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Idontdoyarn

Help with Alpaca

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Hello all,

I'm the anomaly on this forum I'm sure. I don't knit, I don't crotchet (although I did make a nose muffler once, but that's a different story). However, I got my grandmother to make me an afghan. I picked out the Fields and Furrows afghan from Crochet 365 Knit Too, to be made out of Blue Skies Suri Merino, which is 60% Baby Alpaca, 40% Merino. It's supposed to knit up to 20-24 stitches per 4", while the original yarn was 20 per 4". The pattern calls for an h8 hook, but I'm not sure if that's the right size for the yarn, since I've heard that alpaca stretches and you need to go down a hook size. The pattern calls for 1900 yards of yarn, and I bought 2100 so I have some leeway with sizing. What size hook should I get my grandmother (normally an acrylic user) to use so the afghan remains in a recognizable shape?

Thanks,

Paul

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I do not work with any wool at all, but I looked up the yarn and it is saying an F or G hook is recommended.  I am sure there will be someone on her who works with wool.  I wish I could, but it makes me itch.

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Posted (edited)

I dont work with wool either.  Tampa Doll already checked as I was going to say a lot of yarn comes with a recommended size hook to use on the package.  It is more of a suggestion.  Patterns will say to use a different sized hook with a specific yarn depending on what effect they are after----dense thick or lacey.  Tension varies from person to person.  Someone that crochets tight may have to use a larger hook to get the same effect while others have to use smaller hooks.  We are trying to match the guage of the person that wrote the pattern.

Does or has your grandma crocheted before? If so does she have a preference on which type of hook she likes to work with.  Some hooks come in a multi pack and are not terribly expensive.  

I love the texture in the pattern you selected.

https://www.crochet365knittoo.com/fields-and-furrows-crochet-afghan/

Hopefully Granny Square will check in.  She is great at explaining how to make a swatch and do the calculations to make patterns work.

Edited by bgs

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i'm like your grandmother, not much of a wool user. I did make one alpaca alpaca project and discovered it will felt much readier than lamb's wool.  I haven't worked with merino specifically.  This blanket will have to be washed very gently by hand, and air dried.  Remember it's the agitation more than heat that shrinks wool.

But, since that's what you're working with...I hadn't noticed my alpaca project, which is a wearable (spats/ankle warmers), stretched out of shape but they're not subject to much abuse (they button on, and just sit there).  I haven't managed to felt them yet, I just noticed the quick felting when 'spit splicing' only took about a nanosecond and other wool takes longer to splice.  

The gauges and hooks mentioned above all seem to be about 'in the same neighborhood', but as also said everyone's gauge is different, I may hit gauge with a G hook but your grandmother may need an F or H.  If your grandmother is a crocheter, and 'an acrylic user' these are very common sizes that she's likely to have already - ask her what sizes she has in her hook collection.  

ALSO - if you do have to buy hooks for her, ask her what hook brand she likes.  There are 2 main brands in the US, Boye and Bates, the tips are shaped differently and a lot of us crocheters are VERY particular about which one they prefer.

As far as gauge..a blanket usually doesn't have to be as exact as say socks, but if you don't exactly hit gauge you can figure out how big the thing will end up at YOUR gauge versus the pattern.  Example, let's say the blanket is 200 stitches across for easy math.  If your gauge is 20 stitches per 4", 4 divided by 20 is .2", the width of 1 stitch.  .2" x 200 stitches = 40".  Now let's say your gauge is 24 sts per 4", so .167" stitch width, x 200 stitches is 33.4".  For a blanket, I wouldn't worry about stitch height since you can usually add or subtract rows.

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Ah Now the experts check in.  I knew Granny Square would pop in.  She is the one I would go for help.

I love the pattern you chose.

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Thanks for all of the help here! I'm getting in a little over my head with all of these yarn gauges, etc., but if I don't do it, I know my grandmother won't :)

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21 hours ago, bgs said:

I love the texture in the pattern you selected.

 

Yes, I really like that too. I've spent somewhere around five months looking for a good pattern; I'm a rather picky person. 

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21 hours ago, bgs said:

Does or has your grandma crocheted before?

 

Yes! Crocheted things are one of her favorite gifts for grandchildren (of which I am one of 33!).  I think she has one of every hook size ever dreamed up, with quite a few duplicates. Finding the right size hook is no problem. 

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19 hours ago, Granny Square said:

As far as gauge..a blanket usually doesn't have to be as exact as say socks, but if you don't exactly hit gauge you can figure out how big the thing will end up at YOUR gauge versus the pattern.  Example, let's say the blanket is 200 stitches across for easy math.  If your gauge is 20 stitches per 4", 4 divided by 20 is .2", the width of 1 stitch.  .2" x 200 stitches = 40".  Now let's say your gauge is 24 sts per 4", so .167" stitch width, x 200 stitches is 33.4".  For a blanket, I wouldn't worry about stitch height since you can usually add or subtract rows.

 

That would work really well if I could figure out how much the alpaca will stretch. What I've read is go down a hook size and make the project undersized, and then it will stretch out to the proper size. What I don't know is how undersized the afghan will have to be made, that's what's stumping me. 

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Posted (edited)

Do you have your heart set on the afghan being an exact size?  

Also want to point out that when you change yarn and hook size from what was used in pattern besides size it could also affect the way the texture looks.  

Edited by bgs

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No, I'm good if it changes size (just not like 20" : ). A bit of difference in the texture wouldn't bother me either. My main worry is that I don't want it to assume a parallelogram shape or some other weird thing from it stretching out (at least too much). 

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Even acrylic stretches out of shape depending on how it is handled especially If its a big heavy afghan and you happen grab a small part of it and not support the rest of it. Sometimes they stretch out of shape while you are making them if you arent careful to support the weight.  

Sometimes we just have to take a chance using the best info we have.  A stretched out afghan can be a sign that it was loved and used.   Let us know how it turns out.   We love seeing photos of people's work.

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