I have been carrying Mohair Silk Lace for awhile now and it has always been quite popular.
But a new option is out there that is a great substitute for mohair silk: Suri Silk Lace! Adding soft halos to tops and wraps, lots of projects calling for it to be held double with other yarns, it has been popping up all over the place.
In March 2021, I finally decided to order some and experiment with it! Was it very different from mohair silk lace? It is a perfect substitute? Well, that depends on the fabric and the colours that you’re looking for!
Suri Alpaca Lace
74% suri alpaca 26% silk 50g/328 yds
Let’s start with raw Suri Alpaca fibre.
If you have never handled raw Suri Alpaca fibre before, it’s quite lovely and super soft! The first time I bought some was at a small festival. The vendor handed me a small bag of fibre and at first, I thought they were giving me human hair because that’s really what it looked like! Then….I took it out of the bag and felt it….and it was amazing!
There are 2 types of alpaca:
Huacaya grow a crimpy fibre, reminiscent of sheep fleece, and they look like cuddly little teddy bears! Suri alpaca grow long thin lockswhich may LOOK like hair, but are incredibly soft to the touch, with a gorgeous sheen! The long staple and smooth scales make it a great option for those who want to add a soft halo to their project but who find mohair a bit on the prickly side.
I wanted to see for myself the difference in the two yarns when knit up so I created a small sample. You can really see how different they are as a fabric and the differences are really apparent.
1) Suri offers a fuller halo
The first thing you notice right away is the difference in halo.
Suri is a longer fibre and so it has a looser twist to create the suri silk lace. This allows more of a halo. This is obvious in my sample. The bottom of this sample is the suri and as you can see, the stitches are fuller and the halo fills the empty space, unlike the mohair silk sample above it.
That would also suggest that the alpaca would be warmer as it is a somewhat denser fabric.
Depending on the type of fabric you are hoping to knit or crochet, this may affect whether you choose suri or mohair.
2) Suri may soften colours (Not always though, check out my Neon Suri Lace!)
I can get lovely saturated colours on the suri but the mohair silk allows for brighter colours.
These two skeins above were dyed in the same tray but based on the colour info, you can easily tell which fibre above is the suri and which is the mohair. (Mohair is the top fibre, suri is on the bottom) So your colour preference may also dictate which fibre you choose.
I think my next step in this experimentation is to make a Rock-It Tee (By Tanis Fibrearts) with Suri Alpaca. I already have one made with Mohair Silk and I think having two of the same shirts, each made with a different fibre, will really allow me to experience the difference between them!!