Down a Size

Needles, that is…

I’m working on a surplice top for Cast-On and they’ve sent me a new yarn from Cascade to use for it. Originally I had swatched it in Karabella Aurora 8 in a solid color – this yarn is a slightly multi-strand cotton (?) in many, many colors (each strand is variegated – it’s like a rainbow!)

It’s a beautiful yarn, but this requires a re-think of the design. I’ve been writing to Nanci Wiseman about the differences and she’s given her blessings to my changes.

Change #1 – The 2x2x2x4 ribbing I had used in the swatch (k2, p2, k2, p4) created an interesting yet simple fabric that had a nice amount of “give” which worked well with the Aurora 8.

The new yarn has no give, and it looks loose and unattractive in a rib pattern (this is not uncommon in a cotton or multi-strand yarn) so I’ve changed the rib pattern to p2, sl1 on the RS and k2, p1 on the WS.

Change #2 – The new yarn, although just a little thinner than the the Aurora 8, requires a much smaller needle. The cotton doesn’t have the inherent ability to “fluff” and even itself out like the soft merino does, so it must be dealt with more severely. I stuck it in the corner for 2 hours, then used size 5 needles (instead of the size 7’s I used on the merino) to work the rib.

Change #3 – The strongest design element of the sweater was a recognizable motif which repeated itself along the lace edge of the fronts and around the neck. Unfortunately, this motif involved a good amount of bias shaping, which doesn’t show up at all in such a multi-colored yarn. I’ve re-designed the edging to be more geometric and straightforward. It’s a diagonal trellis type lace, but when viewed at a 45∫ angle (as when it glides up the front edge of the surplice top) it looks like a square net (volleyball anyone?)

I thought my readers would enjoy seeing some of the give and take of working through an accepted design. It’s actually pretty rare that I have something accepted and worked up in the same yarn in which I swatch! I don’t resent this at all – it’s good to see my designs inspiring editors to want to use a different yarn.

Hopefully knitters will begin feeling more and more courageous about making yarn substitutions when they realize that the original concept for a design is quite often worked up in a different yarn than the one they see in the pages of a magazine!

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About Annie

I knit weird and I enjoy showing others how to find the joy and intuitiveness within their OWN knitting! We don't knit to make THINGS, we knit to make OURSELVES HAPPY!

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