Last week, we talked a bit about Berroco Vintage®, and I mentioned that it can be interchanged with Berroco Ultra® Alpaca, making these two a perfect pairing for our Portfolio Volume 2 collection. This week, I’m diving into Berroco Ultra Alpaca. BUT FIRST! Have you voted for our Portfolio Volume 2 KAL project? Be sure to cast your vote before July 19—that’s just 11 days away.
Berroco Ultra Alpaca is a worsted-weight yarn in a blend of 50% alpaca and 50% wool. This blend combines the memory and sturdiness of wool with the softness and drape of alpaca in a yarn that’s perfect for garments and accessories alike. This two-ply yarn comes in 75 colors, including 10 new colors for Fall/Winter 2016. Unlike Berroco Vintage, we recommend washing projects knit from Ultra Alpaca by hand, or without agitation. I know from experience you can use Emily’s washing machine trick (explained in this blog post) with Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The key is to avoid agitating the fibers, which leads to unwanted felting. Ultra Alpaca, like Vintage, also comes in other weights: Berroco Ultra® Alpaca Chunky, Berroco Ultra® Alpaca Light, and Berroco Ultra® Alpaca Fine.
For this post, I wanted to see just how interchangeable Berroco Vintage and Berroco Ultra Alpaca could be. I used the same needles that I used to knit the Berroco Vintage swatch last week—US size 5 mm interchangeable metal needles. I blocked them the exact same way—pinned out and steamed—though I forgot to measure my Vintage swatch to try to match the width (my scientific method is good but not perfect). My gauge for the Berroco Vintage swatch was 19 stitches to 4″; my gauge for the Berroco Ultra Alpaca swatch was 18.5 stitches to 4″. For almost every purpose I might want to switch out these yarns, that’s good enough for me. Gauge can be impacted by anything: if I’d used different needles, my swatches could be even more different. If you want to read a little bit more on the impact needle material can have on gauge, be sure to read Alexis Winslow’s excellent blog post.
Berroco Ultra Alpaca has been around for just over 10 years—Berroco Portfolio Vol 1 was a celebration of it’s 10th anniversary. We have plenty of patterns to knit (and a few crochet patterns too!) with Ultra Alpaca, and in our new Portfolio Volume 2, we’ve got five patterns that use the worsted weight Ultra Alpaca. You can see that Ultra Alpaca can be used for lace, colorwork, and textured stitches.
What’s been your favorite thing to knit with Berroco Ultra Alpaca? Let us know in the comments.