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Razzle Dazzle Delights:
Sequined Threads from Berroco

Berroco lazer FX  Berroco Mirror FX  Berroco lazer FX  
Until now, if you wanted to add glitter or sparkle, you had to make do with a limited choice of yarns. If you didn't like how the yarn felt against your neck, tough luck.

A new kind of glittery effect changes all this. It involves the use of sequins that have been strung and spun onto a fine string that's either black or white in color. All you need to do is pair this yarn with your existing yarn, knit away, and voilà, instant sparkle.

Berroco Mirror FX and Lazer FX

Massachusetts-based Berroco Yarns was the first yarn manufacturer to produce sequined threads in any significant quantity. Two sparkly incarnations fall under the FX label, producing silver, gold, rainbow-like crystal, or pastel colors on square or circular sequins.

Lazer FX comes in 70-yard skeins, Mirror FX in 60-yard skeins. Both are made in the United States, composed of 100% polyester, and retail for $13.95 a skein.

Knitting Up

I definitely experienced a learning curve with these yarns. The fine thread easily evaded my needle when knitting or purling, and I often didn't notice the dropped thread for several rows. I also found that the thread was susceptible to snags and splits.

I finally achieved a smoother, more consistent effect by keeping my tension as relaxed as possible. This gave the sequins and yarn more room to adjust to any gaps or tight spots produced by the irregular placement of sequins. The loose tension was also important because the thread is completely inelastic. Squeezing your needle into a tight stitch can be quite a challenge.

Control Freaks Beware

I was most frustrated by my inability to control the exact placement of my sequins on the knitted fabric. Sometimes they'd lie on the knit side, other times on the purl side.

I could nudge a few of the sequins through to the outward-facing side of the fabric, but in any large-scale garment this would've been slow and frustrating. I should note that the problem totally disappears with scarves, because both sides are equally visible.

Sequins in Action: The Pairings

Lazer FX with Berroco Cotton Twist The sequins were conspicuous when paired with smooth, shiny yarns such as the one you see here (Berroco Cotton Twist).
Lazer FX with standard pink wool yarn They became even more conspicuous when paired with a standard wool yarn such as the one you see here. I can only envision such a pairing for, say, a young girl's ballet outfit or princess costume.
Mirror FX with black cottonI was less satisfied when I paired the dark-threaded sequins with dark yarns. The contrast between black background yarn and silver or gold sequin was almost too extreme for my taste.

The best pairing was a mix of Mirror FX with Berroco's shiny rayon tape, Glacé, which you see here. The flat yarn gives the fabric a more angular feel, which blended more cohesively with the square sequins.
Lazer FX knit aloneWhen used alone without any pairings whatsoever, both yarns produced an airy, fishnet-like fabric. The random sequin placement could distract the eye from any attempted lace pattern. If you're determined to try the yarn alone, I suggest sticking to a simple garter stitch and letting the sequins do all the talking.
Lazer FX with white brushed mohairWhen I paired Lazer FX with a white brushed mohair, the sequins lost their loudness and looked more like shiny little raindrops nestled in a cloud. Those sparkles would look quite fitting in a fluffy turtleneck worn, say, while skiing the slopes of Aspen or Gstaad.

The effect works best when the mohair and sequined thread colors are nearly identical, which limits you to yarns that are mostly black or white.
Mirror FX with Trendsetter EyelashBy far the most exciting results came when I paired Mirror FX with a peach-colored Trendsetter Eyelash. They produced an open, airy fabric with magnificent drape. The difference in thread colors was minimized by the overall furry chaos of Eyelash, with threads bursting forth in almost every possible direction.

A scarf in Mirror FX and Eyelash would be absolutely stunning, rather like a sequined boa for grown-ups. I might just have to try this one for myself.

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