This post is for an audience of at least two people (shout out to Wanda and Susan) who are knitting their Revolution sweater in Rowan Denim, plus all the Rowan Denim rubberneckers out there.
I’m proceeding with all deliberate speed to the finish line of my personal sweater bang-out, and wanted to document my process in adapting Norah Gaughan’s Calligraphy Cardigan pattern, which was not written for Rowan Denim, to my favorite shrinky, fade-y, cottony yarn.
Here we have my Calligraphy Cardi off the needles. It has sleeves!
pixels don’t quite capture the correct color. It looks cobalt in photos. In real life, it’s dark navy blue with an even, matte surface.
I went for short sleeves. Summer is coming! This will be my sitting-in-air-conditioning cardi for 2019.
I knit the short tubes of these sleeves in the round on two circular needles. They were really long circulars, needles I’ve used in the past to join up strips of squares for blankets. Knitting sleeves this way was a fiddly but blessedly short-lived process.
All that this Calligraphy Cardigan lacks is its front bands for buttons and buttonholes, and the edging on the neck. So why did I stop here?
It’s Shrinking Time
I stopped at this point to wash and dry the sweater and let the shrinkage happen, so that picking up stitches for the front bands would be easier and more accurate. In other words, so that I’d be picking up along an edge that is at its true finished length. Washing Rowan Denim (or any cotton yarn) tightens up stitches and tidies up edges.
Rowan’s pattern instructions for knitting Rowan Denim garments in pieces typically tell you to wash the pieces before seaming. It’s good advice, but optional. Belinda used to say she couldn’t be bothered, so she’d sew them up and wash the finished garment afterwards. Sometimes we forget that knitting can be a forgiving craft, and that there is more than one way to do almost anything.
Pre-Washing Length: 26 inches from the hem to the top of the back neck.
Pay attention to the floor tiles. Pre-washing, the cardigan is fully 3 tiles high, and pushing the top and bottom edges of the 3 x 3 grid.
Post-washing length: 21 1/2 inches from the hem to the top of the back neck.
The floor tiles are a literal frame of reference. Post-washing, the cardi has a lot more tile room at the top and bottom.
Pocket computer tells me my cardigan shrank 17 percent in length, smack in the middle of the 15-20 percent range.
That Color Though
I hope you can see it a little in photos: the first wash immediately changes the color of Rowan Denim. This shade, Nashville (the darkest shade), goes from flat navy blue to something that is more interesting already, and will continue to mellow and fade. It feels nicer too: cushier, more substantial.
Laundering this cardigan will become a hobby of its own over the next few weeks. I’ll keep throwing it in with every load of jeans or darks. Getting some age on it, breaking it in.
Now to pick up those bands! I’ll be following the pattern instructions, with a little tweaking of the numbers if necessary. Question: snaps or buttons? It’s time to decide.
P.S. I’m in love with this yarn.