15 November 2011


My parents live within stone-skipping distance of Swisher Creek Alpaca Farms. I had no idea that they had a shop on the premises, so it came as quite a surprise when my mom mentioned that I might be interested in going to check it out. 

The alpacas aren't normally available for public visits, but every once in awhile, they'll open up the farm for visitors and a market. I happened to be in town one weekend and got to meet several of their alpacas.

Unfortunately, the alpacas aren't generally for sale. Nor do they fit in an overhead bin... But you know what IS for sale? YARN. Tons of it. I went to the shop at the beginning of the summer and came home laden with purchases. I scored two skeins of natural suri, but most of my cash was spent on this:

That, friends, is a giant hulking pile of DK weight alpaca, next to my dog (for scale). The yarn is gorgeous: it's intensely black, with a bit of a shimmer.

I lightened the photo, so you could see the twist and texture. It's lightweight, fluffy, and insanely warm. I have 1600 yards in 8 skeins. The fiber is courtesy of Pistolero, a Huacaya alpaca that apparently doesn't believe in smiling for photographs.

I've had the yarn for a few months now, and I have been drawn to it more than usual lately, while going through my stash. 1600 yards is definitely a sweater quantity, but I've had some problems landing on a pattern. At first, my plan was to do a classic v-neck pullover, but then I remembered my Textured Tunic, which sees almost no playtime in this climate, and I decided a cardigan would be a better direction. Something warm and enveloping but layerable. I returned to Rav's pattern database and came up with some candidates:

Cassis by Thea Colman (I would lengthen the sleeves):

Zephyr by Tori Gurbisz... Remember her? She's the Caliper designer. 

They're all gorgeous, but black is such a difficult color. Textures are subtle, and too much can be harsh. Black is my staple neutral - I eschewed navy and brown about 3 years ago and haven't looked back. Maybe I should do some photoshopping to get a more accurate idea of what each FO might look like...

Leave your pick in the comments!
- YX


  1. I like the Autumnal Cardigan. Some texture, but not too much so there's not a lot of wasted effort if it's too dark to see. The sleeves look rather long in that picture, though. I think the length for Zephyr look better, especially since they have a cuff that can be turned back.

  2. I know I voted Cassis last night on twitter, but I think I need to change my vote to Zephyr.

  3. I'd go for Snowbird or Autumnal. Alpaca has a lovely drape but doesn't really show off textured stitches too well.
    So jellus of your alpaca stash. Makes me miss my Vancouver Island alpaca friends...

  4. Zephyr and Snowbird! Knit both and send one to meeeeeeee!

  5. I'm in love with the Autumnal and Zephyr cardigans! I'm also super jealous of your gorgeous alpaca yarn. So exciting!

  6. You guys aren't helping me! Now I want to knit them ALL!

    Maybe I'll just knit one, frog it in a few years, then knit the next one? The ever-changing sweater!