Ok, started a jumper with this amazing Alpaca but...

By the time I got to the armholes (knitting the beast in the round) I realised:

1. I don't like Seed Stitch en masse
2. My guage was f'ed..... Its HUGE.


Need to frog the thing and start from scratch!


rmbm612's picture

Hate to ask this question. Did you do a test gauge in the round? I did a jumper in the round to the arm holes then did moss stitch on the yoke doing the front and back separately, knitting back and forth. Its amazing how gauge changes when going from knitting in the round to back and forth. I also like the feel of alpaca, but its been my experience that alpaca yarns don't have the same elasticity and bounce back that sheep's wool has. For me, I have better luck knitting alpaca tighter. Alpaca doesn't "stick" to itself like sheep's wool does. I do commend you for seed stitiching the body. I would have given up long before the armholes. That is a lot of tedious, boring knitting. BTW, blocking my jumper wet didn't help. I actually threw it in the dryer hoping to shrink it. That helped but it is still on the large size.

ronhuber's picture

I agree with Bill. I knitted a vest with alpaca and it crept down to my knees!!! My sisters have had the same problems. One sister frogged the sweater, reknit it going down two needle sizes, and it still turned out too large and out of shape. I wonder if you would be better off to use the alpaca in a shawl where gauge is not that important. A lot of work down the drain. I can feel your pain. I no longer use the adjective "amazing" for alpaca in the same sense as you do.
If you have had good luck with your gauge when knitting with wool before this, then the problem is probably the yarn and not you.

PaulJMC's picture

Thanks boys, feel so much better after reading your comments.

Back to the drawing board. Less boring stitch and MUCH smaller!!!

In cielo non c'e vino...beviamolo sulla terra!

Tallguy's picture

Bill is quite correct that alpaca, while a lovely fibre, does not have elasticity nor memory. That is, it will stretch, but has no ability to pull itself back into shape. Even wet blocking will not return it to the shape it was before.

For this reason, alpaca is rarely used on its own for any garments. For a scarf, where size is not critical, that is not a problem. Even for small items like a hat or socks or mittens, you need to find ways to create some elasticity in it -- for example, ribbing. But even with that, you will find that pure alpaca items don't hold their shape well. Socks do not stay up, and hats are not as gripping as they should be.

Alpaca is usually blended with wool, or other fibres to provide the elasticity needed for sweaters. And also to lower the cost. Alpaca is quite heavy when compared to the same size and length of wool yarns, so a sweater will "grow" when worn. It will not bounce back to the original size and shape, sadly.

You have the option of ripping back... or perhaps one of the guys here will tell you how to tailor (cut and sew) it to a smaller size. I don't know if it will still not grow even after that.

Masala's picture

Thanks so very much for this input here, you have certainly opened my eyes before ever using alpaca yarn for a sweater that is not blended. I really owe you a lunch!! Cheers, Sid Plumb

james's picture

I was seduced by an alpaca when I made my first sweater years ago. He convinced me that the luxurious feel of his fiber was just what I needed to make Jared Flood's Cobblestone sweater. Well, he neglected to tell me that after a couple of wearings, said sweater would fit more like a dress than a sweater (I would make a hideous drag queen, so there's really no bright side to that story). He also failed to mention that, unlike my friend the sheep, Mr. Alpaca's fiber wouldn't breathe quite as much, and I would cook like the Christmas goose while wearing him.

Kerry's picture

I feel for you Paul, I'm just reknitting the body of a sweater which had a gauge stuff-up.

PaulJMC's picture

EEEK - thanks boys.

If it weren't so expensive I think I would just trade it in.

Just done three more swatches - one in St St and the other two are cables designs.

Think I am going to make it in a cable - and knit it flat so that the seems give it a bit more structure AND make it bit shorter but wear it around the houe till t drops to the right length! Fingers crossed!!

Back to the drawing board!

In cielo non c'e vino...beviamolo sulla terra!

Masala's picture

Paul, please give all of us update on this dilema and wishing you all of the best with is project, whatever direction you take! Cheers, Sid Plumb