Tag Archive | bulky yarn

Review: Andean Sun Alpaca

Does anybody else love alpaca? I’m guessing a few of you do. It’s one of my favorite yarns to use in winter, so when I was offered the chance to review some bulky alpaca from Andean Sun Yarns, I jumped at the chance. It’s available in packs of three in six colors, and I chose medium gray so it would go with almost everything.

img_2998

Honestly, I’d never heard of Andean Sun Yarns, so I had no idea what to expect. But guys. OMG. I’m a convert. If you love super soft alpaca that feels like a warm furry marshmallow (think squishy, not sticky!), then this is your yarn. In the past, I’ve used and loved Plymouth Yarns Grande and Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky. This yarn feels even better. I’m not sure why exactly, but I think the Andean Sun alpaca felt a little denser, a little more substantial, and just a tiny bit fuzzier. Can you see a hint of that marvelous halo??

fullsizeoutput_1f7b

The yarn arrived on a Saturday and I cast on for the Bandana Cowl that same day. I was done by that night, partly because I was lucky enough to have a whole lazy knitting day, but also because I didn’t want to put the yarn down. Each skein is about 50 grams/54 yards each, and I used about two and a half skeins for the cowl. The yarn slid easily from the little skein, there were no knots, and it tinked nicely when I inevitably messed up.

fullsizeoutput_1f79

It felt so good in my hands. Plus, it washed and blocked wonderfully, still super soft and with a lovely relaxed drape. My only caveat is that I want it in more than six colors! And I have to say, I’ve wanted to make the Bandana cowl for SO long, and always put it off because I didn’t want to mess with short rows. Remember, I don’t like short rows. Except they were easy and quick in this pattern with the bulky yarn, and I didn’t mind them at all, and now I adore this cowl!

fullsizeoutput_1f7c

Andean Sun Yarns is a small, independent family business with roots in Peru and the US that’s been around since 2001. As near as I can tell, they don’t stock in yarn stores, which is too bad because if you felt it, you’d probably buy it! But you can get it from their website (and get 25% off for subscribing to their newsletter) or from their Amazon shop (with free shipping).

Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Andean Sun Yarns who sent me the three-skein bulky alpaca kit (retail: $31.98) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Two Gray Cowls

Just a quick one tonight to show off a couple of cowls. The first one I finished several days ago and just got around to blocking.

img_2502

The pattern is Flor de Maio and it was designed for Classic Elite Yarns Chateau, a baby alpaca yarn, and that’s what I used. It’s one of my favorite yarns, so soft and decadent, with great drape.

fullsizeoutput_8ab

It lost a bit of the thick density with blocking, so I kind of wish I hadn’t blocked, but it did open up the pretty diamond lace pattern nicely. This one will be a gift.

The other one is made from some of my brand-new yarn from over the weekend, Cascade Yarns Spuntaneous, and I’m kind of in love with it too.

img_2499

It’s a delicious super bulky, soft like roving, softer than Rasta or Magnum but with that same wonderful chunky texture.

img_2500

The pattern is A New Years Cowl and it was quick. Like, couple of hours quick.

fullsizeoutput_8ac

I mean, come on. This is just so perfect. I love it so much I might have to make another one. And another, and another!

Happy knitting, friends!

Insta Cowl

Boy, this one went fast! I started it last night while I watched TV and was able to finish it today on my lunch break. I quite like it.

IMG_6820

It’s thick and cozy, and the Rasta is so soft.

IMG_6821

I had to try it on, but it’s so warm I could just keep it on for a minute.

IMG_6822

Pattern is Insta Cowl, yarn is Malabrigo Rasta. Now I’m off to wind yarn for my next project!

Two Hats Done, One Begun

As expected, the kids’ spring break has interrupted my knitting/writing/blogging processes, but at least there is a little bit of knitting going on. And today our calendar is empty so both children are still asleep at 9 a.m. and I am stealing the time to catch up with all of you. Of the four projects I started last weekend, two are now complete! First up is the Hot Pink Waffles. IMG_5594The pattern was written for DK, so I lowered the number of stitches to cast on with this worsted weight, but not enough. It’s a little looser than I would like, but it will do. It fits well enough on my noggin.IMG_5578The girl and I went to watch Room with my mom yesterday, and I got this hat up to the decreases while watching. It was a good movie, grim but moving, definitely wonderful performances. I still liked the book better.

I also finished the bulky ivory hat, and there’s more of a story to that one. There’s a book out called Weekend by Jen Geigley with fabulous bulky-weight patterns. I love them all. She had a sale on it recently so I splurged and bought the book, and decided the hat Sliver would be my first project. But I didn’t really like the dropped stitch “run” so I just omitted it. I had some super bulky yarn and the right size needles, and no, I didn’t test for gauge because it’s a HAT and it will fit someone and I almost always knit to gauge anyway.

