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Inca Alpaca
Inca Alpaca

Yarn Profile: Inca Alpaca

First Impressions
Classic Elite's loosely spun 4-ply alpaca has been out for several years now, yet Kristin Nicholas (the head designer for Classic Elite) keeps it limited to 14 beautiful, earthy colors that carry gentle, heathered hues.

The yarn is silky soft and smooth, with a slight sheen and very little crimp or elasticity. This means it drapes well but may need some reinforcement if your pattern calls for hefty ribbing.

Knitting Up
The loose spin of Inca Alpaca makes it fairly easy to poke your needle through only half the stitch by mistake. Because of the yarn's flat texture, it took me a while to gain momentum and get my tension right.

Once I did, things went smoothly.

There were a fair amount of loose, angora-like hairs in the yarn, increasing its sneeze and fuzz potential ever so slightly.

Blocking / Washing
The Inca Alpaca survived washing without the slightest sign of bleeding or fading, or fiber fatigue.

Because alpaca doesn't have the natural crimp of wool, however, any garment made of this fiber will have the tendency to lose its shape after a while. Don't let this keep you from knitting with alpaca, but do keep it in mind.

Although alpaca doesn't itch nearly as much as wool, this yarn definitely has a slight itch factor to it. And despite its loose spin, which normally causes fibers to wear more quickly, this yarn is surprisingly durable. Perhaps not durable enough to outfit a rugby team, but definitely durable enough for rest of us.

Inca Alpaca is ideal for garments where drape is important. It's heavy but won't bulk up, and it will reflect stitch-work beautifully.

Don't be afraid to use this for socks, either, no matter what your yarn shop owner tells you.

One of my all-time favorite pairs of socks is made with Inca Alpaca and a strand of lace-weight Jaggerspun for thickness. An entire sweater made of this would be quite a treat.

Previous reader comments
"I am using Inca Alpaca with Plymouth Alpaca for a fair isle scarf and cap set and I find the Inca yarn sheds a *lot*!! The yarn is soft and beautiful, but the shedding is a problem. The Plymouth is also 100% alpaca and it seems more tightly spun, just as soft, doesn't shed as much... and it's cheaper! The one plus of the inca is that it comes in much nicer colours." charpi, 11/26/01

"I combined one strand of Inca Alpaca with one strand of Plymouth Encore, both in ivory, for a wonderful warm, soft and durable over-sized scarf. I knit in it a checkerboard pattern to add to the texture." ngevin, 7/9/01

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