First of all, if it’s made from alpaca, then it’s yarn, not wool. Strictly speaking, if it’s called ‘wool’ then it’s made from sheep fleece. But whatever you call it, we think that once you’ve tried alpaca yarn, you won’t want to knit with anything else … at least, not unless it’s blended with alpaca!
Alpaca is a very soft, silky, luxuriously dense yarn, so you’ll find that the length per 100g is a bit shorter than for wool. So if you’re looking to use a knitting or crochet pattern that’s designed for wool, make sure to look at the length of yarn needed, not just the number of balls. Pure alpaca yarn is also very smooth and ‘drapey’ but not very elastic. For smaller items like accessories and baby knits this won’t matter; but for larger garments it’s best to choose a pattern designed for a similar type of yarn such as cotton, linen, bamboo or silk – something that’s designed to drape and flow, rather than a design that needs a lot of stretch.
The average weights and lengths of our yarns are shown below, although as they are made in a very small scale craft process, each batch will be just a bit different to the next! There are also suggested needles sizes, but these will of course vary for individual knitters. Another point to bear in mind is that our yarn is supplied with a very light coating of mineral oil, and will ‘fluff up’ a bit after washing, so you might find it best to use a needle size up from what you might normally expect to use.
We have some very confusing names for yarn types in the UK. For example, 2 ply and 4 ply refer to the thickness of the yarn, and have nothing at all to do with the number of strands (singles) that are plied together to make the yarn. So a “4 ply” yarn might be made from 4 plies, but could also be made from 2 strands, or 8, or any other number. And there’s nothing to say that a chunky yarn can’t be made from just 2 plies. We’ve also found that there’s a lot of variation in what people expect a “Double Knitting” yarn to be, which is why we offer two different weight of DK. The Americans do it much better, so we’ve also included the US terminology below!
Please also remember that there is no set definition for any particular yarn – it can be whatever you want it to be. So if there is a type of yarn that you’d like that you don’t see listed here, please let us know or send us a sample and we’ll do our best to match it for you.
|Yarn Type||No. Piles||Yarn Weight||Needle Size|
|Superfine||2||c. 350-500 m / 100g||2¼ mm||No. 13|
|2||c. 300-350 m / 100g||2¼ mm||No. 13|
|2||c. 250-300 m / 100g||3¼ mm||No. 10|
|3||c. 200-250 m / 100g||4 mm||No. 8|
|3||c. 150-200 m / 100g||4½ mm||No. 7|
|Softspun light aran|
|2||c. 175-200 m / 100g||5 mm||No. 6|
|4||c. 120-150 m / 100g||5½ mm||No. 5|
|3 or 4||c. 80-120 m / 100g||6 mm||No. 4|
(thick single ply)
|1||c. 100m / 100g||8 mm||No. 0|
|Rug yarn *||1||c. 30m / 100g||Very large!|
(* Rug yarn is a thick ‘rope’ (but it’s much, much softer than that suggests) of alpaca fibre wrapped around a thin cotton core yarn to give it strength. It can be used for weaving, locker-hooking, knitting or crochet – all on satisfyingly large needles ensuring fast progress!)