FO: Alpaca Lace Tunic

It’s been a stormy week – windy and cold, interspersed with periods of fine, sunny weather. Supposedly Spring here, I have been pleased for the bad weather – if it were warmer I wouldn’t have been able to wear my lovely new tunic. 

I had intended to knit this much earlier in the year, but I kept getting side tracked with test knitting and new patterns. I was determined, however, at the start of the month to sit at it until it was done.  Well, two pairs of socks and three test knits later…. I did manage it 🙂  This pattern is the Alpaka Tunic from Interweave Knits Fall 2009 edition. I loved it on sight, and determined to knit it right away – I got as far as ordering the yarn from WEBS, but it was really too late in the year to knit it by then. And so I stashed it away until now. 

Speaking of yarn, I knit this from Berrocco Ultra Alpaca, which was a very reasonably priced option for alpaca. It was my first go with this fibre – and it was a real pleasure to knit with. This yarn is 50% wool 50% alpaca, and is a three ply worsted weight yarn. It is slightly hairy, and also has a nice variation to it –  heathered I guess. It was nice to work with, and I didn’t find it at all splity. It also felted well for the joins.  I didn’t use as much as I thought either  –  Just under 6 skeins, so I have a bit extra to play with now too.

The pattern was clear and easy in terms of the lace. I did, however, make major modifications to it – some things just didn’t make sense. Why on earth would I want to knit it in pieces and seam?? It made no sense to me. So, I knit it in the round from the bottom up. The pattern calls you to cast on and knit front and back, and then pick up the stitches at the bottom afterwards for the moss stitch hem – I saw no sense in that either, so this was done first when I cast on.

I knit in the round until I hit the final decrease for the body, and then switched to knitting back and forth. This was really just a guess as I wasn’t sure what my total length from here to the shoulders would be and I ended up with 8.5 inches, and just, erm, fudged it a little. I like how the armholes fit anyway!

Next modification was to *not* cast off the stitches and then pick them back up again for the top section – seemed pointless to me. I did do the shoulder shaping as per the pattern though, and then seamed them up.  The sleeves I knit first up (as a gauge swatch) and then seamed them in as per the pattern.

So, all up my verdict is a good one. I love this – it’s big and cosy and warm and cute. I got quite a few compliments at school (and a fair few “Can you make me one” as well. Erm, no! (Although the very skinny teens who asked would probably take next to no time to knit for!!)  I can see me getting lots of wear out of this – maybe not this year – this cold spell can’t last forever (can it?) – but next year and beyond.

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3 Responses to “FO: Alpaca Lace Tunic”


  1. 1 Sarah September 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Looks awesome Sheryl, can’t believe you have finished it. YOur committment is fantastic. The colour looks beautiful on and really suits you.

  2. 2 Virginia September 25, 2010 at 1:15 am

    It’s really really beautiful! It looks lovely on you as well.

    As far as the seaming thing goes, I’ve recently become more of a seaming convert when it comes to things such as alpaca and silk, and here’s why:

    Alpaca, when it’s not blended with other fibers (so you’re safe!) has absolutely zero memory and stretches horribly after a while. No amount of blocking can get that stuff back into shape either.

    I’m guessing that the reason why the designer had it knit in pieces was to use the seams as a stability measure for the garment, as the alpaca yarn she used would probably grow (and grow) over the course of a wearing.

    By seaming it, she provided the garment with at least something that will help it keep its shape.

    And honestly, this is incredibly hard for me to admit, because I. HATE. seaming. I would much rather, a thousand times over, knit something seamless.

  3. 3 pippa September 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Oh cute, you clever thing!


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