All fibers have their pros and cons. A fiber may be very soft and feel lovely next to the skin but also pill and look worn out quite quickly. Another fiber may be very rugged, standing up to anything you throw at it, but is also coarse and scratchy.
Enter, yarn with a blend of fibers. Have you ever wondered “what’s the point of blending fibers together? Isn’t one good enough?’ Yes, sometimes a single type of fiber makes a great yarn on its own. However, blended yarns are like superheroes. They enhance the best qualities of each fiber while mitigating the less desirable qualities.
Let’s look at unSalted. UnSalted is a 50/50 blend of Coopworth wool and alpaca. You may already know how soft and lightweight alpaca is, but it doesn’t have much memory. On its own it tends to grow and sag over time. Coopworth is a less well known fiber. It’s thick and rugged, great for outerwear that gets a ton of use. It will last just about forever but you wouldn’t want it right next to your skin, though our coopworth fiber is lambswool, which makes it softer.
When you combine the two fibers - Zing! The alpaca adds softness to the Coopworth and the Coopworth adds structure and strength to the alpaca. The result is a yarn that will be comfortable indoors and out, though still a bit rustic for wearing next to the skin.
I chose to knit the Simply Detailed Vest in unSalted. It is a worsted weight yarn, so it knits up quickly. The resulting vest is a great top layer indoors. It can even be worn under another jacket if you need a bit of extra warmth outside.
The Simply Detailed Vest is one of my oldest patterns that my mother and I created for teaching students about garment construction way back when we had a yarn shop. It’s mostly stockinette stitch with some garter stitch accents. Easy enough for the beginner knitter, but has some interest for the more seasoned knitter as well.
To read about how unSalted was created, read the From Farm post by Kat here.