September 26, 2017

17 My Most Epic Knit: The Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL 2

The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


3 colors, 48 squares, 2400g of yarn... and 172,800 stitches IN INTARSIA. You call it crazy, I call it epic!!!

This was the 2nd Kaffe Fassett afghan KAL by Rowan. Oh yes, I made the first, and wait -- did I swear off afghans after that one? Fingers in ears and yelling la-la-la-la, here I went again.

Just like the first one, I did NOT follow the color instructions. I don't know what it is with these, but I find the color selections to be positively jarring.


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, blogged by Dayana Knits


The way the afghan works is that there are 24 of the first "grayscale" tumbling blocks square, and 2 x 12 of the two-colored intarsia squares. I thought, why not do the whole thing in the same 3 colors as the tumbling blocks?


Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted, blogged by Dayana Knits


If you'd like to copy me -- go ahead, I'd love to see it! And if intarsia frightens you, I give you 5 tips on how to get started in this blog post.


5 tips to better intarsia, blogged by Dayana Knits


Changing two-color squares to three-color squares required a little finagling.


Get all my square versions for free here.


In some cases I simply re-colored the original patterns, but in other cases, I changed the square significantly. Like this one... sorry Kaffe, but I think you lost your calculator when you designed this one. 😘

The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, blogged by Dayana Knits


In fact, this one was so crazy, I decided to make two different ones. Hey, why not?


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


In some cases it's amazing how changing to 3 colors alters a simple geometric pattern.


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


For other squares, I actually changed the sizes of the motifs -- either to save on ends to weave or to make the intarsia look better. For example, the circles below originally had only one stitch of background width to each motif. Intarsia simply needs MORE than one stitch in each color to look neat,


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


You may be wondering how big this thing is! I actually used a needle one size bigger than called for, because I knew the yarn Pure Wool Superwash Worsted very well after 3 blankets. After making the first one too small, and compensating with extra squares for this one and this one -- hell NO was I going to make this epic into a neverending story!

It's 76" x 96" or about 6 ft x 8 ft. Yay, it's a toe coverer! Here's a 7 lb cat for scale. 😆


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


I used the same technique for sewing as I did for all the other KAL afghans, mattress stitch. Only 12 seams necessary! Just do all of the horizontals, and then link them up with vertical seams. I have pictures of that technique in this post.

**NOTE: Make sure you put all the tumbling blocks in the same direction, they are not symmetrical when flipped 180 degrees!


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


The border was a new type compared to the other KALs: pick up stitches, knit garter and cast-off. The corners were mitered by increasing on the edges.


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


**NOTE: If you increase by K1FB, this technique is not the same if you do it at the beginning of the row versus the end! The pattern says to increase each on each side every other row. No! INSTEAD, increase at the end of each row. This will make your mitered corner prettier and neater to sew.

Picked up borders are really tricky, much like button bands on cardigans. They're terrible when they're tight, they're even worse when they're loose and ruffle. The short edge pick up was perfect. The long edge... not so much. However, after all this work, my tennis elbow kicked in and I had to knit those edges continental to save myself. I know my continental gauge is looser, so I can't say for sure, but my instinct is that the long borders could still do with losing ~30 stitches.

See that pronounced ruffle on the left edge?


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


TRIGGER ALERT! If you are scared of weaving in ends, scroll past the next two pics! 😅  The collateral damage of intarsia is end weaving. I've woven thousands of ends in my life (I actually love intarsia), but I would challenge you to find a project that generates as many ends as this one. To minimize the pain, I tackled the ends in 3 phases:

  1. The center ends of each square after blocking.
  2. The non-border edge ends of each square after seaming.
  3. The border ends of each square after border knitting.

I only remembered to start saving ends for phases 2 and 3... THEY WEIGH 28 GRAMS... more than half a ball, OMG!



The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


Oh and don't forget to make a convenient duct tape diagram on a cheap rug for easy blocking!


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


Another thing I didn't listen to was the organization diagram. They never make sense to me -- I NEED SYMMETRY IN MY LIFE. To do this, I started with pairs close together in the center, which got farther away from each other as they reached the opposite corner. The weirdest motifs (the hypnotic maze square) which I KNEW would look weird but I forced myself to d anyway, I put in the corners. They are just so jarring, the only other choice was the center, but I couldn't take it! I still don't see how that motif goes in this design...


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


I worked on this KAL pretty hard, and I am so impressed that Ute Rehner and MAYBE some other people were able to finish at the pace they set. Bravo! Me? I took 2 months longer and basically converting the east coast of Spain into a sweatshop (where I lost that damn diamonds square on my lap!!)...