Not this time. I cast for the size medium and knit away, and it looked small but I ignored it. When I picked it up yesterday to finish it, I decided to face the truth and put it on my head. It was definitely NOT a size adult medium. It was easily a child-size hat, but long. I thought about frogging and starting over with the XL, but realized I didn’t have enough yarn. So I frogged back about an inch of the body and finished off a cute little kid hat, and added a pompom because pompoms are adorable and I had exactly enough yarn left. IMG_5583Maybe I knit more tightly than Jen, maybe my “super bulky” yarn wasn’t as bulky as hers, I don’t know. But I still love the hat, and I still want to make an adult version at some point. But for now, I’m going through the book to decide which pattern I want to try next! Until I decide, I cast on for another lacy cotton slouch hat, this time in a peachy pink. IMG_5592Yesterday was National Puppy Day but I didn’t have the time to blog, so Grace and Jack will send you belated happy puppy wishes! IMG_5586IMG_5589

Purple Moonstone Wrap

I finished my wrap last night, just in time for a short blast of cold weather before spring hits for good. I thought I’d woven in all the ends but in taking photos this morning I saw two I missed. And it needs to be blocked: the point keeps curling up. Plus, I didn’t have enough yarn to do the i-cord edging, so I can either leave it off or add it in a contrasting color (maybe the odd color lot from this yarn?). I haven’t decided yet. Will it keep the edge from curling? What if I block it and then decide I want to add the i-cord, will that be ok?IMG_5531I love how big it turned out! I wanted it to be more like a wrap than a scarf, and that’s what I got. I cast on 175 stitches, using two strands of worsted held together and size 15 needles. IMG_5532Another nice thing: I found those interlocking foam mats at Aldi yesterday, a set of 4 for $10, and of course snagged a set. The ones I have were “borrowed” from my husband’s basement workout space, so they’re not exactly in the best of shape. This way I can return his and use pretty new ones!

Now I’m back to three WIPs. One is the Because I Love You Wrap, which I haven’t re-started after frogging. Not sure why I stalled on that one. I also have another Hitchhiker waiting to made as a thank-you for one of my early readers. She picked out really pretty rainbow yarn for it too. Maybe that will be my weekend knitting!

I’ve been reading a lot more lately too, and am in the middle of Stephen King’s On Writing. Fabulous book, that is. Don’t know how I missed it all this time. I’ll definitely need to get my own copy of that one.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

A Bulky Baby Hat

I’m having fun using up my stash of bulky acrylic. I’ve had all this KnitPicks Brava Bulky just hanging around, and I think I was saving it in case I needed it for something. Nope, I don’t know what. Yep, it’s a silly idea. So now I’m using it! It knits up quickly on big needles, meaning less stress on my elbow, and it gives me some inexpensive inventory for my Etsy shop. Yesterday I made a little baby hat in a couple of hours.IMG_4793It joins the two cowls already made. IMG_4791Last night I cast on for another cowl, red this time, while I watched the Golden Globes (that was NOT a good show, am I right?). But what I really want to cast on is the Color Block Wrap, because I got the last color of yarn I needed! Just look how gorgeous these colors are: IMG_4794I’m trying very hard to tell myself I have to wait until I finish some WIPs first. We’ll see how well that works out; this yarn is calling my name pretty loudly. Happy Monday, friends!

Tuesday’s Hat is Full of Twist

Whee, I knew I could do it! I finished the gray Pacific Chunky hat yesterday! I actually finished it during my waiting room knitting time with ten minutes to spare, which meant I had nothing to distract me from The Young and the Restless on the TV. But still, I was happy to get it done. And I like it.IMG_3156 IMG_3158 IMG_3160This is the Picholine Hat and it might be my new favorite one-skein hat. The pattern was extremely simple to memorize, but comes out looking more complex. I used size 10 1/2 needles for the brim, which makes it just a bit snugger than I’d like, and size 13 for the body. The result is a nice, loose, floppy hat. The pattern calls for a pom-pom but I didn’t have quite enough yarn left over for that. I’d like to make this again with size 11s for the brims and enough yarn for the pom. This hat used all of the 120 yards in the skein.

Sadly, the rest of my knitting time did not go so smoothly. I didn’t have time to pick up needles again until after dinner, and I thought I would work up something quick and snazzy with my purple Cascade Magnum. First, I tried the Swirling Cowl but my yarn overs were so much looser than in the pictures, and it was making a more open fabric than I wanted. I tried doing the yarn overs going the other direction and that might have helped, except I really needed 16″ circular needles and I didn’t have them. The 24″ were just too long to make it an easy knit. I frogged and started over.

The second pattern I chose was the Marian cowl. I’ve made it before with the Magnum and it works well. I’d wanted to do something different, but nothing else was jumping out at me. So I cast on and started knitting and it was…okay. After a while I stopped and took a Pinterest break, like you do. There, I found the Red Rasta Cowl and it was lovely! THAT’S what I wanted to do with the Magnum! Okay, pattern downloaded, Marian frogged, let’s cast on…with the 16″ size 15 circs…that I don’t have.

There might have been a curse word at that point. In any case, the Magnum is now in timeout. I cast on for a simple beanie in Mizzou colors to be my next easy travel project and then moved on to a simple garter stitch scarf that I need to finish before Christmas. I also turned on the TV and watched some New Girl, Mindy Project and Selfie so I could get a few laughs. It helped end the evening on a high note, instead of being frustrated with the yarn.

Today’s goal is finishing. I really need to stop casting on new things and finish some Christmas presents! I have three Christmas character hats that just need faces, and if I can get those done I think I’ll feel much better about my to-knit list, which is too long for comfort. How long is your Must-Knit list? Have you started focusing on gift knitting yet?