A couple weeks ago, I got my hands on this.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with almost all the yarns in the Blue Sky Alpacas line-up over the years and I have to say that Extra fits right into this high-quality, luxurious group. A blend of 55% baby alpaca and 45% fine merino, this newest addition to Blue Sky Alpacas’ yarns is clearly perfected by folks who hail from climes that know cold and know how to make the most of it. We all know there is almost no end to wools out there that keep us toasty in the coldest of winters, but combining alpaca and merino is a sure way to warm up even the chilliest day. Over the years, I’ve learned it isn’t always easy to successfully blend alpaca and merino. I’ve knit some yarns in which the blend has been too stiff or (dare I say it?) scratchy, but Extra is the complete package. Warm. Soft. Light. Bouncy. Take these characteristics to the nth degree and you’ve got Extra.
True to form for Blue Sky Alpacas, this yarn has its very own pattern collection to go with it. The Destination Collection is comprised of 6 unique patterns — all classic and wearable and each requiring only a skein or two of yarn thanks to the generous hank size of this yarn. Who could deny the beauty of the Cane Bay Wrap or how incredibly cozy the Tatras Fingerless Mitts would be sitting around the fire this fall?
I chose to work the Fractal Cowl designed by Kirsten Johnstone of Assemblage — a designer I’ve long admired. The Fractal Cowl is rated ‘advanced’ and I think that is very fair. It requires the use of a provisional cast-on as well as a chart and utilizes some cables and twists that lean toward the complex side of things. That being said, the pattern is very clearly written and presented making it accessible to those with some chart reading experience. I took a few starts to really get going on this cowl — which is about average for me, but once I was on the road… well, I was hooked. It was so much fun!
Most of my stitching took place outdoors while my kids had super soaker wars and that was fine by me!
Extra may be a decidedly cold weather yarn for wearing, but smallish sized projects of The Destination Collection are perfectly suited to knitting in the heat of the summer. Those looking to get a jump on holiday knitting (yes, I just said that in June), might want to take a look at this yarn & collection for luxurious gifts for special loved ones.
It may be a little warm for this cowl on this green, damp 85degree day in the Middle West, but as I said, it was the perfect summer knit and will make a go-to cowl this fall & winter. Really, is it any surprise that Blue Sky Alpacas is based out of Minnesota? Even after the coldest winter in the history of winter (I may be exaggerating a bit), with this collection and the beautiful, energetic Extra, the folks at Blue Sky Alpacas have made me long for the first snowfall. And that is saying something. Perhaps it’s saying, give me a little Extra any day.