Last week Holley's Yarn Shoppe did a Yarn Tasting sponsored by Cascade Yarns. Mike, their salesman extraordinaire, brought probably 20 different yarns that you could sample. I've heard of such things, but not been to one before. It was lots of fun. I brought my own needles, but they had some. When I think of Cascade, I think of Cascade 220 and Master's swatches. Perfectly good, serviceable yarn in over 100 colors, but after years of working on Master's swatches, it doesn't sound inspiring. But there were some very inspiring yarns. I played with four.
This one is Alpaca Lace. It was the last one I tried (I was running out of time so it is short) and it is nice but not really different from any other baby alpaca lace. I did like this color a lot though and they do have a wide range of colors and hand paints.
Second, was Heritage Silk, which is 85% super wash merino and 15% silk. I was intrigued by the combination. I don't use super wash that often, actually not at all. They had a sample mitten in it that was adorable, but it felt a bit scratchy. Maybe they didn't block it, because mine swatch feels pretty good. The stitch definition was very good - Master Knitters, do not pay attention to my tension - not ideal circumstances. On size two needles, I got 7 sts to an inch. I have a mitten template at 6 sts to the inch, but I don't think I would want to go up an needle size. Their mittens were lined for warmth and with this yarn, that would be advisable. It comes in 28 great colors so this is a definite possibility.
Third was Cash Vero, a merino, cashmere, acrylic blend. It feels great and much more cost effective than some of the yarns I have been using. It would be perfect for knitting for teenagers. Lots of great colors and the picture doesn't convey how great it feels.
The fourth was my favorite and it was actually the first I played with - Eco Alpaca. It is 100% baby alpaca in 24 natural, undyed colors. Some are blends of colors, what I would call marled. This is so soft without the scratchiness of some alpaca. Great stitch definition. On size four needles I had a gauge of 5 sts to an inch. This yarn is going to haunt me until I buy some and start knitting. (Unfortunately, it isn't one Holleys carries.)
All in all, a fun evening of playing with yarn. Thanks to Holleys and Cascade for doing this. I even won a door prize.