Artesano Yarns - Alpaca Silk 4-ply

© Artesano Yarns

Artesano Alpaca Silk's sheen is enticing and its soft feel doesn't disappoint either. The knitted fabric is fine and drapey, while the alpaca/silk combination produces a warm, insulating fabric. Simple cables look elegant, lace patterns show off the delicate haze, but knit and purl texture patterns look messy and lost due to the lack of elasticity and bounce in the alpaca and silk fibers. The yarn is soft and not prickly against the skin and would make a graceful shawl or cardigan to layer on as the colder weather arrives.

Yarn Info

  • Fiber: 70% Alpaca, 30% Silk
  • Yarn weight: 4-ply / Fingering
  • Yarn construction/texture: 3 plies
  • Manufacturer's gauge: 28 sts/36 rows in 10cm
  • Recommended needles: 3mm (US 2.5)
  • Supplied in: 50g skeins = 200 meters/219 yards
  • Care instructions: Hand wash, dry flat, do not iron


Alpaca Silk 4-ply stocking/stockinette stitch swatch

Both alpaca and silk have smooth fibers, allowing the light to reflect and shine. Combine this with the lack of any 'crimp' in the fibers - which reduces the elasticity, or resilience, of the yarn - and you have a yarn which knits into a beautifully draping fabric. Like many alpaca yarns, it feels a bit 'thin' while knitting, but the fibers relax into the space around them and the finished fabric is fine, yet cohesive and attractive.

The lack of elasticity and bounce meant that my swatch looked a little untidy in spots where my tension had been inconsistent, but blocking improved that substantially. I had some split stitches at first, but became accustomed to the yarn within the first few rows - another reason to swatch and get to know your yarn before diving into a garment.

Using 3mm needles I got a gauge of 28sts and 39rows after blocking.

Artesano Alpaca Silk 4-ply cable swatch


The cable doesn't have the bounce and texture that you would want for a robust and highly textured aran jumper, but the somewhat-flattened cabled stitches are neat and elegant. The light reflects gently from the curves, the haze doesn't over-power them, and I would be very tempted to add a simple cable, perhaps up the outside of the sleeves, to a long, draping cardigan using this yarn.

Artesano Alpaca Silk 4-ply knit/purl textured swatch

Knit/purl textured patterns

The Alpaca Silk did not work well with the all-over diamond texture pattern. The purl stitches fell back into the fabric, while still managing to distort the knit stitches surrounding them, and the overall effect was messy and unattractive. The only knit/purl texture I would introduce into a garment with this yarn would be a decorative ribbing.

Alpaca Silk 4-ply crocheted granny square

Crocheted granny square

The Alpaca Silk 4-ply was easy to work in crochet and produced a delicate fabric with a 3.5mm hook. It would a good choice if you were looking for a crocheted fabric that's not too dense, yet warm.


Pine cone lace pattern in Alpaca Silk Lace

Pine cone lace pattern in Alpaca Silk Lace

For the lace swatch I switched to the laceweight yarn in the Alpaca Silk family. It has the same 70% Alpaca, 30% Silk composition as the 4-ply, but is constructed with 2 plies instead of 3 and has double the yardage, 400m instead of 200m in the 4-ply.

Using a laceweight yarn takes a little practice getting used to, and wooden needles with a relatively pointy tip are helpful for keeping the stitches safely on the needles while still being able to manipulate them for the lace pattern. The 2-ply yarn can split, especially while getting used to the yarn. The swatch is knitted using a Fir Cone Lace pattern, on 5mm needles. It blocked as beautifully as you might expect, to give a delicate, super-light fabric, with just a slight haze of fiber. As you can see from the second picture, I blocked my swatch while it was still on the needles - it will make a fine scarf!

Washing and blocking

I washed the swatches in tepid water with a touch of detergent - no dye was lost. Once dry, the stockinette swatch became substantially more even, the lace opened up and the rib swatch stretched and relaxed. Blocking couldn't save the knit/purl textured diamond pattern though.

The prickle factor

I placed the stockinette swatch against my neck, held in place by my jumper. It turned out to be one of those happy occasions when I forgot about it until hours later! I would be very happy to wear this yarn next to my skin. I will say that I'm fairly robust when it comes to prickle though - I feel it, but it doesn't bother me. I could, for a short while, feel the swatch against my skin, so if you know that you're sensitive to prickle, you may want to swatch and test before commiting to an entire garment.

Wear and tear

After vigorously rubbing the stockinette stitch swatch, loose fibers began to collect on the surface. Further robust friction caused them to start gathering in clumps and eventually pills, which were not easy to pull away. Carefully using scissors to snip away the excess surface fibers left the fabric back in a good condition. In heavy-wear areas, such as where arms rub the body section of a sweater, this maintenance work on your fabric would be needed so that it stays looking good.

Disclaimer: This yarn was provided for review. At the time of writing, there are no affiliate or advertising links to this yarn on YarnSub, though there may be in the future.

Review by Wendy Peterson, on 4 December 2014