I’m hepped up about our brand-new yarn offering, Sylph, even though I find it so hard to spell it right on the first try that I’ve taken to calling it “Sliff.” It’s amazing stuff.
It’s also challenging to pinpoint what makes it amazing. I keep coming back to drape.
The animal fibers, especially the mighty and awe-inspiring cashmere, specialize in fluffiness and softness. When knitted (as opposed to woven), these fibers want to puff up; they also want to cling a bit to the body, I find.
One of the qualities I have always loved about linen is its tendency, whether knitted or woven, to hang down, in other words: to drape. When you knit with linen (or a linen-cashmere blend), you get a fabric with some heft, some swing. That weight makes a garment like a wrap or a sweater look better on me. And then you add in linen’s other stellar qualities: the way it takes color, the durability, the washability, the utter refusal to pill, the strength, the sheen, and the breathability—and it’s just the best thing to have in the mix.
Putting cashmere with it makes linen more of an all-season fiber. (Personally I wear linen in all seasons, as do people in the dampish flax-producing countries, but adding a bit of animal fiber removes any sense that linen is for summer only.)
I had a devil of a time settling on what to knit with my share of Sylph. I ended up reverting to one of my favorite knits of all time, which I haven’t made since 2010: Citron Grand. Translated from the French, it’s the Big Lemon.
Citron Grand is the up-sized, paid version of Citron, the original free pattern by designer Hilary Smith Callis. Original Citron, although a pleasure to knit and wildly popular (nearly 13,000 projects on Ravelry!) was never big enough for me. When I got to the “done” point of my first Citron, it felt too neckerchief-y. (Nothing against neckerchiefs, but a knitted kerchief makes me feel like I should be the size of an American Girl Doll, so that I’d be able to wrap myself up in it like I want to.)
Back in 2010, I upsized my own Citron. But now, living in the future, I don’t have to figure anything out myself. I can knit Citron Grand instead, and support a designer and a great pattern with my $4.00.
Thanks to Ravelry, and to Past Me who helpfully made a project page in my notebook, I know that on my original Citron, I knit one extra repeat of the ruching + stockinette (a 20=row sequence), lengthened the final ruffle by 50 percent (always looking for more drape, even then), and used an i-cord bindoff for a more elegant edge. Yay Past Me!
I am loving the fabric I’m getting with Sylph on number 5 needles. (Pointy needles, like my battered and slightly bent aka well-loved Addi Lace needles, are a must with this loosely plied yarn.) I reckon I will knit to the largest size of the Citron Grand, which honestly I think qualifies as a Citron Venti. I am estimating that it will take me 5 skeins of Sliff I mean Sylph to get there.
The theme of Citron Grand is ruching. a ruche is a ruffle, right in the middle of the fabric.
Most thrilling part of this: with all the sweater-knitting (human and canine) I’ve been doing over the summer, I’m thrilled to pieces to have a long-term mega stockinette project to haul around town with me. It’s been frustrating, and slow going, trying to keep track of shaping on the subway. Now it will just be a question of: is this a long-ass knit row, or a long-ass purl row?—for the foreseeable future. I’m going to take my time, saving (and savoring) this project for transportation and television times.
Even this wee lemon slice wants to drape.
One of the lighter shades of Sylph would have been easier to photograph, but the deep, tweedy gray-blue of Zephry is my jam.