We’ve been talking about chunky yarns lately—Berroco Ultra® Alpaca Chunky and Berroco Gusto®—so today I thought I’d go in the opposite direction and talk about a yarn that’s on the lighter side. Let’s take a look at Berroco Ultra® Alpaca Light!
You probably already figured this out—Ultra Alpaca Light is the exact same base as Ultra Alpaca and Ultra Alpaca Chunky. It’s 50% wool and 50% alpaca, blending together the great qualities of both fibers. It’s a three-ply yarn, same as Ultra Alpaca (Ultra Alpaca Chunky is only two plies), but it’s spun slightly more fine to achieve a denser gauge. Our recommended gauge is 23 stitches to 4″ on a US size 5 (3.75 mm). I knit my swatch on US size 3 needles (3.25 mm), and my gauge came out to 22.5 stitches (I tend to knit on the loose side, which is why I always swatch before starting a new project—I usually have to adjust my needle size just a tad).
I know we talk about swatching a lot here on the Berroco Blog, but a) it’s really important and b) it’s not just something we believe in. For another primary source as to why swatching is super important, read this blog post by designer Andi Satterlund—I love how Andi explains why we should swatch, how we should swatch, and she even includes a link to handy tips to try if your swatch doesn’t work out at first.
So now that you know more about Ultra Alpaca Light and have a game plan for swatching your next Ultra Alpaca Light project, here are some of our favorite patterns using this yarn.
Of course we have to mention Mrs. Watson—this super popular shawl by designer Martina Behm comes from our first Portfolio book. Using two colors of Ultra Alpaca Light in a clever combination of garter stitch and short-rows creates a show-stopping shawl to knit. If this has been in your to-knit queue for a while, take note: we’ll be doing a KAL for this shawl in early 2017, so you have time to pick out your yarn shades. More details on that KAL in the near future!
Julia Farwell-Clay’s Teeter Totter is another stunning shawl, this time from Portfolio Volume 2, but it’s knit in five shades of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. Her Metronome Shawl is worked in a similar fashion to Teeter Totter, but is knit with three colors of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. Personally, I want one of each—just have to find the time to knit them!
If you want to use Ultra Alpaca Light in a garment, I recommend Amy Christoffers’ Larch Cardigan. I knit this swingy cardigan a few years ago, and it was my first time using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light—and because of that sweater, I’ve been itching to use the yarn again in another garment (again… I have the yarn to knit sweaters, just not the time!). This cardigan is the perfect project for this yarn—it’s knit at a gauge that shows off the beautiful drape of alpaca but also the wonderful stitch definition that wool provides, plus it’s the kind of cardigan that you’ll never want to take off. And also, your friends will try to steal it from you. (Jokingly, of course.)
Looking for something smaller? Be sure to check out Fishbones by Mary Jane Mucklestone (another project from Portfolio Volume 1). Just two hanks in contrasting colors of Ultra Alpaca Light are all you need to knit this hat—though you could throw a third one in the mix with the optional pompom. Earlier this year, we had a blog post showing off knitters’ versions of Fishbones—take a look at that to get some color combo inspiration.
What have you knit with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light? If you haven’t yet taken the plunge, be sure to see if there’s an LYS near you carrying the yarn, and stock up on a project’s worth during the month of November 2016 to participate in Shop LYS! You could earn a coupon code for free Berroco pattern PDFs—find out more information in this blog post.