Oh how I've sorely neglected this blog. My apologies, Dear Blog. But, I'm here today to make amends and finally pay you some very deserved attention. I've got a lot of catching up to do, beginning with my Woolfolk design, the Lowe Cardigan.
Earlier last year, I started hearing about this new yarn "Woolfolk". I knew Kristin Ford, previously of Shibui, was the brains behind this new yarn endeavor so I was especially excited to see it. She managed to keep a lot of Woolfolk under wraps until the great reveal this past Fall. And what a reveal it was.
I read about the origins of the wool and learned about Ovis 21, a nature conservancy dedicated to maintaining the grasslands and increasing the profitability of businesses in Patagonia. It's actually a bit more in-depth than that, and includes raising and managing sheep and cattle. The merino sheep from this area are unparalleled. There is nothing like it anywhere else on earth. It's just as soft as cashmere (if not more), but has the characteristics of wool. I was in fiber heaven when I laid my hands on it.
Kristin, the genius that she is, produced the worsted weight of this Ultimate Merino Wool® fiber, FÅR, as a chainette constructed yarn, giving it stability and strength. After regaining my senses after the initial shock of feeling something so luxurious (micron count of 17.5), I knew I'd want to be swathed in yarn this fine. A coat-like cardigan was a must.
The last thing I wanted to do was design something too big and frumpy. When I thought about the kind of woman I wanted to emulate with this design, my mind kept wandering back to one of my dear friends, and knitting goddess, Catherine Lowe. Catherine is always elegant, timeless and sophisticated and that was exactly what I wanted in this piece.
After swatching a number of different stitch patterns, I couldn't help but think that I needed to let the yarn really speak for itself. The stockinette was so glorious, I decided not to mess with it.
These days, I rarely design as I knit. I usually map it all out and then it gets knit. But as I went along, I realized I needed to add pockets. I know I know - how could I have forgotten pockets?! Yes, pockets are totally functional, but what occurred to me in this case was that I needed to break up the length of stockinette with something. It would have looked too robe-like without the visual break. So pockets went in!
As for the collar, I wanted to have something that really surrounded the neck, but I didn't want anything that flipped over like a shawl collar because I felt like that ends up exposing the neck, and this fabric needs to be against the skin at all times! So, the collar narrows a bit at the neck so it stays up like a mock neck.
If you haven't tried Woolfolk's yarn, I say get your hands on some pronto. It's 2 die 4. Like buttah.