Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Month: February, 2007

Wear Test: Cascade 220

It’s time to revisit those baby knits to see how well the yarns I chose have stood the test of time (and baby)! I thought I’d start this series of blog posts with a real winner: Cascade 220. Now, I know some of you wince at the thought of baby garments made from feltable wool (and indeed, Cascade 220 is a champion felter). Frankly, so do I. Heavy sweaters and jackets are the exception, however, as they don’t need to be washed every time they’re worn. I could not resist the yarn/pattern combination with this garment so I just hoped I’d have time to do the washing. In fact, now I do a wool wash about every two to three weeks.

Pattern: Double-Breasted Hooded Jacket, Phildar inspiration, my own creation.
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US 7
Finished: July 2006

The jacket has held up remarkably well and looks as good today as when it came off my needles. Most notably, there is no fuzz. You know what I’m talking about. Even when you wash your woolens with extreme caution, over time they develop a slight halo of fuzz. Not this yarn. As you can see, the stitch definition remains quite crisp. While the color of the jacket is different in each photo, both are accurate reflections of the jacket’s true color. This is another thing I like so much about this particular yarn – light (and likely the seed stitch texture) dramatically change the jacket’s appearance.

I’m very pleased with the results, especially since Beatrix wears this all the time. Let me assure you that this jacket has seen its fair share of drool and spit up too! Furthermore, layered over another sweater, this jacket keeps Beatrix warmer outside than any other hand-knit or store-bought garment. For this reason, I’ve made several of these for other friends with babies.

You might recall another baby sweater out of Cascade 220. It’s such a rich red that I’ve had difficulty photographing it. If I have time this weekend, you might get to see it – it’s in the same great shape as the green one. So baby knitters: go get yourselves some Cascade 220!

Miserable Jaywalkers

I swatched. I made gauge. I tried the Jaywalker on every few inches to make sure it fit. It did. Then, I turned the heel. The sock no longer fit. Not even close. I am so annoyed with the pattern. The knitted fabric is as stiff as cotton. Kellee tells me that the socks really, really do stay up and I believe her because they’re so stiff. I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll rip and start over or rip and use the yarn for a different project. Maybe Pomatomus? Do you think it would look okay with the Regia stripey yarn or would that be overload?

In the meantime, I started a new pair of socks, this time for my husband. I had in mind Nancy Bush’s Railway Socks from Vintage Socks book. You can get an idea of what these socks ought to look like here and here. Here’s the deal: drastically different gauge, different stitch pattern, different heel, different color pattern. What’s left? Nancy Bush inspiration, I suppose. Using Knit Picks Swish Superwash, I cast on for some therapy knitting. I’ve since finished the sock and cast on for the second sock. I’ve been secretly knitting during my Tuesday night graduate seminar so maybe this pair will be finished shortly!

One reason I chose to make the socks for Aaron was that I’m curious to see how the yarn holds up to wear. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, mostly as I wash baby knits in Eucalan. Finished hand knits are beautiful, sure. But what about what they look like after they’ve been worn and washed? I think my project for this week will be to take some photos of the sweaters I made for Beatrix when I was pregnant so you can judge for yourselves how the yarns are holding up. So far, not so bad. There have been a few surprises, however – surprises that mostly prove that high price does not equal high quality. What about your hand knits? How have they held up to the test of time?