Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yarn Review: Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends

When I went to my local craft store last night (to buy the correct size for my bamboo purse handles) I noticed some new yarns. I have been eyeing Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends online, and was pleasantly surprised to find it. It retails for $3.99 usd so I bought a skein and decided that I would review it for you all.

Basic Yarn Information

Fiber content: 70% Acrylic/ 30% Alpaca
Skein yardage/weight: 120 yds/100g/ 3.5 oz
Recommended hook size/gauge: 6mm US J How many ply?: 2 ply
Manufacturer's suggested retail price and/or actual price: $3.99

Care of Yarn
Hand wash
Drying: Air dry flat
Any special requirements:
How does yarn/project look/handle after being cleaned?:
Seemed to shed less
Did the color run when washed?: No

Yarn Characteristics
How easy is it to crochet with?
It was easy to work with, slight splittage

What about ripping out? It was forgiving after ripping out
Any stretch? yes
Does it produce fuzz/lint? A Lot
Does it pill? N/A
How does it wear? Nice drape
How does it look crocheted? Great stitch definition

First Impressions

According to Knitter's Review, alpaca fiber is reportedly softer than cashmere. And at first touch, I agree. It is a very soft yarn. Alpaca is a hollow fiber, similar to angora, making it far warmer than wool. It is available in 8 color ways. I used the a light pink color called Peony. I picked a light color because from first glance, I noticed that the darker colors seemed to shed.

Crochet swatch
I swatched using Clover Touch hook in size J in a single stitch. The swatched worked up easily and moved softly through loop after loop. I did notice how it shed. Of course I was wearing a black shirt. By the time I was done with the swatch, it looked like I was covered in long cat hairs. It also made my nose itch immensely.

I washed the swatch in cold water and some baby soap. I noticed as soon as the swatch got wet, the hairs became even more loose. After I blocked and dried the swatch, I noticed a dramatic decrease with the shedding. It still remained intensely soft.


After I experienced the intense shedding. I really began to dislike this yarn. I really wanted to like it...thought it would make a great scarf, since it is so soft. But after the shedding, I concluded that it would not make a nice scarf accessory since it would probably ruin your shirt with hairs. After I washed the swatch and it dried, I began to change my mind. Washing did decrease the shedding which made me like the yarn once again. It is my first time working with Alpaca....and could not imagine how much more it would have shed if it was more of an alpaca blend than acrylic. I have to say, it was one of the softest yarns I have worked with to date. I would buy this kind of yarn again, but I just would not wear black :)

More reviews to come in the next days....


Needles said...

I'll have to watch for that one. I didn't see it last night on my foray, which is probably a good thing. Its nice to get a review of a product. things cost so much time to make that I really hate to use a poor yarn, pay big money and end up with something I hated. I did that once with a mohair. so sad.

You asked if I knit or corcheted first. Embroidered! I learned that when I was really small, maybe 4 or 5, then knitting in Brownies (little Girl Guides) but I learned to knit combined, and then I taught myself to crochet after my mom gave up teaching me (I was a stinker) and a whole bunch of other things. I've never knit much because of the combined knitting. I could never understand why when I did just like they asked in a pattern, it did not work out. I really gave up in frustration because it seemed out of reach. So knitting is in every way that counts really really new. Crochet has been a major work for about 36 years, IIRC.

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