Recently a knitter came into the shop with a conundrum. “I want to make something summery,” she said,”but I love working with wool.” How well I relate; there is nothing like the feel of stretchy, springy, bouncy wool yarn in the hand. Plant fibers, by nature, lack elasticity, but they don’t have to stay that way. The way they’re spun and plied into yarn has a major impact on the fabric they create as well as the experience of working with them.
Maya, a new yarn from Berroco, answers this conundrum by adding a bit of alpaca to a cotton base and constructing a chainette with those fibers. A chainette yarn is basically a knitted tube, and the inherent stretchiness of knitted fabric transforms that mostly-cotton fiber into smooth and stretchy yarn. It also creates a loftier yarn than plant fibers usually offer, much lighter in weight than we might normally expect from a worsted weight cotton yarn.
Before we placed our order, Anne acquired a sample skein of Berroco Maya for us to swatch and we were both impressed.
Anne began on a US size 6 needle, feeling that the suggested US #8 would make a floppy, loose fabric. She passed it on to me and I worked up to #7, and #8, and indeed, I preferred the denser fabric created by the #6. “Let’s block it,” Anne wisely suggested, and we were so glad we did. When the Maya swatch had a chance to bathe in lukewarm water and dry flat, it transformed, creating a much more cohesive fabric. We got a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch on the #8, exactly as the ballband had suggested.
What to make with Berroco Maya? The design team at Berroco has come up with a nice little collection of accessories and warm-weather garments that take advantage of Maya’s loftiness and drape.
Look for Berroco Maya and the Berroco Maya pattern booklet next time you’re seeking a summery, yet stretchy knit. See you at the shop!