April's Yarn of the Month is Mirasol's Wiklla. Wiklla is a blend of alpaca and cotton! Not a blend you see every day, but it's does make for a soft, unique yarn! Wikkla is a Quechua word that translates to "twisted". The Quechua are the majority indigenous peoples of the coastal and Andean regions of Peru. It's from this region that Mirasol's shepherds are found, and therefore, where much of the fiber for their yarn is sourced. (If you're curious about the Quechua peoples, you can start with this Wikipedia page.) Look at this yarn and you can see why they chose to name it "Twisted", it almost looks rope-like. But don't let that fool you, it's much, much, softer than rope!
Wiklla is a Bulky (5) weight yarn, so it's great for those "Holy Cat's Batman, it's snowing again?!" projects; you know the ones - you want something fun, fast, warm but still Spring-like. The bulky weight works up fast, the alpaca keeps it warm, the cotton adds a vibrancy to the colors, and the blend drapes beautifully.
Keep in mind that neither alpaca nor cotton have elasticity. Meaning they don't spring back into shape like wool does. This is seen by some as a negative, but really, you just need to pick your project and use of the yarn carefully. Sweaters and tops will "sag" and won't return to their unstretched size or shape, which isn't always a problem. Think of your favorite beach cover up or summer sweater, it probably hangs much differently than your favorite February sweater, and that's ok. It all depends on the look and feel you're trying to achieve.
Wiklla would make beautiful drape-y accessory for Spring or Fall (or even Summer if our current weather pattern continues). There are a number of patterns available on Ravelry for which this yarn would work well. The "Getting Warmer" cowl for example (photo left, (C) Espace Tricot ) would look great made with this yarn - and it would be warm and soft to boot!
Our changing weather at this time of the year has many of us reaching for a warm, bright, and stylish beanie. After all, it might be beautiful now, but it could be snowing by the time you go out for lunch! Tiffany Kuzniar's "Brassica" hat pattern would be a great hat for Spring and Fall in our region; warm and stylish but with the right yarn - something bright and less "wooly", like Wiklla- it would still give a nod to the occasional warm weather we experience during the transitional seasons of Spring and Fall. (photo right (C) Tiffany Workman)
These aren't the only two patterns that would work well with this yarn, just the first two I saw that made me go "ooohhh!" when searching Ravelry for bulky weight alpaca and cotton patterns. Check your library, you might have a great dog-eared pattern somewhere in your tomes and files that you've forgotten about. Just remember, this yarn isn't going to behave like wool, or even like most synthetic blends. Keep it's drape and lack of elasticity in mind when choosing your pattern and I think you'll be quite pleased with your results.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if I turn Wiklla into a crocheted cowl or scarf, I like the way this type of yarn looks when worked up into a drapey, open, crochet stitch - and this time of year, I wear a lot of lighter scarves and cowls. But a cursory search didn't yield any patterns that made me want to cake up a skein and start chaining. Don't be surprised if I "make something up".
As the yarn of the month, Wiklla is on sale through the end of April - 20% off! Regular price is $15.95 for a 100g / 109 yard skein. So stop in, check it out, start a project or plan one for the Fall.