Monday, January 30, 2012

Turtle-necked Capelet

Turtle-necked Capelet, currently in progress
I've been wanting a piece of outerwear that hearkens back to the ponchos my mother made for me when I was a kid.  It was the seventies, and they were a great fall layer.  Now that ponchos and capelets are back in a big way, I have a different take.  I have a lovely pima cotton and silk lace one that takes a chill off beautifully in the summer.  And I've often lusted after the wrap in the cover of Wrap Style, by Pam Allen and Ann Budd.  Different from the seventies, and in a really good way!

I'm not one to knit patterns by other people very often.  I'm really opinionated, first of all; and I also like making things tailored specifically to my own body.  I decided to make a capelet for me, and instead of making the lovely Fair Isle design on the book cover, I would make one featuring texture. I  realized that it was a great way to utilize my embarrassing stash, which is filled with leftover yarns I love from past projects.  It's almost like a knitter's memory quilt! 

So far I've used more than ten different yarns, between colors and specific brands and styles.  Using each one for only a row or two has resulted in some interesting texture, as I'd hoped, but also created an obvious contrast between the different features and benefits of the yarns.  It made me decide to share some of my opinions.  After all, these are yarns I've loved over the years.  I hope you love some of them, too!

First off, I used the Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky.  It's one of my favorte yarns, and I always have a bunch of ball ends around, so I've been using that.  It's soft and fluffy, and knits easily.  It retains its loft, and looks gorgeous knit up.

Not usually a fan of any synthetics in any significant proportion, I was delighted to fall in love with Kraemer Yarns Fountain Hill Brushed Mohair.  It's 80% acrylic, and 20% mohair.  It has that lovely halo we all love from mohair, but isn't as weak and wispy as some of the mohairs out there.  The acrylic allows the mohair to stand up beautifully as a carry along yarn.  It smoothly travels over the needles, and blends with the yarn it's carried with.  It says it's a 2 weight, and I would even suggest that it might be a 1 on its own.  I don't think I'd use it as a single yarn, but I love it as part of a pair.

Another returning favorite is Cascade Pima Tencel, a 3 weight.  It's a beautiful blend with a lovely sheen.  For all of those who hate knitting with cotton, you won't like this any better, as it retains all of its cotton charicteristics and adds the strength and sheen from the pima.  The stitch definition is fabulous, but as such, it shows every little mistake.  If you're a smooth knitter who loves to show off your stitches, this is an excellent yarn for you.

The color palette (lavender, teal, sage, pink) was decided by the colors in the Universal Yarns Bamboo Bloom Handpaints Fallen Petals colorway with which I fell in love at my LYS.  It's a thick and thin, listed as bulky weight, 48% Rayon from Bamboo, 44% wool, and 8% acrylic.  The thin part is approximately sock weight, and the thick is a bulky, sometimes a roving.  It has several different finishes within its skein, each revealing itself a yard or two at a time.  It comes in several colorways, and though I'm fussy about my variegateds, I genuinely love every colorway I've seen.

In the same pink, lavender and sage green colorway as the Bamboo Bloom is the Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, held here with the Cascade Pima Cotton, and although it's been discontinued, you can find it out there.  Swaps, Ravelry stash busting, and even a few online outlets still have it.  It's two ply, one very thin and one thicker, giving it a texture all it's own, and the colors are dreamy.  Mission Falls, we miss you.

Both Mountain Colors Moguls and Mountain Colors Mohair Loops have stunning texture all their own, and I've inserted them periodically to accent the color (teal) and to vary the texture. Moguls is 96% wool and 4% nylon.  It knits up in a nubby boucle texture that's toasty warm and beautiful.  Mohair Loops is 93% mohair, 4% wool, and 3% nylon.  It's strong and soft, and sheds less than most mohairs I've used.  It has a lively sheen to it, and makes a beautiful accent to the smoother yarns in the piece.  I can see it as collar and cuffs on a coat or sweater in my future.

Cascade Sierra, a blend of cotton and wool, has a beautiful finish, and comes in wonderful colors.  I love the way it wears, and it's so soft!  It comes in many coordinating colorways with the rest of the Cascade line.  Cascade 220 is in the mix, too, as one of the cream components.  It's a standard worsted weight wool, the workhorse of the knitting world.  It's reliable and easy, as always.  And Cascade Luna is a cotton two ply much like the Mission Falls, but is a heavier yarn.  It' says DK, but it's a little heavier than most of my Dks.  The finish is incredibly soft, as are the colorways.  In this case, I'm using it doubled with the Cascade Pima Cotton, both in the sage and fern color families. 

Since I'm using most of the yarns doubled and sometimes tripled, it's hard to estimate how much yardage I'll end up using.  I'm working on size US 8 needles, and it's making a heavy fabric with a lovely drape. 

I'm really enjoying digging through my stash every few rounds to bing in a new texture, weight, or color.  It has me remembering all the original projects made from these yarns.  I think I'm going to love wearing this capelet.  It's like 10 years of knitting history wrapped up in one project.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I'm intrigued by the idea behind your capelet. It's lovely. Please post a photo when you're done. I'm tempted to dive into the basket of all my little odds and ends and try one myself. Thanks for the inspiration.