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Feathery soft knitting with Penna

by Cindy O'Malley

Welcome to another exciting week at KNITmuch, where I’ll be knitting with Universal Yarn Penna. Spun in Italy, Penna is a luxurious lace-weight blend of 50% baby suri alpaca, 28% extra-fine merino, and 22% nylon. It features a gorgeous halo that adds an ethereal quality to any project. On its own, Penna is best suited for garments and accessories with a loose gauge. When held with another yarn, the possibilities are endless.

Penna is available in 16 different colors of which I’ll be using 4 this week; Rose Kiss, Raspberry Tart, Mulberry, and Bordeaux.

4 skeins of Universal Yarn Penna in colors Rose Kiss, Raspberry Tart, Mulberry, and Bordeaux.

Penna is available in 16 different colors. Rose Kiss, Raspberry Tart, Mulberry, and Bordeaux are my color choices for this week.

Each .89 [25g] ball contains 186yds [170m]. This really speaks to the lightness of the fiber, and I think you’ll be surprised at how far a single ball goes in a knitted project.

Penna is rated as a lace weight, meaning that it knits at a recommended gauge of 22 – 24 sts and 36 – 38 rows over 4” [10cm] using a US Size 2 – 3 [2.75 – 3.25mm] knitting needle, or 22 – 24 sc and 24 – 26 rows with a US B/1 – D/3 [2.25 – 3.25mm] crochet hook. When a fiber is this light with such a beautiful halo, it begs to be knit at a very open gauge, which means I won’t be paying much attention to the recommended gauge this week. Instead, I’ll be knitting at a very loose and airy gauge using much larger needles.

As with all blended fiber yarns, the most delicate of the fibers dictates the laundry care, and Penna is no exception. Hand wash and lay flat to dry will keep your projects looking beautiful.

A close view of the yarn exudes the feathery halo – you can actually see how soft it is. Penna means pen, quill, feather or plume; of which the latter two perfectly describes this yarn.

4 strands of Universal Yarn Penna in Bordeaux, Rose Kiss, Raspberry Tart, and Mulberry.

A close up look at the individual strands reveals the feathery appearance and halo of Penna.

You may be wondering what the difference is between Alpaca and Suri Alpaca. According to

Moonacre Alpacas NZ  . . .

There are two types of alpacas: The “suri”, has no crimp so the individual fibers wrap around each other to form lustrous pencil locks that hang down from the body, parting at the spine. They almost look like dread locks. The fleece of the other type of alpaca is called the “huacaya”, which has fleece with waviness, “crimp”, that gives it a fluffy, Teddy Bear-like appearance. You can see the difference between the two in the picture below.”

The Suri (Photo of Hadstock NZ Cracka taken by Ann Weir) and The Huacaya ( Photo of Nevalea Helen taken by Amanda Bethune) Moonacre Alpacas NZ

The Suri (Photo of Hadstock NZ Cracka taken by Ann Weir) – The Huacaya (Photo of Nevalea Helen taken by Amanda Bethune)

We’ve all fallen in love with the Huacaya or Teddy Bear Alpaca that we get to meet at fairs, but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a Suri Alpaca; something to look forward to down the road at a fleece festival perhaps.

I have some great, yet simple projects in store for Penna this week. A tri-colored cowl, beret, and luxurious stole are on the list. Even though it’s lace weight, these are all projects that you can knit in a relatively short time, so you may be able to get another gift completed before Christmas. Tomorrow I’ll be knitting some swatches to see what needle size I’ll use for my projects since I won’t be following the recommended gauge from the label. I hope you’ll join me for the balance of the week as I explore knitting with Penna.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: Knitting swatches in keeping with an open and airy look


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