Yarn Profile: Louet Signature Series Paco Vicuņas
Optim is a fine grade of Merino wool fiber that has been permanently stretched. As the fibers are stretched, the crimp is smoothed out, the scales flatten, and the fiber becomes much closer in look and feel to silk. The diameter reduces by several microns, producing a fiber that is finer and, thus, softer.
SeaCell is composed of 95% lyocell fiber (better known in the U.S. under its trademark name Tencel) and 5% seaweed. The fiber has a bright lustrous quality and provides seaweed extracts and a few other trace elements—magnesium, calcium, and vitamin E, to be exact.
And finally, Paco Vicuņas is actually a specific type of alpaca that displays "phenotypic attributes" of the Vicuņa. In other words, it's an alpaca that has been selectively bred to produce fiber similar to Vicuņa (a wild and extremely skittish cousin that lives in the Peruvian Andes and produces the world's finest fiber) while maintaining the more easy-going personality of the alpaca. These fibers come from the Switzer-Land Alpaca Farm in Colorado.
The yarn is a collaborative creation between Louet founder Trudy Van Stralen and Abby Franquemont. The Optim is dyed in a range of succulent gumdrop colors chosen by Van Stralen, while the SeaCell and Paco Vicuņas are left in their natural white and off-white colors (respectively) and blended into the mix—giving the yarn a somewhat swirly look. It was unveiled at TNNA last month and is not yet available in stores. When it does show up, try not to dilly dally—just a few thousand skeins will ever be produced.
I encountered just a few irregular spots and loose tufts of fiber as I worked. Many of them were rooted fairly deep in the yarn and I had to be careful when pulling them out.
Blocking / Washing
Yes, any yarn needs to hold together—and this yarn does that quite nicely. But its main goal in life is not to withstand being shoved into a pair of shoes. It wants to be knit into a lace pattern, blocked, and wrapped around your neck and/or draped over your shoulders.
The Signature Series Paco Vicuņas represents an artisanal approach to yarn that I deeply appreciate. It's a well-crafted yarn with which you can create a beautiful knitted fabric that's soft and warm, lustrous and hazy. And yes, at $60 per 350-yard skein, it's a little pricey—although the cost is clearly justified by the fibers themselves.
One-skein projects will be your friend. That's why I consider this yarn a prime candidate for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's beautiful cowl, when she releases the pattern—and I confess I'm hoarding the leftovers from my review for just this purpose.
Signature Series Paco Vicuņas
Fibre-Isle International for Louet
70% Optim wool
15% Paco Vicuņas
7-8 sts per inch on US 2-4 (3-3.5mm)
Average retail price
Where to buy online
The product is shipping to stores this month. Keep checking with Louet for details.
Weight/yardage per skein
50g / 350 yards (320m)
Country of origin
Spun in Canada
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Not listed on my skein label. I recommend washing in lukewarm water with gentle soap, rinse in same-temperature water. Blot excess water and block flat away from heat or direct sunlight.
Color used in review