Puffs of colour in a sea of softness

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Wool

Pompom by Australian Alpaca Barn

Pompom is a wonderful adventure to knit. It allows you to produce what looks like a complicated construction with straight forward designs.

The strand is constructed with the finest alpaca thread knitted into a tube and every 20 centimetres or so changes colour and increase weight to insert a small pom. When knit the pom bunches up and a glorious pompom is created. I have found that this looks even more wonderful when knit in reverse stocking net. I knit the wonderful Levenwick by Gudrun Johnston (which in my world doubles as my pseudo denim jacket!) and the pompoms bring it to life. I can’t count the number of compliments I have had on this garment.

The Australian Alpaca Barn specialises in quality products made from alpaca fibre grown in Australia and manufactured in either, Australia, New Zealand or Peru. My mother in law discovered this yarn on a trip to the Hunter Valley in Australia and brought it back for me. I instantly fell in love and had to order more to complete the Levenwick Cardigan.

I think Pompom is a great yarn for beginners as it knits up quickly and give a result that looks far more intricate and complicated than it really is. Great for wowing friends with your newly acquired knitting skills!

When knitting

DSC01845If you happen to be a new knitter be careful to put your needle cleanly between each stitch. It doesn’t happen often but you can get your needle caught in the knitted strand and you don’t want it to catch creating a small pull in the fabric. I like to use lace tip Addi Click needles and I’ve found Pompom a breeze to knit.

The yarn is very soft and beautiful against the skin. Being alpaca, it is very warm and makes a wonderful coat or jumper. The colours are really fun and I adore the colour Ocean that I have used. I’m tempted to get some of the Desert colourway too. When I was knitting with this the wattle was in flower and it made me think this may have inspired the yarn designer when thinking of an Australian theme for the yarn with the pompoms reminding me of beautiful wattle flowers. Some may be tempted to categorise this as a novelty yarn however I think due to its quality and beauty it is far from the frivolity of the types of yarns I would put in that category.

When blocking

The yarn flattens out and you can move the pompoms through to the side of the garment you would prefer them on. The object will increase in size slightly as the thick strand relaxes into shape. Definitely complete a gauge square to see how the yarn reacts in your hands. I found I could simply lay the item flat to dry without the need to pin block into shape. The lovely old shale pattern in the collar of my garment was lost a little compared to when I made the same garment from Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, so this is important to consider when selecting a pattern. The stitches blend together rather than being perfectly defined, depending on which stitch you choose.  Stocking Stitch still has lovely stitch definition while Reverse Stocking Stitch resembles a woven fabric giving you different options.

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When washing

The recommendation is to wash in tepid water which I did. I didn’t experience any colour run and the already soft yarn became even softer but held its shape well. I have found my cardigan durable and it has not pilled.

Conclusion

Pompom is a lovely unique yarn that knits up quickly to give some instant gratification that is a welcome treat compared to the slow burn of a delicate lace weight yarn. It is soft and warm and the colours are elegantly put together for a lovely result. If you happen to be in the Hunter Valley it is definitely worth seeking out as it is unlikely that you will come across this special yarn in your local yarn store.

Weight 10 ply – approximately
Length 200 metres / 218 yards
Unit Weight 100 grams / 3.5 ounces
Gauge 18 stitches per 10 cm / 4 inches / 24 rows
Needle 6mm / US 10
Composition and Origin 100% Australian baby alpaca made in Peru
Recommended handling Hand wash or dry clean. Wash in tepid water using a mild soap. Do not twist. Shape and dry flat on a towel.
Colour 7 different colour ways with various combinations of strand to pom-poms colours
Supplier Australian Alpaca Barn
Project Ideas Levenwick by Gudrun Johnston, Rosa’s Caponcho by Emma Fassio, Snowcloud by Hilary Smith Callis
Source of review yarn Received as a gift from my mother in law and additional yarn purchased by me.
Average Retail Price $19.95 AUD currency / 10 cents per meter

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