My January has been a whirl, I tell ya. Looking after someone who is recuperating is not hard, but it requires adjustment in focus.
Here’s a shocker: I didn’t get that much knitting done, despite lots of sitting around. I ran out of yarn on my Parallelogram Scarf (that’s been remedied), my Big Flower Jacket felt like a big florid headache because, being a 1980s pattern (sewn-on button band, need I say more?) the finishing details required a little bit of figuring out. Under normal circumstances, this might have been a pleasant challenge, with jolly laughs at the expense of some nice pattern writer from 30 years ago, but right now it feels like, “oh Big Flower, why do you have to do me like that?”
The cure for my malaise is obvious: start something new. A clean slate, fun choices, and the tantalizing possibility of perfection. So, I’m plotting, planning and swatching for my Bang Out a Sweater project. I feel the life force of knitting returning to me.
The start of Bang Out a Sweater is February 1, only a week away! Pre-swatching is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!
Bang Out a Sweater 2019: The Yarn
My process started with deep contemplation of my yarn choice. We’ve got lovely wools in the shop, all of them proven to make a stunning Norah Gaughan cable sweater. But I’m feeling kind of spring-y. I’m also experiencing early-onset nostalgia for Rowan Denim, which the company has announced it is discontinuing.
Rowan Denim knits up perfectly to the stitch gauge of the sweaters in MDK Field Guide No. 9: Revolution. More importantly, cables are the absolute best way to show off the exquisite fading that happens when you wash and machine-dry Rowan Denim.
Exhibit A: my Whitby Pullover in Rowan Denim. I made it in 2013, in the darkest shade of Rowan Denim.
Photo by Patrick Gottelier from Indigo Knits: The Quintessential Guide to Denim Yarn. My Whitby is slightly modified from the original, but you get the idea. The fading is magnificent.
I wear my Whitby daily whenever temperatures permit; it’s my House Sweater, and my cover-up-my-gym-clothes sweater. I’m wearing it right now. It’s a smooth and silky cotton hug at this point, after five years of washings, dryings and wearings. In idle moments, I pick apart the whitened coils of the tight rope cables, to admire the deep, inky indigo that’s still there, hiding in the crevices.
I want to see one of Norah’s magnificent cables in full Rowan Denim glory. All who are mourning the end times of denim yarn, join me! I promise we will all hold hands for the part where we figure out how much length to add to the body to account for the shrinkage.
I’ll spare you my dithering, which has been tedious. I love all of the cable options available for this knitalong, both in Field Guide No. 9 or in Norah’s Interchange(ability) collection. It’s hard to choose, so I go around and around, revolving.
In the end, I reminded myself that this is not the last cable sweater I intend to make in my life. I decided to go with the one that my eyes kept landing on from the very start: the Calligraphy Cardigan cable.
Other cables may be twistier, which means more cable-knitting practice, and more nooks and crannies where the dark denim could lurk as the fabric fades overall.
But I love the sweep of Calligraphy’s long curves, those tapered points at the ends, and the medallions of reverse stockinette stitch.
So, Calligraphy it is. That is my final answer.
Ugh! This is the hard part. If I go for the fastest-to-bang-out, I think it’s got to be a pullover. With Norah’s top-down construction, when you’re done knitting the pullover, you’re done. C’est fini. Put it on!
But I love a cotton cardigan for warm-weather layering. And if we’re gaming the knitalong, or being calculating, it has to be said that the short sleeves of the Calligraphy Cardigan eliminate a whole lot of stockinette, leaving ample time for the finishing details of a cardigan.
photo by sara remington. The photography sample is in Periwinkle Sheep Merino DK, in the shade Hydrangea. It’s possible that the pale blue of this image is what gave me the idea of knitting my sweater in Rowan Denim.
Surely I can muster the gumption to make a few buttonholes! And if I end up with time to spare in late February, I can ponder lengthening the sleeves to 3/4 length, my favorite.
Just finished Row 26 of the cable pattern. Closing in the bottom of the O.
can’t wait to wash and dry this puppy and see it even out. I’ll be using the darkest shade of Denim, Nashville, for my sweater, but I’m swatching with leftovers of the lighter shade. All denim gets lighter, eventually.
Whee! I’m off to the races. I’m excited to get going on this knitalong for real.