April 27, 2013

8 How I Almost Knitted My Own X-Ray Blanket: Rhea by Marie Wallin and a Rowan All-Seasons Chunky review

I received a ball of All-Seasons Chunky to try out, from Rowan Yarns... It is 60% Cotton and 40% Acrylic.  I cast-on too impatiently, so I am posting a picture from my fellow Rowan Ambassador Linda Ortyl's blog, Knitted Pink, because this photo makes you want to buy a pile ASAP.  (Go visit her!)

© Linda Ortyl

Can I tell you my first impression?  It's scandalous.

Oh, Dayana, flush that acrylic snobbery down the toilet, you have paid the price!  The following is a short story about why chunky cotton yarns need a lot of acrylic, because without it, you knit this:

Oh wait, that Google Image search was far too amusing not to include some other medical catalog gems:

My goal was to make Rhea, from the new Rowan All-Seasons Chunky Collection booklet.  This type of photography is what gives Rowan an edge over other high-end yarn companies.

Sadly, I only had one ball of Rowan All-Seasons Chunky, so I decided I would use it as trim and dive into the stash for the main body.  I picked a DK weight 100% cotton (Crystal Palace Biwa), cuz, you know, I've become a natural fiber snob.

It took 3 strands of the DK to achieve the thickness of the firm and veritable chunkiness of the All-Seasons Chunky.  I was so happy when I got this far, especially since I had cast-on at a drunken birthday party:

And then when I finished it and tried it on, there was something very very wrong.  A quick trip to the scale revealed that the tank top weighed 641 grams (1.4 lbs)… and it didn't even have sleeves!  NO tank top on earth should weigh that much... unless there is lead in it.  So, I was like, I might as well go to the dentist today!  No need for X-ray protection with this baby!

After frogging all the way back to the trim, I came up with a new approach:  I would use 2 strands in the front for coverage, but only 1 strand in the back for... foxiness.

It’s really quite lovely, and my friends say they actually prefer the 1ply seen in the back.  Here it is… with an undergarment this time, lol (how hard is it to find underthings for all these lacy sheer tops nowadays?!).

As you have noticed, I made some mods on this piece:

  • 9cm of ribbing instead of 8cm.
  • 6 repeats before separating for the sleeves, instead of 2.  Really… who wears things that cropped?
  • Only 4 rows of ribbing at the sleeves… the folded ribbing was too thick, in my opinion.


Let’s face it, you have to find something real to wear underneath:

Despite my bathtub mat first impression, I really loved knitting with All-Seasons Chunky, and recommend it for any project that you want to knit up fast, but still wear in the spring.  Seriously, chunky yarns are always really hot! 

The yarn is rather fun and very touchable. Also, the absolute unchanging width of the yarn (it’s very tightly plied) is fantastic for stitch definition. The acrylic cuts down drastically on the cotton weight and results in a warm and springy cotton yarn, versus one that is cool and dry to the touch.  Bulky cottons, like my “3-ply” main body yarn Crystal Palace Biwa, are very annoying (and even painful!) to move along the needle – but this yarn is smooth and travels easily. 

Be careful about weaving in ends... while the yarn doesn't split at all when it is knit, the ends untwist into numerous strands very easily.  You may want to split the end and weave in both halves separately.  

My only issue with this yarn is personal -- I just don’t know how many good projects I personally would make with it, as I prefer thinner yarns.  I’m looking forward to seeing more examples of it in use.  FYI, there is an junior Aran weight version which may be more to my liking: Rowan All-Seasons Cotton.

The Chunky worked great as a trim on this piece, though!  Look at that stitch detail!

This was all I had left of the All-Seasons Chunky, when I was done.  I weighed it periodically to try to get the most out of it.  Nice work, d.

I love photography, even by myself… just me and my tripod.  Every April, the early purple 'Glory of the Snow' covers the McGill University campus, and I try to photograph whatever knit is lucky enough to catch the 2 weeks of violet carpeting.  (That’s where my current banner/logo photo is taken).  Rhea made it just in time.

I have to say I am thrilled with the fit, it’s really rather perfect.  I highly recommend this pattern, or at least, the stitch pattern, as it is very fun.  Also, to file under 'useful', you can take any chunky pattern and replace it with thinner yarn, without changing the numbers, for a great lacy effect.

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