What a Difference a Spin Makes:
Goddess Yarns Julia and Adrienne Vittadini Natasha

a skein of Goddess Julia
Goddess Yarns Julia
A skein of Adrienne Vittadini Natasha
Adrienne Vittadini Natasha

At first glance, these two yarns couldn't be more different. Julia looks like your everyday no-frills four-ply wool, which it isn't. And Natasha appears to be a fuzzy soft tightly spun single-ply acrylic blend, which it isn't.

Yet the two yarns share a unique and nearly identical fiber composition that blends alpaca, wool, and mohair, demonstrating that a yarn is not defined by ingredients alone.

Goddess JuliaJulia knit up
  A swatch of Goddess Yarns Julia
Julia is part of a new reasonably priced yarn line created by Maria Gornatti (of the Handworks Gallery). Called Goddess Yarns, the yarns are spun in Peru and tend to favor cotton, linen, silk, and wool blends for knitters in warmer climates. You can purchase Goddess yarns online through Needlework Unlimited.

Composed of 50% merino, 25% alpaca, and 25% mohair, Julia was created with the collaborative help of Kristin Nicholas. Each 93-yard skein retails for $5.95. The yarn knits up at a gauge of 5 stitches per inch on US 7 needles.

The colors are decidedly Kristin Nicholas—20 rich, strong, earthy hues. I used Harvest Spice.

Knitting with Julia
Julia slid through my fingers at a smooth and steady pace, producing an even piece of fabric with well-defined body. I was concerned that the plies would come unspun and snag on my needles, but this didn't happen.

I noticed a few inconsistencies in my stockinette, but with some gentle tugging here and there I was able to smooth them out.

The yarn has a faint halo of fuzz that reveals its alpaca and mohair content.

Possible Incarnations
Julia's excellent stitch definition makes it ideal for garments with elaborate stitch patterns. Likewise, however, Julia is also an excellent candidate for any multicolored project—say, for example, one of Kristin Nicholas' designs. Don't look to Goddess Yarns for many Julia patterns, at least not yet.

Fortunately, it's easy enough to find other patterns that work for a yarn of this gauge. An average medium-sized women's sweater will run you under $100, which is quite reasonable for a yarn of this composition.
Vittadini NatashaVittadini Natasha knit up
  A swatch of Natasha
Natasha is spun in Italy for Adrienne Vittadini Yarns. You can buy it online through the Handworks Gallery. Each 40g. skein holds 72 yards and retails for $9.95. It knits up slightly fatter than Julia at 4 stitches per inch on US 9 needles. My only lament is about the limited color range—only six colors: blue, brown, grey/green, sage, toffee, and pink/peach (names mine).

Natasha has a higher concentration of wool (56%) than Julia, with the remainder existing of alpaca (17%) and mohair (14%). (Note: These are Vittadini's numbers, even though they don't add up to 100%)

The yarn's surface is blurred by a hairlike fuzz, concealing a composition far more complex than its initial single-ply appearance.

Four fine strands of fiber are plied together with a superfine two-ply strand to create the base ply. Two of these are then plied with a fine strand of what appears to be brushed mohair, and you have Natasha. I consider it Aurora 8 with fuzz.

Knitting with Natasha
Whether it's the fuzz of the mohair or simply an intelligent person at the controls of the spinning machines—I don't know—but Natasha held together perfectly on my needles, knitting up quickly and easily with nary a snag to be found.

Within a few rows I was knitting by touch alone, needles furiously clicking away without a problem. Stitches were beautiful and even. It shed faintly in my lap while I worked with it.

Possible Incarnations
Although Natasha's knitted fabric has only modest drape, there's enough to reveal the figure that lies beneath. The plush, come-here-and-touch-me fabric would be perfect for that après ski gathering at the lodge in Vail.

And just like a night's stay in the lodge, a Natasha sweater will take a chunk out of your wallet. A medium-sized women's sweater with only modest patterning will run you between $160 and $200. But unlike that fleeting overnight stay, your sweater will last a lifetime.

Where to Buy Online
Goddess Yarns Julia: arrow Needlework Unlimited
Adrienne Vittadini Natasha: arrow Handworks Gallery

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