acrylic it is much less expensive than many other alpaca yarns.  Fingerless Mittens can be knit or crocheted easily in an evening or two.  Keep your hands warm in cold weather, but still be able to use your fingers!

I usually crochet, was told once it is faster, which makes me opt to pick up a hook rather than needles!

The crochet pattern I used was one I found on a blog called 123Crochet Patterns.  I used this pattern, but left off the thumbs and the top of the mitten, trying the mitten on to determine how much of my fingers I wanted to cover, so that I knew when to quit.  I also changed colors which the pattern does not call for.  For help on changing colors, see How To Change Colors in Crochet.

Other Crochet Patterns for Fingerless Mittens are available on Ravelry.  Knitting Patterns for Fingerless Mittens available too!

Snuggle yarn comes in 18 great colors, is incredibly soft, and fun to work with!

Super Bulky Alpaca Yarn

My first yarns from this year’s clip are back from Morning Star Fiber Mill, and they are gorgeous!  The yarns I’m posting are what I’m calling Super Bulky Suri Merino Lopi.  They are super soft and super bulky, and at 6 Wraps Per Inch, WPI, there is almost instant gratification!

Brown and White Suri Merino Lopi

So what is Lopi?  It was a new term to me and so I thought I’d see what I could find out.  The yarn is light relative to its bulk, and less dense than most knitting wool. It is spun without the definite twist of other yarn. The name lopi originally meant wool that hasn’t been spun at all.

Today it is a lightly-processed single-ply yarn.

Black and Brown Suri Merino Lopi

Historically, it is identified with the sheep in Iceland that produced the wool to make it. The Icelandic sheep is a distinctive breed brought by the Vikings over eleven hundred years ago that provided both protection and food for the early settlers.

Black and Cream Suri and Merino Lopi

Traditional knitwear was thick and sturdy, made of firmly spun yarn.  But in the early 1900’s several women began to experiment with knitting directly with lopi, the unspun woolen fibers, rather than first spinning the lopi into yarn.  After that, Icelandic knitters never looked back.

Black, Brown, and Cream Suri Merino Lopi

Lopi is perfect for thick, chunky knitwear, that is light and bulky, and provides good insulation. 

Brown Alpaca Lopi

Made from suri alpaca blended with merino, I can’t imagine anything warmer, softer, or more luxurious!

I checked out the FREE patterns on Ravelry and found a few I thought would be great with any of these yarns.

For knitters…
Cashmere Neckwarmer by Kim K.
Super-Fast, Ultra-Cozy Scarf by Jen Reilly
Bella’s Mittens
by Marielle Henault
Calorimetry Headscarf by Kathryn Schoendorf
The Eleventh Hour by Whit’s Knits

For crocheters…
Super Fast Ultra Bulky Scarf by Rachel
Earflap Hat by Mushy
Puffy Slouchy Hat by Craftypants

 

Another advantage of Lopi yarn is the incredible collection of designs that have been created for it.

Mix and Matching Yarn

I often, well almost always, mix and match my yarn. I start with one of my Hand Spun Alpaca Art Yarns and select other yarn based on the colors of that yarn.  The hat pattern I use over and over is Loving Georgia Lee Tyler by Christine Marie Way Tyler & John Wesley Tyler.
I have made many, many shapes and sizes and colors and styles of hats using this pattern.  I can’t say I always follow the pattern exactly, but instead pick up whatever size hook seems to fit the yarn I’m using and try it on frequently for size while I’m working!
With some of the same yarn I crocheted a pair of Texting Mittens, also known as Twittens ( I just learned) for toasty texting!!

For these, I found a pattern for mittens, left off the thumbs and fingers, and crocheted an edge to finish them.

Alpaca Meadows