Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sunny Yellow Shalom

Pattern: Shalom Cardigan by Megan McFarlane - free internet pattern available on Megan's blog
Date finished: July 22, 2008
Needles: US 11 to get recommended gauge
Yarn: The Fibre Company Savannah Bulky - approximately 7 skeins or 455 yards
Modifications: I added a second button just for the heck of it. I'm crazy that way.

I had been pondering this yarn at a local yarn shop for months now. I'm a sucker for interesting fiber combinations and Savannah is a blend of organic cotton, linen, soy and merino. Intrigued, I was however put off by its price tag. Each skimpy 65 yard skein retails for a whopping $16. Eep - too rich for my blood. So there it sat on the shelves, admired only from afar.

Isn't it a wonderful thing when patience is rewarded? Savannah went on sale. Half off sale. Now that's what I'm talking about. After a brief search, I came across this pattern and it just seemed perfect for this yarn. The pattern is by first-time designer Megan McFarlane who says she's a grad student in art conservation but is really Martha Stewart's heir apparent (the brilliant doyenne of domestic arts Martha, not the insider stock trading, bitchy ex-con Martha). The writing and directions are clear and unfussy. The photography is pleasing to the eye and the production of the pattern is very professional - you can download a pdf directly from her website. The cardigan itself was a joy to knit. Very quick too - love that about bulky yarns.

The only thing that I would do differently is to add fewer stitches under the armholes. It's just a wee bit gappy right now on my not very well endowed frame. Besides that I'm very pleased with this one. It will be great to throw on over a long sleeved tee in the fall.

As for the yarn, it is a very intriguing mix. It's soft like you would expect merino wool and organic cotton to be. And soy fiber tends to be pretty soft too - almost woolly. But the linen in this yarn shows up as individual strands of vegetation. You can even pull it out at some points. Oddly enough this makes it feel a bit scratchy on the skin. I would have left out the linen and just substituted more cotton into the blend.

Overall, it's a rustic looking 2 ply yarn - slubby in some places. The Fibre Company doesn't mark dye lots - just names of their colorways. This one is dubbed Marigold. However, if you look closely in the picture, you can see that the middle panel in the yoke is a different shade. That was definitely from a different dye lot. I didn't notice until I had joined the new skein and by some stroke of luck the skein ended with the panel. A design element? Sure...

I would definitely knit this cardigan again - it's quick, cute and relatively easy. Perfect for gift-knitting. But I don't think I would get this yarn again. It's a luxury yarn as reflected by its cost and I'm glad I got the chance to knit with it. But the cost and the short yardage leaves me looking elsewhere. My friend Gwen (aka Bugheart in the Blogosphere) knit her Shalom with Cascade Revolution - a smooth wool/nylon blend. It looked quite nice on her. Maybe I'll have to get me some Cascade.

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