Friday, February 10, 2006

Now this is interesting. Maybe.

You may have heard that Berroco, purveyor of all yarns shiny and glitzy, added Norah Gaughan to its design team. This doesn't seem like an obvious choice, since Norah Gaughan's designs tend to be big on texture and cables, while Berroco's tend to be big on novelty yarns, metallics and eyelash.

This spring, Berroco introduced Ultra Alpaca, which is a blend of 50% superfine alpaca and 50% wool, in 50 (yes, fifty!) shades, with good-sized hanks of 215 yds/100g. It knits at 5 stitches to the inch and Berroco promises good stitch definition. Note the "White Collection," a set of seven patterns in Ultra Alpaca that are most un-Berroco-like. No smarmy short-haired model is involved, and the patterns have lots of cables, eyelets and other stitch patterns. Here's a vest and scarf combo:



Now Berroco's going to have to do quite a bit to win me over. Any yarn company that expects its customers to create this



or is willing to do this



to an innocent child is on my permanent shit list.

But it is an interesting twist in a fluffy, furry, otherwise unremarkable line of yarns and designs. Does this signal an industry trend away from easy, and chunky, and over the top, to more organic, real yarns and more technically interesting styles?

Probably not, but a gal can dream, can't she?

18 comments:

Stacey said...

We can only hope they have snapped back into reality. (that kid in the pumpkin made me laugh out loud!)

Anonymous said...

A couple well designed items do not make up for the hell berroco has subjected us to with their past creations. That poor child will be in therapy for years trying to get over "the pumpkin incident."

Kathy Merrick said...

I noticed the Norah Gaughan presence mentioned int her design blurb in the new Interweave.
Perhaps The folks at Beryuck-o have listened to the clamoring horde and are looking to turn in a more, erm, tasteful direction?
Wait, is that a flying pig outside my window?

Valerie said...

I opened up my Berroco email this morning, expecting the usual dose of fug, and some decent designs popped out! Apparently, the yarn is fairly affordable, too, at around $8 for 215 yards.

But can they keep it up? I doubt it. (Have you seen the rest of their new patterns?)

Valerie said...

I opened up my Berroco email this morning, expecting the usual dose of fug, and some decent designs popped out! Apparently, the yarn is fairly affordable, too, at around $8 for 215 yards.

But can they keep it up? I doubt it. (Have you seen the rest of their new patterns?)

Fredda said...

Let's pray. Om-m-m-m-m...

I was checking out knitting magazines at a non-independent bookstore along with two other people. A 30ish woman wearing a shrug and a boa; and a 50ish woman with a furry tote (pink and shades of purple!) When the younger one asked me if I buy knitting magazines, I told her I did and mentioned my business. She said "Oh, that's why. I never buy them; I just look at them." The other woman said, "Me too, I would never waste my money like that. I could buy a skein or two with that money." (I'm sure she was off to another non-independent store to buy that yarn!)

So who's buying them? And, why??

I think I'll send a note to Berroco, congratulating them on their brilliant choices--Norah Gaughan and the Ultra Alpaca.

JoVE said...

I'm dreaming with you, baby.

Christina said...

I'm still trying to quell the tic under my right eye from that pumpkin kid.

Marg B said...

I reckon Berroco was just sick of being featured on You Knit What

Pam said...

In the not to distant past, Berroco had decent patterns and yarn. Then, they jumped on the novelty yarn bandwagon...along with most large yarn manufacturers. After all, marketing is the name of the game. If there wasn't a demand, they wouldn't be making it. A lot of the novelty yarn is beautiful in the skein, but beyond a scarf, shawl (large scarf) or poncho (two or more large scarves) most of it's impractical hence the bizarre pattern support. That trend is waning as the "new, trendy" knitters get tired of knitting scarves. Hopefully, a large portion of those new knitters who were seduced by all that novelty yarn, will learn new skills and a craft that nearly died out, will continue to grow.

Acornbud said...

So funny but true. I hope it's the begining of a trend to the real away from the bizaare.

Carrie K said...

Well, clearly my decision to forego motherhood was a good one because that pumpkin suit is cute. I would so inflict that on my innocent child. Hmmm. Do I know any innocent children in that age range? .......nope, I think they lucked out. Their children are in for therapy though.

Ann said...

We could always just print out the patterns we like (who, moi??) and use yarn we already own. . .

In denim blue alpaca. . .the little cropped lacy cardi, why?

=Tamar said...

Even if it's a blip in the screen, the yarn sounds really nice and the design is pretty good. The only thing that will encourage them is sales. I wonder whether any of their whites are unbleached enough to take dye.

Dharma said...

I say dreams are a god thing. While it's true many of their patterns are appropriate for You Knit What?, these are nice, if a bit bland designs. I love the number of colours.

Lola Lee Beno said...

I do so hope you're right about this shift. But we'll have to wait and see if this is genuine.

anmiryam said...

Back in the old days they had some nice yarns and designs (Bluefaced Leicester and Wensleydale were fabulous, classic yarns). Maybe they're seeing the novelty business is fading and retooling to the new market.

I think the new alpaca/wool blend is an attempt to compete directly with Nashua's Creative Focus Worsted, as well as long time competitors like Cascade 220.

Alma said...

However, they should get a reward of some kind for providing the world with such an adorably sulking little pumpkin. That is priceless!