April 27, 2013

8 How I Almost Knitted My Own X-Ray Blanket: Rhea in All-Seasons Chunky




I was inspired to get creative when I only managed to snag one ball of All-Seasons Chunky to try out from Rowan Yarns. It's All-Seasons Cotton's big brother, really, made of 60% Cotton and 40% Acrylic.


© Linda Ortyl



My first snobby impression was that it would be crappy with that much acrylic.






Well, flush that acrylic snobbery down the toilet, Dayana, you paid the price!  The following is a short story about why chunky cotton yarns need a lot of acrylic, because without it, you will find yourself wearing 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.





Because I only had one ball, 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 feeling find and dandy 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.! I was, like, I might as well go to the dentist today! No need for lead 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.




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.



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 too warm! 


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. Bulky cottons are usually 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. 

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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8 comments:

  1. Dayana, that's a fantastic modification of Rhea. It suits you so much. And I'm loving the bluebells! Just waiting for ours to come out in the UK :)

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    1. THANK YOU, I love it, I really do! So much more useable than that crazy cropped version, methinks. (OH! And if you would prefer me to take your photo down, absolutely no problem, just drop me a line. I looked all over the net and the yarn stores have really bad photos!)

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  2. I was also put off by how cropped Rhea is - crop tops were not good in the 90s and they still aren't good now! Especially when you have a little pot belly like I do :P Seeing your clever modification makes me want to give it a second look sometime, though. I'm rarely confident enough to modify patterns, I'm still only good at following orders!

    The result is brilliant and suits you really well. Thank you for sharing the process, it was really interesting.

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    1. I'm so glad you are taking a second look at the pattern! I modify almost every pattern I follow, and am happy to give detailed instructions for you to follow, any time. :)

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  3. First, hahahaha, funny post! Second, my you are a clever girl! Very pretty sweater and you made it work like a mullet, all business in the front and party in the back! Only you Dayana, only you!

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    1. HAHA! OMG, I'm quoting you in my Ravelry notes, RIGHT NOW. =p

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  4. Great job! Very interesting too to see the differences between the 1 and 2 strands. I have to protest at my next x-ray moment if they try to give me a blah blanket. Bluebells gorgeous!

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    1. Yeah, if your X-ray blankie doesn't have hibiscus on it, they're doing it RONG. THANKS!

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