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Jaeger Alpaca
Jaeger Alpaca

Yarn Profile: Jaeger Alpaca 4-Ply

First Impressions
Here's the scenario: Someone dear to you is having a baby. You want to knit her something extraordinary, one of those keepsake outfits that gets warn once and then carefully stored away until the baby grows up.

Jaeger's Alpaca fits the bill perfectly. Its fine gauge is appropriate for many baby patterns, its softness won't irritate the baby's skin, it knits up beautifully, and -- although it's alpaca -- a 202-yard skein will run you only $7.95.

Knitting Up
Jaeger's alpaca is loosely spun. On a few occasions -- mostly at the ends of rows -- I had to knit completely un-spun yarn. For some reason I didn't find it as bothersome as other yarns.

As is the case with alpaca fiber in general, the yarn has very little bounce to it. It's so fine and even that straight stockinette might drive you out of your mind with boredom.

It lends itself more to pattern stitches. Even a simple moss or lace pattern would look lovely.

The other reason to use a stitch pattern with this yarn is that it won't forgive uneven stockinette. You can spot the flubs a mile away, and they'll never go away.

Blocking / Washing
Jaeger gives lengthy care instructions for this particular yarn. So lengthy, in fact, that I decided to toss my swatches in the sink with some Ivory soap, give them a good thrashing, and then roll them up in a towel to dry.

They did just fine. I'm not necessarily recommending you do this with your finished garments, but in a worst case scenario, it's good to know that the yarn won't fall apart on you.

There was no stretching or fading whatsoever, and the swatches flattened out to a reasonable extent.

Wearing
Although alpaca is a durable fiber, this isn't a yarn for high-stress garments. The more rubbing I did, the looser the swatches became.

The fuzz came out more, making the swatches resemble an angora blend. Interestingly enough there was no pilling, just the overall addition of fluff, which made the stitches appear less distinct. (Considering my lumpy stockinette, this was actually a good thing!)

Conclusion
Lacking any expectant friends and the patience for such fine-gauge yarns, I'd probably double this up for a soft, warm pair of socks (or add a strand of a wool/acrylic blend for added durability). It would also make a lovely lace scarf.

It's a luxuriously soft yarn with the sheen of un-brushed mohair and the slightly fuzzy texture of angora. Even the skeins themselves feel wonderful to the touch.

Okay, forget the baby, make something for yourself!

Previous reader comments
"I have some of this and wasn't sure what I'd do with it. It sounds perfect for some toasty socks." ccdenehy, 3/1/2002

"I like your comments! You're my kind of knitter. I'm looking forward to using this yarn. Now my trouble is finding it. But for sure I'm going to try, if for nothing else but to make a scarf."
  B. Cameron, 11/16/00

 
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