Rowan Polar was a very popular single ply bulky weight yarn which was discontinued over a year ago. There is always someone looking for a Polar Alternative. Including me. Valley Yarns are a new range of yarns from the people at Yarn.com, their Berkshire Bulky yarn is also single ply and has a similar fiber content. Here’s how they match up:
Polar – 60% pure new wool, 30% alpaca & 10% acrylic
Berkshire – 85% Wool, 15% Alpaca
Polar – Soft and fluffy, but a bit scratchy
Berkshire – Soft and smooth, but a bit scratchy
Polar – Tons of loft, in fact it has an almost mohair like fuzz.
Berkshire – It does have a halo of alpaca fibers, but mostly it’s a tightly wound yarn
Polar – This yarn does not pill, although the alpaca fibers do get matted if you felt it.
Berkshire – Difficult to tell, my instinct tells me that this yarn would pill, but it’s not one of those yarns that pills as you’re knitting it.
I knitted both these swatches on 6.5mm needles and as you can see from the photos the Polar looks a bit cramped. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the weight, but I think the fuzz on the polar is so substantial that it makes the stitches a little wonky.