I've come full circle when it comes to Berroco. Way back about ten (or more??) years ago, they used to have single-breed, all-wool yarns that I really liked; one was called "Wensleydale Longwool" and the other was some kind of Leicester. Then it seemed they started shifting focus to novelty yarns, the bumpy and the shiny and the bling-y, and I lost interest. (We won't even talk about the Berroco Chick.) Then Berroco did the smartest thing they've ever done -- they hired Norah Gaughan. (Whatever they're paying you, Norah, it should be MORE...)
Now I'm in love with Berroco again and completely transfixed seeing what kind of wonderful pattern booklets and yarns -- especially the all-natural fiber yarns like Pure Merino and Palace -- they come out with.
At TNNA, the lovely Cirilia Rose (formerly of WEBS), who now works at Berroco, showed us some of the new yarns and patterns coming this fall. Berroco definitely has gotten the message that the economy stinks and is offering yarns that feature good price points relative to yardage, which should make thrifty knitters happy. At the top of the list was Vintage Wool, a worsted-ish-weight blend of wool/nylon/acrylic that truly, really doesn't feel like it has 55% synthetic in it. (And I'm sensitive to these things!) The colors were nice, the hand was good and it's machine wash -- and a super price point, about six bucks for over 200 yds. (Good for kids' knits, with that machine wash thing, and some good fun colors.) Another new yarn is called Blackstone Tweed, 4.5 sts per inch, with a unique (for tweed) blend of 65% wool/25% superfine mohair/10% angora. Lustra is a 50/50 blend of wool and tencel, with sheen and a soft, single-ply construction -- another great price point, at $9 for about 200 yds of aran-weight yarn. Finally, Sundae is a bulky (around 2.5 sts to the inch) blend of 50% wool/50% acrylic, with plies of various colors, most of them on the conservative side. Another relative bargain at $9 for 62 yds, which is pretty good for yarn this bulky. In their existing lines, the popular acrylic/nylon blend, Comfort, now comes in heathered shades, and the lovely Pure Merino now comes in a "chine" or marled look.
I always find myself especially keen to see the patterns that Norah and her talented design staff cook up. Yes, there will be Norah Gaughan No. 5 and it looks like it won't disappoint, but I was also pleased to see a separate collection by Norah just for men. There was a cute pattern booklet for little girls featuring Comfort, and a great collection by Cirilia for tweeners, that hard-to-fit age when girls don't want "babyish" stuff but their moms don't want them wearing Brittney Spears/cleavage-hanging-out stuff either. That book features Vintage Wool and I certainly intend to get a copy for Miss Thang. (If she won't wear any of the patterns, I can roll it up and use it as a stick to defend myself....) There are also 3 other booklets devoted to the new yarns, one each for Blackstone Tweed, Sundae and Lustra.
So... get ready for lots of new lovelies from your friends at Berroco. It looks like the Berroco website has already started to feature teasers of some of the new yarns and patterns.