/blogs/journal/an-ode-to-alpaca-weaving-yarn

An Ode to Alpaca

by Christine Jablonski

Every now and then, a yarn comes along that’s just so good, it makes you question why anyone would ever want to do anything but weave. Ode, our new baby Alpaca yarn available for pre-order today, is such a yarn. I cannot stop weaving with this lofty, round and airy fiber—it is absolute heaven. 

Ode is slightly thicker than the 3/10 Alpaca that we’ve carried for years. And, hard as it is to believe, even softer than the 3/10, but just as sturdy—it wove beautifully on both my rigid heddle and 4-shaft looms. 

When planning the sample projects for this line, Sarah encouraged me to try a looser sett than I had planned, because it would allow the softness of alpaca to come through. I admit, I was skeptical—at 8 epi for plain weave on my rigid heddle loom, I felt like I was weaving gauze. When my weaving rolled over the cloth beam, the weft gapped and condensed. While that was a little concerning, it was easily remedied off the loom by running the tip of a blunt tapestry needle between the weft picks to straighten them out.

Ode on the loom

But the wet-finishing proved Sarah right—this is a yarn that really wants space. Out of the bath it fulled into itself beautifully and hit a perfect balance between structure and drape. 

Ode Dots, Dashes, and Stripes

Here's a photo of this project on the loom, and after wet finishing:

On my 4-shaft loom, I sett Ode at 10 epi for a 2/2 twill. My advice is to “place” the weft very, very gingerly. With a heavier beater it is exceptionally easy to over-pack this yarn—I aimed for 10 ppi and loved the result. 

Ode Scarf

I am looking forward to mixing these yarns in warp and weft. Ode would make a lovely pattern yarn for an overshot alpaca project, or could be used to accent the 3/10 colors. 

Speaking of colors, I have woven with all but the Basil and Obsidian. The Ode colors are pretty stable. The Boysenberry did turn the bathwater a bit pink, but did not stain the Blossom that was woven with it. So if you see some color release when you first wet-finish your piece, do not panic. If you are really concerned about color-bleed, add a color catcher sheet to the cold water bath. 

To learn more about Ode, visit our presale page here.

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