Monday, July 26, 2010

Fall preview: Berroco

This is the time of the summer when -- if you live in the same climactic zone that I do -- the irony is inescapable. It is, literally, going to be 90 or more degrees F here today, and yet I am writing a blog post telling you about yarns made of wool and other cozy, heat-inducing fibers. But it's fall preview time here at GKIYH and if you are an early bird, you may be interested in casting on a new project now in order to finish it by the fall. (Or perhaps you are just a complete whore for yarn, like me, and like hearing about what's coming this fall...)

Fremont by Cirilia Rose (Vintage)

You've heard me kvell over and over again about the terrific yarns and patterns Berroco has produced in the last couple years under Norah Gaughan's direction. So I won't blather on and on about it any more. Let's head straight for the good stuff: the yarn and patterns.

Ana, by Cirilia Rose (Remix)

This fall, we're going to see five new yarns from Berroco. Two are new weights of some familiar favorites, while three are brand-new yarns. While in the past couple of years, Berroco was producing a lot of all-natural fiber yarns, this year, almost all but one of the new yarns include some synthetic content. I wonder why this is: price sensitivity, given the economy? desire on the part of knitters for more machine-washability?

Daron (Remix)

Maybe one reason is the desire to source reused fibers. Berroco Remix uses 100-percent recycled fibers -- 27% cotton, 30% nylon, 24% acrylic, 10% silk and 9% linen, a pretty eclectic combination. The end result is a non-wool, machine-washable tweed yarn. It's heavy worsted weight, and you get 216 yds/100g for ten bucks a ball -- an alternative for the wool-allergic at a versatile gauge, and around the same general price point as the uber-popular Cascade 220. (Even those who are not allergic to wool may appreciate the cooler blend of fibers for wearing on less-frigid days.) Remix comes in twelve colors, about half of which are neutrals; the others tend to deep, rich shades like a rich ruby red and a deep orange, along with favorites like denim blue and buttercup yellow.

Abi (Remix)

If you are looking for a yarn to wear on freezing-cold days, you can try Campus or Borealis. Campus is a blend of wool, acrylic and a little alpaca (the exact proportions are 50% wool, 40% acrylic, 10% alpaca), in a bulky weight (handwash).

Lutt-Witt (Campus)

Campus is priced at ten bucks a ball, and you get 130 yds/100g, knitting at 3 sts per inch. The texture is slightly thick-and-thin, and it's got some multicolored plies, although the nine color combinations tend toward the subtler rather than the crayon box.

Bourtanger (Campus)

Borealis also knits at around 3 sts per inch,

Outre, by Cirilia Rose (Borealis)

and features a 60% acrylic/40% wool mix. Borealis is also a multicolor but with brighter combinations than Campus. It retails for $14 a ball, and you get 108 yds/100g, with 10 colorways.

Boyd (Borealis)

I mentioned in one of my TNNA posts that in light of the economic situation, I got the impression that some of the yarn companies were trying to reduce the risk of introducing brand-new yarns by bringing out newer weights of old favorites. It makes sense: if you know customers like a yarn, it's less risky to get them to buy a different weight of that yarn than one they've never tried before.

This fall, you'll find Blackstone Tweed Chunky, a bulkier version of Berroco's popular Blackstone Tweed. Like the original, BT Chunky is a blend of 65% wool/25% superfine kid mohair/10% angora rabbit fluff but instead of knitting at 4.5 sts to the inch, the chunky version knits at 3.5 sts to the inch. There are ten colors, again with lots of versatile neutrals as well as favorite shades like blues and rich red.

Emerson Pullover, by Norah Gaughan (BT Tweed Chunky)

Similarly, the popular Vintage gets a thicker sibling; Vintage Chunky retains the 50% acrylic/40% wool/10% nylon blend of the original, but knits at 3.5 instead of 4.5 sts per inch. Vintage Chunky debuts with a nice selection of 24 colors, with a brighter palette than some of the other new yarns. Vintage is labeled for gentle machine washing, always a plus.

One of the great things about Berroco under Norah Gaughan is the strength of the pattern support that is offered. This fall, Berroco is releasing seven pattern booklets.

Aquamarina by Norah Gaughan (Lustra)

Gaughan fans will be interested in Norah Gaughan Vol. 7, the latest installment of her designs.

Zolfo, by Norah Gaughan (Ultra Alpaca + Lustra)

The booklet contains 17 designs inspired by "crystals, geodes and gemstones," and uses mainly the popular Ultra Alpaca yarn, along with Lustra.

Stibnite, by Norah Gaughan (Ultra Alpaca)

A book dedicated to the new Remix features knits for the family -- children's as well as a few adult garments; the book dedicated to Campus contains basic pieces for women; the Borealis book is also women's garments, mainly sweaters, but with more dramatic style. A booklet containing Blackstone Tweed in original and chunky weights is devoted to classic garments for women,

Reid, by Cirilia Rose (BT Tweed)

while a Vintage original and chunky weights booklet looks like it was designed to appeal to a slightly younger demographic (with that adorable Cirilia Rose modeling).

Vashon by Cirilia Rose (Vintage Chunky)

The final new booklet is a combination of sweaters and accessories in super-thick Sundae and Peruvia Quick.

Berroco's fall yarns and pattern booklets are already being shipped to fine yarn emporia like Loop and WEBS.

More yarn previews and book reviews coming soon....

1 comment:

Liz K. said...

Thanks for the review -- I just wanted to point out that the remix booklet is modeled by my friend & Vermont knitblogger Abi & her family at their Vermont farm: