Friday, May 21, 2010

Swatcheroo the First! #47 Ufizzi (and bonus )

Introducing: Swatcheroo, wherein I seek out alternative yarns for Verena Knitting patterns designed on yarn that is unavailable in North America, swatch the stitch patterns in question and discuss the results. I hope this will be helpful for readers of our North American edition who want to knit one of these patterns and may not be sure which yarn to choose.

My first pattern is #47 Ufizzi from the Spring 2010 issue. I have two skeins of yarn from Berocco, Ultra Alpaca Light, a blend of 50% Super Fine Alpaca and 50% Peruvian Wool, and Seduce, a blend of Rayon, Linen, Silk and Nylon. Actually Seduce is not a blended yarn in the usual sense, there is a core of 3 strands wrapped by a 4th (nylon) strand. The yarn has an interesting weight and texture to it and once it was in my hand I decided to try it out on another pattern as well, but more on that later. I thought this would be a potential alternative for those who live in warmer climates and don't want to even think about wool during the summer. It  knit into a more open fabric than the wool.

I like this yarn. The 3 core yarns are different colors so they create a tweedy effect as they peek through the black binder. The binder itself is shiny and gives the knitted fabric a sheen I failed to capture in the picture below. It makes a light fabric with nice drape that would be comfortable in warmer temperatures as well as air conditioned spaces. On #6 needles I got a gauge of 6.4 stitches to the inch in the textured pattern, so I'd need to adjust my needle size down to get the correct gauge, but not so much that it would significantly change the nature of the fabric produced.

The Ultra Alpaca Light is closer to the original yarn recommended which is 100% wool. It also renders a lovely drapey fabric, the halo of the alpaca and the loftiness of the yarn makes the overall effect more closed than the Seduce.

The colorway is less variegated than the Graphite, but it's a lovely shade of gray. This yarn would be a good substitute for the original yarn recommended in the magazine. I got a gauge of 6.26 stitches per inch on #6 needles in the textured pattern. The given gauge is 6 stitches to the inch, so a small adjustment of needle size would give me the correct gauge.

And now for the bonus Swatcheroo: once I looked at the Seduce and compared it to some of the other patterns I was looking at, I noticed that it was a potential substitute for #36, Orient Point. This is obviously a different color than we feature in the magazine, but I think that this yarn, which is available in many lovely colors would make a good substitute for this pattern. The lower segment, with two lace panels, is much wider in my swatch than the upper segment with two cable panels. The average gauge I achieved with #6 needles is 6.5 stitches to the inch. The gauge for this pattern is 6.25, so this would certainly be easy to adjust for.

This concludes my first Swatcheroo. If anyone has suggestions for patterns that you would like to see me discuss in this way, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments and I'll be happy to see if I can work out some substitutes in this space.

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