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits
Yes, I brought the first Rowan Martin Storey afghan on vacation 😂


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits
Sant Feliu de Guíxols, España


... but nevertheless, this is how I deservedly felt after the last end!!!!!!!!!!


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits


Now to celebrate and crawl under it in exhaustion. 💤


See my Captain Kaffghan on Ravelry


The 2nd Rowan Kaffe Fassett Afghan KAL, knit by Dayana Knits



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September 23, 2017

6 A Tweed That Is Skin Soft?! Introducing: Rowan Cashmere Tweed

Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


I'm a big BIG fan of tweed yarns. For those of you who may not know, "tweed" is basically any wool fiber that incorporates flecks of different color fibers. These can be small or chunky, tonal or high-contrast (my favorite!).

Tweed was developed by the British, Irish and Scottish as a way of making sturdy, warm fabric that was a perfect match for outerwear. Unfortunately, the number of mills making woven wool tweed has dwindled and a Google search of the word use was pretty illuminating!


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits

It's the same for tweed yarns. The go-to brand for tweed yarns has always been Rowan Yarns, but even they have struggled to hold on to makers of high quality, British-spun tweed. Many a Rowan tweed yarn line has been discontinued over the years; here are two favorites from MY hoard:


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


There's two things I love about tweed yarns, especially Rowan ones:

  1. They're hardy and don't pill. My tweed sweaters still look good after >5 years of wear!
  2. They're very warm and perfect for outdoor sweaters and jackets.

Staccato Jacket by Kaffe Fassett, knit by Dayana Knits
My Staccato Jacket in Rowan Yorkshire Tweed


But there's one thing I hate about tweed yarns:

T H E Y   A R E   S C R A T C H Y !

I could never make a hat or a scarf out of these yarns without a lining, I'd be itching my brow all day. Even the Oxford Dictionary says:


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits



Keyword being "rough"! So, I was delighted when I heard that Rowan was introducing a new yarn into their main collection called "Cashmere Tweed". Was this the first tweed yarn that I'd be able to wear next to my skin?


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


Cashmere Tweed is a bit of a misnomer -- the cashmere is not the main fiber, it's only 20%. The other 80% is extra fine merino wool though, so this stuff is VERY soft...


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


I like that the balls are only 25g, which is ideal for colorwork. I had 3 colors (Oats, Camel and Chocolate) so I decided to put the yarn to the ultimate no-scratchiness test with the Wilkie Hat pattern from the Cashmere Tweed booklet by Martin Storey.


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, blogged by Dayana Knits


The pattern is odd in that it only gives yarn quantities for the hat AND scarf! Let me help you. If you make the pattern as is, you'll need 2 skeins of main color and 1 skein each of the contrast colors. However, by removing two whole 8-stitch repeats, I only needed 1 skein of main color!

You can probably do this, too. I have a 21.5" (55cm) head circumference, the hat width came out to 20" and it would easily stretch to 25". 👍


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


I also changed the colors a bit. I liked the idea of 3 colors, but with a more subtle usage. I used the same color for the brim and the motifs BUT I added a 3rd color on the horizontal rows between motifs. I love how this looks! Also: there's no need to buy a 3rd color because so little is used, just use scraps of another DK or tweed yarn.


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


I also changed the top. Once the decreases start, the pattern continues in a solid color. I wanted to keep the colorwork going, so I just repeated the row between each motif in alternating colors. Sometimes the dots fell in the same column, sometimes not -- it didn't seem to matter at all because it looks pretty cool.


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


A note about fair-isle in the round: color patterns in the round jog at the join column because you are spiraling upwards as you knit. I just wanted to mention that this is really an ideal colorwork pattern for hiding this jog. There are certainly ways to hide this, but I want to mention that none of those shenanigans are really required in this case. There IS a jog, but it is barely visible, so just have fun and knit!


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


And what about the softness test? WE'VE FOUND IT, PEOPLE! Cashmere Tweed is the first real wool tweed I've personally come across that I would have no problem wearing directly on the skin. Hats, scarves, wrist warmers, turtlenecks -- you name it, I recommend it. The yarn is a little pricier because of the fiber content, but I must say it was such a pleasure to knit with that I think it's worth a splurge. Ahem... I've got a bag coming my way in Granite -- isn't it beautiful 😍?


Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits


I want to emphasize that this is not one of Rowan's "Limited Edition" yarns that only come out for one season. This is an addition to their main yarn lines and you can expect to find it in many yarn shops. To see a preview of all three of the yarns introduced for A/W 2017, check out this Facebook Live video I did on the Rowan Yarns Facebook Page:





HINT: they've added an affordable classic tweed to the line, too!


See my Cashmere Tweedy on Ravelry

Wilkie Hat in Rowan Cashmere Tweed by Martin Storey, knit by Dayana Knits



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