Selecting the right yarn for a project should always be first and foremost about what you want to make with it. Maybe you always knit the yarn suggested in the pattern. Maybe you always like to go your own way. Many yarns seem really similar which makes it can be hard to choose which one to use for your project. (Can you tell we’ve been here?) Even the subtlest difference in the fiber content or treatment of the fiber can make a good idea great!
Lets take a closer look at Berroco’s four woolly-workhorse yarns.
When looking at them all together, you could choose any one of these yarns in any pattern that called for one of them. These yarns work up to a gauge between 4-5 stitches per inch. They are all approximately 219 yds / 200 m per hank/ball (Vintage is actually 218 yds / 199 m) and come in 3.5 oz / 100 g hanks/balls. They all come in a rainbow of beautiful solid and heathered shades.
So while on-screen they might look like they are completely interchangeable, each of these yarns has qualities and characteristics that make them really special. Here are some reasons why you may want to choose one over the other.
Ultra Alpaca A Berroco Classic! The 50% alpaca gives the yarn a fuzzy but not quite hairy texture and a lot of drape. The 50% highland wool means it still has a nice stretchy bounce quality. It has an excellent drape for sweaters and shawls but is still resilient enough to be used for small accessories like hats, mitts/mittens/gloves, or socks where more elasticity is needed. Because of the Alpaca, this yarn is extra warm making it my favorite yarn for extra cozy mitts and mittens.
When worked in Stockinette stitch the fabric has a soft velveteen-like texture. Plus, there is not a lot of individual stitch definition which makes this a favorite for colorwork.
Cables worked in Ultra Alpaca have a nice round quality to them and garments will move fluidly with the body. This quality also makes it a great choice for crochet garments and accessories! Not to mention it’s amazing for felting!
I have made sweaters with this yarn that look as as good today as they did when they came off the needles 12 years ago.
Berroco Vintage is probably our most popular yarn- with good reason! It’s incredibly soft and the color palette is spectacular. Vintage has a smooth finish and when knitted in Stockinette stitch, the individual stitches really stand out. This excellent stitch definition means this is a good choice for any project where you really want the texture to pop!
Vintage is a machine washable yarn with a 52% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 8% Nylon blend. It is perfect for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to use wool. I’d suggest using it for high-use garments that require frequent laundering. It is also a perfect yarn to choose when knitting a gift for someone who you’re not sure will have enthusiasm for hand washing woolens. For that reason, I reach for this yarn whenever I am making things for babies and kids.
Ultra Wool is a cool to the touch, smooth and soft, with excellent stitch definition. It has a huge shade palette and is also easy to care for like Vintage but is a 100% natural fiber superwash wool. When developing this yarn we really took the time to do extensive testing. We went through many rounds of knitting and washing swatch after swatch to get just the right balance of softness and durability. What we learned in that process is that a garment bag is really your friend when it comes to machine washing any easy-care yarn.
One of the qualities of superwash wool that I love most is the drape. Great for fluid feeling garments or projects with a lot of texture or colorwork that still need to hang nicely on a body. For this reason, Ultra Wool combines the best features of both Ultra Alpaca and Vintage. In February 2021 we added a Handpaint line to the Ultra Wool family. I am really excited to spend more time playing with colorwork that combines the Handpaint and regular Ultra Wool.
Lanas is the newest member of the Berroco workhorse yarn family. It is an untreated wool, not superwash, which makes it great for felting. It is made up of the same soft and bouncy Highland wool used in Ultra Alpaca but this time blended with a longer staple wool (that means hair length) that gives this yarn a little luster and also makes it a little more durable.
This yarn is a smooth worsted spun but doesn’t have the sheen Ultra Wool has. The look of the stockinette stitch is somewhere between Vintage and Ultra Alpaca and the fabric will have the structure and stability that Vintage has. I especially love this yarn for sweaters with seamless construction as 100% untreated wool will bounce back and hold its shape better than anything. Heirlooms, blankets, and other special projects if properly cared for will last multiple lifetimes.
These are just 4 of the many yarns in the Berroco lineup that work up to that classic worsted 4.5-5 stitches per inch gauge. You can’t go wrong with any one of them and I confess at times I have chosen one just based on the fact that it comes in a pull skein and I was too impatient to start knitting to take the time to wind a hank! (It happens, right?!)
There isn’t a wrong choice when it comes to these yarns but we hope this breakdown helps you make a better choice for the project you have in mind!