Review: Berroco Vintage
We love our US yarns! This week Amy Kaspar reviews Berroco Vintage…
Since this column requires me to be quite a prolific knitter, I am constantly making one-ball and one-skein projects so I can move onto the next yarn or set of needles. And now, since winter is upon us, I am looking around at the heads of friends, wondering why they are bare and fashioning hats for them. In walks Berroco Vintage.
For the review, I used one skein of Berroco Vintage in colour 05107 Cracked Pepper, and a set of 40cm/16″ 4.5mm/US7 circular knitting needles by KnitPro (we Americans know them as Knitter’s Pride).
Berroco Vintage is a worsted- to Aran-weight workhorse that comes in around 75 colours on the LoveKnitting site, and with its fibre content of wool, acrylic, and nylon, the yarn is also machine washable. The woolliness (it’s a word), the washability, and the choice of colour opens this yarn up to pretty much every possibility in the world except for functional washcloths and felting projects. So how did it go, you ask?
The needles I used are actually coated wood, instead of bamboo, so they do have a pretty slick surface. There is over 50% wool in Berroco Vintage, so it is certainly sticky enough to handle more smooth needles, even for beginners. The colour I chose is heathered, so there were little random complimentary-colour fuzzies which stick up from the yarn, but it does not take away from the stitch definition. The high wool content also keeps the yarn’s spring quite a bit, so ribbing and cartridge stitch, which are the two stitches I used here, will bounce both left to right and up to down.
If you are an Aran- or Alpine region traditionalist, and you love your twisted stitch and cable patterns, then you will be a fan of this yarn because it allows the cables to enhance your work instead of take it over. Some yarns with more complex twists are made to “pop” the cables off of the fabric, but Berroco Vintage will be more kind to the design, and allow the cables and twists to enhance the pattern, instead of overbear the overall shape of the garment. This is an important quality because your pieces will look more timeless in this yarn than in a more defined twist.
Using the yarn was quite pleasant; the hand was a bit more woolly than the heathering would make you think. It also has a nice, durable feel without feeling like acrylic. The nylon gives the yarn that indestructable quality, while the wool gives each stitch a huggy little grip on the needles. I did find it a bit splitty for its size, but that is mostly because the needles I used were super-pointy. Something to keep in mind: when someone complains about a yarn being splitty, quite often it is because the needles they are using are too sharp for the yarn, or they are paying more attention to television than they are with their knitting. Blunt needles means less splitting and more satisfying knitting-and-telly time.
I threw the finished hat into the washing machine in cold water with my blue jeans, and I laid it out to dry on the dashboard of my car. While the item fuzzed up only slightly, it did not pill and the fuzz did not take away from the item. It looked washed, but it still looked new. I just picked off a couple of the little fuzzballs that will naturally occur from using a wool yarn, and went about my day.
Berroco Vintage is warm enough for accessories, thin enough for traditional colourwork, washable enough for baby items, and certainly strong enough for your home decor. It can be considered a go-to yarn for any time you just want to pick up the needles and start knitting; this is the time of year where you can cast on a scarf and have absolutely no trouble finding a recipient. On size 4.5mm-5.0mm knitting needles, baby items will whip up quite quickly, and there will be no fear of the mother or father shrinking the item in the wash. While I did not test the item in the dryer, there was no bled colour onto my towel on the dashboard, and a permanent press setting might be okay for drying this yarn in a machine.
Are you ready to make your first fair-isle pullover? What about a pair of cabled fingerless mitts? Or super-thick socks? Or an afghan in sewn-together squares? Or…like I said, the possibilities are pretty much endless with a workhorse yarn such as Berroco Vintage. And at 198m/216yds per hank, there is plenty of yarn to test out a smaller project before commiting to a larger one. Try it on your next worsted- or Aran-weight project, and let the yarn make something pretty for you.
Last updated: November 4th, 2014.