Spotlight On: Terra

As we continue with our yarn spotlight, it seemed fitting to continue with a classic Fibre Company yarn: Terra.  Terra has been a favorite of fans of the Fibre Company for years, and if you have ever seen or knit with it, you will know why!  Terra is a blend of 40% Baby Alpaca, 40% Merino + 20% Silk.  Terra, more than any other Fibre Company yarn, has a very rustic look due to the slubs of the raw silk, but a soft hand which makes it not only a pleasure to look at, but also to knit and wear.  Terra is a worsted weight yarn -- the label has a recommended gauge of 18-20 sts/4″ and 98 yards per 50 gram skein and we have even knit it happily at 16 sts/4 inches. The fiber content (mostly alpaca and merino) and yarn properties (a single ply of medium twist) of Terra produces a lofty and medium-weight skein.

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Like all of the Fibre Company Yarns, Terra has a pretty hefty alpaca content, which, as we have said before, adds a ton of softness, drape and warmth.  The merino, in this case, adds warmth and softness as well, but also has a good amount of bounce to it, so depending on the application, the final fabric can have a lot of good structure.  The silk, while pretty common around here (it makes an appearance in 3 out of our 4 lines!), plays a different role in Terra than it does the others.  The silk is spun into the yarn in larger "noils", which is what creates the nubby texture and flecks, creating the rustic look.  The gorgeous, saturated colors and dyeing technique of Terra also add to this final overall effect.  Although a single ply, Terra has good stitch definition, and due to the fiber content, does not pill in the way most all merino single ply yarns do.

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From our past experience working in yarn stores, we know how to match yarn + pattern for the best possible final result.  Some yarns are great sweater yarns, some are at their best when in baby knits, some work well as a warm outer layers but aren't meant to be worn next to the skin.  Terra is one of those yarns that works just as well for accessories as it does garments as is soft enough for next-to-skin wear, has great drape + bounce (even we didn't know that was possible at first!) and is warm without being too heavy.

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Kate's Springtime Bandit is a perfect example of a successful accessory knit out of Terra.  The gauge for the scarf is 16 sts/4" -- slightly looser than recommended -- to create a fabric with a lot of drape and movement, enabling the scarf tot wrap beautifully around the neck.  The texture of the Terra also adds enough organic visual interest to the geometric patterning.  And, as mentioned prior, the softness makes the scarf perfect for next to skin warmth and wear.

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Another pattern that really uses Terra to its best advantage is the Hiker's Waistcoat, a classic Fibre Company pattern we have re-knit, edited and reformatted as a free pattern. The Hiker's Waistcoat is a twist on the popular fleece vest, most commonly used as a light and effective layer when outdoors in the changing seasons.  In our version, seed stitch on the sides and interesting shaping are used for a flattering, streamlined and structured vest that looks as good on the trail as it does while walking in the city.  The lightweight fabric adds warmth without added bulk and the texture of the Terra in the Stockinette Stitch creates a beautiful organic effect.

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And, of course, we both have Terra projects on the needles right now.  Kate is knitting a pullover that uses StSt to really show off he qualities of the yarn, and Courtney an accessory with a lot of stitch patterning for texture and dimensionality.   If you haven't given this classic and beloved Fibre Company yarn a try, find a stockist near you, grab a few skeins, and start knitting!