Effortlessly Blue {Knitting}

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I have been sitting on my future - major - knitting project for a while now. I have very good excuses. First, I wanted to chose a project that could accommodate my growing bump (a random shop assistant asked me over the weekend whether I was expecting twins - and whether I was sure I was not - rude!)... So the growing bump needed to be accommodated. I also wanted a project that I would keep after the B-day. So what was left: a cardigan, Effortless it would - it is all in the name.. Next was the colour.. 

I don't know about you, but I find it really difficult to know what the colour of a yarn is really like on websites (and on my own pictures). Of course Ravelry helps, as you can see other projects using the yarn you may have chosen. But this search involves knowing which yarn you are considering. Of course I could also go to a LYS, but that requires a bit of travelling for me. So the bulk of my yarn shopping is done over the internet.

And not only is the colour important, but for any garment the gauge and how the yarn will behave during the blocking process are important. 

All of this to tell you that I bought 5 different skeins, in the hope of finding THE yarn I would knit a whole cardigan with! Effortless calls for Madeline Tosh DK or Quince and Co. Lark. I have never knitted with either of these yarns. So it was time to test and share my thoughts!

1. Madeline Tosh Vintage in Baltic; 2. Cascade 220 in Jade (#7813); 3. Cascade 220 Heathers (#9332)
4. Quince&Co Lark in Peacock (#109); 5. Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Blue Glasynys (#6213)
In terms of colours, I was most surprised by the Cascade 220 in Jade, I was expecting something more subtle and less yellowish - and it sort of got discarded from the start. The others were in the right colour scheme. The Madeline Tosh is a great yarn but is hand-dyed and has that variegated effect going on that makes it a bit hard to match on a whole garment - you got it, yarn discarded. 

I loved the colour of the Quince & co skein, but I was really surprised disappointed by how little yarn I got out a skein - and made some quick calculations, and thought that it would become a very expensive cardigan (not that knitting is a cheap hobby)

Left were the Berroco and Cascade in Heathers. 

I knitted all the yarns - with 5mm needles, and did the swatch according to the pattern (19st x 26st). For most of the skeins I managed to achieve the 10cm x 10cm swatch I was looking for - unblocked. I have never swatched on this scale, and it is amazing how different yarns behave whilst being knitted. I am very picky - because I am actually allergic to sheep wool (ironic, right!). So my preference goes for blend yarns, with Merino. 

Although I discarded it on the basis of its colour, Madeline Tosh nearly got back in the race as it was so amazing to knit. It was pure bliss. But it went back to be discarded when blocking - the swatch just grew! Other Ravelers did talk about it - it is true! 

I found Quince & co Lark too scratchy for my taste, so it remained being discarded, but the blocking did not affect the swatch too much. 

As for the Cascade yarns, Cascade 220 in Jade was less scratchy than Cascade 220 Heathers - but as they are both pure wool I did not really took to them. Again the blocking process did not affect the swatch too much. 

That leaves us with Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I am reading my notes and I only have positive comments, on the mix of wool, the colour and how it behaved during the blocking process (it did grow a bit but it is not out of control). 

Effortless will be knitted in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I need to choose the size of the garment - I have tried similar cardigans in shops to see how much my size has changed, and I think I need to knit it according to my size pre-pregnancy.Anyone has any advice on this?  

I hope you enjoy this review of yarns, and find it useful!

Linking up to Tamis' Amis, go and see other WIPS here


  1. Wow they look like very gorgeous shades of blue! It's fun to see someone's choosing process for materials. Hope the knitting goes well =D

  2. I think I have some of that same yarn .beautiful!

  3. I love all your swatching notes. It's helpful to see what other people think of yarns. With regard to finding the right size. I think if you measure your upper breast, basically right under the armpit and around the back there you should get the best idea of the size you should knit. This gives a good idea of how the cardigan will fit across your back and shoulders. This is the measurement most garments are knit to for the bust size. I use this measurement as a starting point in all my knits, because I then have to add bust shaping. With this kind of knit, which isn't really meant to be worn closed, the back and shoulders is the area you need to worry about fitting. I think this measurement will be the best starting point, but I imagine you can also look at the schematic and look at the measurements that are on there.

  4. Very helpful notes - thanks for sharing! I love how you placed the swatches side by side for comparison... And I do the same thing when buying yarn online - I trudge through Ravelry trying to get an idea of the tone and how it drapes. The effortless cardigan looks great. I will suggest measuring a comfortable cardigan you have (that works both pre and pregnancy) and then use the schematic (not the size because that might have ease factored in) in the pattern to help you choose the size.

  5. Oh it's going to be lovely in that Blue. I bet you'll get lots of use out of it, before and after. I love luxury yarns but once you total it up for an entire garment the cost can get pretty high! Better to save those yarns for smaller special things :) Like maybe some baby cardis?

  6. I HATE when people give unsolicited commentary to pregnant women! I'm sure you're radiant and glowing and absolutely adorable. Can't wait to see the progress on the cardigan.

  7. I can absolutely sympathise with shopping online. The nearest one is across town, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't stock any of the nice hand-dyed stuff that's going around. Love the colour you've chosen for your cardigan, it looks like a winner!

  8. In looking at the FOs on Rav I would suggest a body hugging fit looks better than a loose one. But to contradict the other poster about measuring, in knitting patterns you must measure the fullest part of the chest to get an accurate pattern size. Knit patterns are not measured from the smallest area of the chest. If the bump has caused changes in this measurement, do go back to the size worn before pregnancy. Trying on similar styles will give you an idea of the back/shoulder area and if your pre-pregnancy size is still the same. I love Berroco Ultra Alpaca, I have used the fine for shawls.