How Do I Love Alpaca? Let Me Count The Ways…
In my National Crochet Month blog post I’m singing the praises of alpaca. It has become one of my favorite fibers to work with, but some crocheters have yet to give it a try. Keep reading for my top four reasons to fall in love with alpaca plus a new pattern giveaway.
No Itchy Sweaters
Some people avoid wool due to allergies, but alpaca makes an excellent substitute. Unlike wool, alpaca does not contain lanolin – making it practically hypoallergenic.
Texture and Drape
Alpaca boasts a luxurious, silky texture that makes it nice to wear next to the skin. Depending on how the fiber is spun, the fabric also tends to feature a very nice drape.
In researching my upcoming book, I discovered that alpaca fiber felts with the slightest provocation. Like wool, the individual fibers have scales that mesh together when introduced to heat, moisture, and friction. I love felting with alpaca because the finished fabric tends to maintain more of its drape than felted wool.
Alpacas evolved to survive in the American Andes’ harsh deserts and cold winters. Their versatile hollow fibers can hold body heat in cold weather while maintaining some breathability in warm weather.
How Crocheters Can Get the Most Out of Alpaca
Alpaca yarn can be made into glorious crocheted projects. Here are some tips for making it work in your next crochet project.
- This fiber’s warmth makes it great for cold climates, but if freezing temperatures aren’t an issue you can still enjoy it. Just think light. Choose thinner yarn and crochet it in airy lace stitches. This will prevent the fabric from keeping you too warm.
- As I mentioned above, alpaca felts like a dream. Therefore, special care must be taken with alpaca garments when washing – cold water, gentle detergent, and as little agitation as possible. On the other hand, you could take advantage of alpaca’s tendency to felt by doing on purpose. In this case you would launder the item in hot water with lots of friction. Washing by hand will allow greater control over the degree of felting.
- If you aren’t ready to crochet with 100% alpaca, look for blends. One of my favorites is Manos del Uruguay’s Serena (60% alpaca, 40% cotton) which is lovely in warm weather. Another is Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca, a 50/50 wool/alpaca blend which combines all the benefits of both fibers..
To celebrate National Crochet Month I am giving away a copy of my brand new pattern, the Felted Zizi Scarf. It’s perfect for alpaca yarn. The piece is worked from side to side in a fun lacy stitch pattern. Perfect for gifting, this quick and easy project can be crocheted in your favorite team colors and completed in single weekend.
To get your free copy of the Felted Zizi Scarf, use coupon code ZIZI. Hurry! Offer ends April 2nd, 2017.
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