Sock Yarn for Garments! -- Rowan Fine Art Tee and New Orleans tips
I hate following Knitting Orders. Just because something is labeled ‘sock yarn’, doesn’t mean you have to make socks! This is Elfe (pattern by Astrid Schramm), a fast-knitting and supremely wearable tee for fingering/sock weight yarn. The purple-pink stripes come from the newest Rowan yarn, Fine Art.
Pay special attention to how it shines.
This is the colorway 'Raven'.
And here's a project that is even faster than my tee-shirt:
Fine Art is an interesting sock yarn. Most are a blend of wool (merino or otherwise) and some kind of synthetic fiber for stability. It is supposed to go on your feet, after all. Rowan waited a long time to release a sock yarn, and it may have been worth it, as I think the fiber base is really unique:
Mohair in sock yarn?! Yes! You can see hairs coming out here and there. I have heard on Ravelry that mohair is a very strong and durable natural fiber... who knew?
The contrast color stripe is my favorite work-horse soft yet affordable sock yarn, Cascade Heritage. I don't usually knit with black, but I had leftovers from a very specific project... can you imagine if I had used a different main color for my clarinet thigh-high?
Elfe is a top-down "contiguous" pattern. This means that the set-in sleeves are done while knitting in the round downwards. Just follow the instructions, and it will all work out. First, you increase outside of a strip of stitches for the shoulder seams, and then you increase inside of them for the sleeves.
This is my third contiguous pattern, and I like doing them very much. The technique makes fitted, well-integrated sleeves that are perfect for my slim upper arms.
As an example, here are two other contiguous patterns I have done: the fabulous Crossed Lines Dress by Boadicea Binnerts:
And the so-easy-to-wear Satsuma Stripes by Sharon Matarazzo:
Stripes are a bit of a challenge when knitting in the round. First, to prevent the first stitch and last stitch of every row from not matching horizontally, you must 'jogless' knit. My favorite method is to simply knit the first row, then slip the first stitch of the next.
For my Satsuma Stripes above, I actually cut the yarn for each stripe. The ends just drove me crazy and weren't exactly invisible from weaving in. So this time I simply carried the alternate yarn down the stripe.
This made something like a faux seam. You can see where it didn't start until the second stripe.
I did a few modifications on the Elfe tee. First, I wanted to use as much of the Fine Art as possible, because believe it or not, the top (size 36) uses only 1.5 skeins. I despise leftovers.
The stripe pattern increases/decreases by 1 row every repeat, so at the 7+7 stripe (center), I kept knitting for a few repeats, without changing the stripe variation.
Then, at the end, I had to continue the final stripe pattern (only 3 rows of Fine Art at this point) for many repeats to get it long enough. Sadly, I still only used 75% of my ball of Fine Art.
I also changed the hems. For the sleeves, instead of casting-off the entire sleeve at the underarms, I kept the stitches alive. I then cast-on the number of stitches that were bound off at the underarm + 2 (to make space) and did 5 rows of 1x1 rib. I think this made a lovely sleeve cap. Don't forget to bind-off loosely.
I also changed to a folded hem at the bottom. I just like how neat they are, and I never have to fiddle with pulling them down. I could have done ribbing, but there is always a danger of creating a ribbing 'paunch'!
If you do folded hems, ALWAYS decrease 10-15% of your stitches on the second row after the purl row fold. I personally like to alternate decreasing every 7th and 8th stitch. If you don't do this, your hem will flare in a most annoying way.
As you may know, all variegated yarns pool their colors at some magical width. I'm happy to say, I discovered it at 180 stitches across! And... I'm happy that it was only for one stripe in the garment. Pooling is only really cool in special circumstances... and this is not one, in my opinion.
I must say, I really loved knitting with the Fine Art. It is incredibly smooth to the touch, and slides like butter along the needle. Also, despite being very soft on the skin, believe me, it's tough. I mean, I'm too lazy to find scissors ever, and I had some serious effort trying to cut it with my teeth.
Note: It is on the thin side for a sock yarn, as the Cascade Heritage was noticeably thicker. It would be ideal for a silky shawl.
Also, for those concerned, it IS very stripe-y. I am personally not a fan of variegated yarn... so I am holding out for a solid/tonal non-hand-painted version of this amazing base.
PSSST, ROWAN!! You can call it:
All right, now that I have your ears, if you guys want to add glitter or sequins, I also approve. =)
Unfortunately, the yarn band says it is "hand wash". Hmm? For sock yarn? Well, my friend threw her socks in the warm water washer and they came out fine. I plan on cold-water machine-washing my top.
A little birdie said that the label/yarn may be altered for the next release. Ideally it will not be a 'hand wash' and will not specify 'sock yarn'. I think the latter is also an excellent idea. I mean, what about the few people in the world that don't read my blog? HOW WILL THEY KNOW IT'S NOT JUST FOR SOCKS?!
I was lucky to be able to finish my tee in time for a visit to New Orleans. I was intending to get some shots in front of the amazing iron-work balconies... but they're all on the second and third floors. I can't afford those hotel rooms, lol.
But, I can afford sitting on someone's stoop. So, I settled for the doors of the shotgun houses... (Yes, NYC kids, don't feel too bad about your shotgun apartment with that annoying roomate. Some people have to walk through 4 rooms in their stand-alone house till they get to their bedroom.)
This is front of our hotel, Melrose Mansion, a lovely quiet house on Esplanade in the French Quarter. It has a great pool and large rooms and I highly recommend it. Avoid the weekends, unless you want Southerners to invade and camp out with their Daiquiris.
Yes, that says gallons.
Also, across the street you will find Buffa's, the best dive bar I've been to in my life. Bring a dog, everyone else does.
If you want to go comfy hipster, go a little on Rampart from the hotel to Bar Tonique. Try the Old-Fashioned, Moscow Mule and Gin Fizz.
AND, not OR!!
(But the Sazerac is better at Sylvain.)
And... if you take my advice, you will spend the rest of your lifetime trying to duplicate the dinner you had in the outdoor wine garden of Bacchanal.
You know, there are also some great cardigan patterns for striping some Fine Art.
Here is Tempest by Anne Weaver:
And Paulie by Isabell Kraemer:
Maybe someday I'll make some socks out of Fine Art. But let me tell you, once you get your hands on this stuff, you may feel as I did....
Hide this on my feet? Seriously?!