As I hinted earlier in the week, today I have an extra special FO to talk about! I’m happy to be part of the Blue Sky Alpacas blog tour for their new yarn, Extra, and its accompanying set of patterns: the Destination Collection.
Photo copyright Blue Sky Alpacas.
Extra is an Aran weight 2-ply yarn with a nice, tight twist. It comes in generous 218 yard skeins and somehow manages to feel both lofty and deliciously dense at the same time, likely due to the fiber blend. It’s composed of 50% baby alpaca/50% Merino wool, which makes it 100% Fiasco-approved.
Only the finest baby alpaca for my fella!
The Destination Pattern Collection was designed specifically to highlight Extra and was “inspired by hometowns, far-away places and everywhere in between”. I chose to knit the Tokyo Tower Bandana designed by Olga Buraya-Kafelian. It’s an interesting cowl/shawlette hybrid, similar to Carina Spencer’s Zuzu’s Petals (which we know I love), but with an entirely different construction.
Photo copyright Blue Sky Alpacas.
I was completely surprised by the layout of the pattern, I had never seen a pattern set up like a fold-out map before. I’ll admit that at first I was dubious (It’s so big! How am I supposed to read anything?!) but by the end of the project I loved how the layout folded up rather conveniently so only certain parts of the pattern were showing, and there’s no denying its visual charm.
Public domain photo.
As the name suggests, the lace on the bandana was meant to emulate the Tokyo Tower (pictured above). Truthfully, the lace detail is a bit minimalist for my taste. I’m much more of an ornate-leaves-and-flowers type of gal and less of a stark-urban-jungle dweller. It does, however, capture the vibe of the real life tower pretty well.
The view from the back.
The cowl begins in the round from the top with a simple garter stitch hem. It then transitions to a plain stockinette section with some increases down either side of the center back. After some time, a garter section is knit and then bound off. The rest of the bandana is then knit flat with decreases on either side forming the long triangle until the final stitch is closed off at the point.
My finished cowl.
I generally dislike following patterns with written-only instructions, I always end up wishing for a chart or for a more efficient use of stitch markers since I hate counting stitches on every row. Despite that, this was an enjoyable knit and fairly flew off my needles because the yarn was amazing to work with! It snagged a bit from time to time on my pointy needles but it was generally sleek, smooth, soft, and delightful to touch. It worked up into an incredibly even fabric that blocked very well.
The cowl, worn.
When I first finished it I was a little bit worried about how long the point seemed, but after a full couple of days of wearing it, it doesn’t seem overly long after all. I found the bandana looks best if the point is angled off to the side, rather than straight down, which is also how I wear my shawls most of the time. I really like this accessory and will get a lot of wear out of it this winter for sure, especially since the yarn is so luscious! I am often quite sensitive to the prickly guard hairs in alpaca, but there are hardly any in this yarn, it’s just all soft, buttery goodness. To hear a bit about Extra from the folks at Blue Sky Alpacas themselves, check out the video they made:
Now, how would you like to win a skein of Extra in the same blue shown above, with your own copy of the Tokyo Tower Bandana pattern, and a cute little Pretty Cheep Project Bag (not pictured)? This is my first time using Rafflecopter but you should be able to
click this link to enter the giveaway
and follow the steps to leave a comment and follow me on Twitter, share a Tweet, or like my blog page on Facebook for additional entries. (If for some reason the link doesn’t work, just leave a comment below and I’ll enter you manually.) The giveaway is open to all (US & International) and ends at 11:59 pm on Thursday, October 2. I will choose and announce the winner next Friday. Thanks for playing along, and thanks so much to the folks at Blue Sky Alpacas for the lovely yarn, pattern, and prize!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand last but not last, please check out the rest of the blog tour! A different pattern and color yarn will be highlighted at each stop, with a chance to win prizes at each!