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Juniper Cardigan from Mode at Rowan: Hold Kidsilk Haze with Anything!

There were two garments that popped out at me from Mode at Rowan's Collection Four. At first I thought that it was just that they had new, interesting shapes.

Juniper, by Lisa Richardson, had this ΓΌber-comfy Dolman robe thingy going on. [$7 on Ravelry or, available in English, French & German].

Floss, by Quail Studio, looked a like a big polar bear hug in... wait, was that angora? Couldn't be. How was it so drapey, yet so fuzzy?!

A closer look revealed that both garments were made in a sumptuous fabric created by holding Rowan Summerlite 4-ply (100% matte cotton) together with Rowan Kidsilk Haze (KSH, mohair & silk). When I swatched it, I knew I had to have an entire garment in this combo.

Come to think of it, I've recently seen a lot of Rowan patterns holding Kidsilk Haze with Rowan Felted Tweed or many other yarns from their core offerings. The verdict? You can hold Kidsilk Haze together with ANYTHING to elevate your knitted fabrics to amazingness.

I decided to make Juniper, but to change it a bit so as to exploit my large but singleton stash of KSH. As in: I only have remnants of skeins, but in many colors. I had originally bought some of them for a lovely free Kaffe Fassett pattern called Belarus, but I never got to it. 

I wanted this new cardigan more. I chose a lighter shade of Summerlite 4-ply that I thought would work with many colors (419 Duck Egg) and I just started to stack!

The pinks were no brainers, but I swapped the other colors in and out of the stack, like, a hundred times. I almost got it right until I knit a stripe with the dusty orange color, third from the top. I just didn't like the fade at all. So I ripped back and perused my old Rowan shade cards (back when they had actual snips of yarn) and bought one extra KSH ball for the project, in a light pink called Grace. The stripe is almost white and I loved the contrast it gave to the piece!

If you want my exact recipe, the color numbers and amounts needed are in my Ravelry project.

The cardigan is constructed by knitting a short garter stitch hem and not much body before it starts increasing into the Dolman sleeve. This type of sleeve is also known as a "batwing" and is knit at the same time as the body with two seams at the top and bottom of the sleeve.

The last increase row gives ~25 stitches or more to each sleeve, but I knew that wouldn't quite be enough for my monkey arms. My only mod was to repeat that big increase row one more time. Note that if you do this, you will need more yarn, but I found that I still fell within the recommended Summerlite 4ply amount suggested (adding one ball for the sleeves, like I always do).

For those of you wanting to knit this, or in the process of knitting this, let me help you past a point of worry. I made a size Small (36-38) and I have a 36/37 bust. When I was knitting the back, I kept saying NOPE this is waaaaaay too small. I even had someone reach out to me on Instagram worried about the shape she was getting, too. Have no fear, keep going! The ribbed bands that go on the cuffs and fronts will make a huge difference in the size and how the piece will fall on your body. The only trouble is that you won't know until you get there. I trusted in it and think it came out to exactly the size I wanted.

Many of you know that I love machine knitting, so you may be surprised that I didn't machine knit this despite it having so much stockinette. There are two reasons why I didn't. First, the number of stitches on your hand needles is also how many you need on the knitting machine bed. I would have never had enough needles for the entire back piece. Now, I could have just cut the back in two pieces and seamed them up the center, but that brings me to number two. The fabric just wasn't as nice! As Kidsilk Haze runs through the knitting machine tension unit, it gets slicked into each stitch rather tightly. All that fuzzy aura and softness I wanted was disappearing! I imagine that, with time, the fluff would make its way out to the sun, but I didn't want to take that chance.

So, it was hand-knitted... mostly. You see the belt? That's an 18-stitch circular tube that is knit for eons. But a knitting machine (with a ribber) can knit circular, too! I decided that the fabric wasn't as critical for the belt, so I machine knit the entire thing in about 20 minutes (10 minutes of that was remembering how to circular knit on the machine tho πŸ˜‚). However, I did notice that the marled effect from holding two yarns together is very different on a machine versus hand knitting. If you look closely, you'll see that on the machined belt, one yarn is very dominant over the other for a few stitches and then *poof* the other color switches to dominate. Instead of a marl, it's more like a *gray gray gray gray **red red red red *gray gray...

More about my mid-gauge knitting machine here.
Meh, I can live with that!

I also had to crowdsource some help from you all. I knit the cuffs in pink first, but started having second thoughts, thinking that I should have matched the gray I used for the front ribbed bands instead.

I asked for your opinions and got over 250 answers! The vote was 111 GRAY and 77 PINK, pretty close... but all the rest were many other good suggestions.

I did decide to go with the gray, but listened to many of you on another topic that came up a lot: the length of the cuffs. Many thought that they were too heavy for the garment, and that was one of the reasons why the pink was standing out so much. Some wanted no folding at all, but I liked how the fold completed the wrap-around 'robe' feel of the design. I compromised by knitting cuffs that were shorter than I originally planned. If I lift my arms the sleeves are a bit short... but hanging normally, this size cuff works perfectly well.

For this photo shoot I styled it with all gray. It's pretty colorful so I imagine I'll usually have it on solids.

The belt is not slippy at all and keeps the wrapped cardi together really well. I probably won't wear it open, but it's cute that way, too.

I liked the fourth Mode at Rowan collection and am looking forward to Collection Five coming out next month! As a brand ambassador for Rowan, I also know that Mode will be releasing a number of smaller collections that are very enticing... hint hint Outerwear πŸ§₯.

Someday I'll give you details about the Mode at Rowan pants I made from Collection Three! But that requires a more scandalous photo shoot πŸ‘. Till next time!


Dayana Knits

See my Juniper Cardigan on Ravelry

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  1. Fabulous, Dayana, and your colors and stripe arrangement improve on the Rowan original. Looks like you'll enjoy wearing it, too.
    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

    1. Thank you so much Gretchen! I was wearing it while writing the blog post (good sweater energy) but got hot. Can't wait till the winter!

  2. I had that same fear with mohair and machine knitting - in fact it seemed the mohair only came out on the wrong side of the work! But blocking, as always, works wonders. Mohair works on the knitting machine. But marling not so much. You dont get that pleasing randomness, instead you get a weird kind of striping. I believe there's ways around it, if you're using cones, feeding one up through the other for example. But I've never managed to get a pleasing marl on the knitting machine. Gorgeous cardigan, it looks beautiful on you!

    1. Thanks so much for this supporting data! 😁 I wonder if you rewind the two yarns together and then work off of that ball of you’d get a better effect. I’ve made two sweaters in the machine using two yarns at once and loved how crazy it looked because it would randomly feature one yarn over the other, then switch. Cool, but definitely not like hand knitting. And I agree that they mohair always seemed to end up on the bottom! So interesting. Thanks for your comments and good luck with the Taitexma coming!!


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