It was really interesting knitting with Wool & the Gang’s newest yarn, Billie Jean. I used color Dirty Denim, which is 60% upcycled denim / 40% upcycled raw cotton. It has a beautiful marled look, and feels very soft and pliable when knitting. However, once it’s blocked . . .
I started with the Drumlin cardigan pattern from Amy Herzog’s Customfit program. I knit on US 7s and was true to my chosen gauge, but I could tell before I was even finished that it was going to be WAY small. I don’t know if the measurements I put into the program weren’t accurate enough, or if it was because of the composition of the yarn, but it wasn’t working. So, I went off-book: (a) instead of knitting the sleeves separately, I picked up the stitches from the yoke, then knit short rows to form the sleeve cap, and then had to reduce very quickly because I shortened the sleeves; (b) when I finished, I didn’t like how open it hung, so I went back and added width to the button bands, but because I didn’t want it any wider along the neckline, I used short rows on the fronts to limit the additional width to that area.
I used 6 skeins (148 yds/ea) and I really like how it looks and feels, but be warned . . . when you wet block (or wash) it, think about how your jeans feel when they first come out of the wash – particularly if you were to dry them on a blocking board. I’m talking stiff! And, the sweater seemed to . . . not shrink, per se, but you know how jeans are so much tighter when you first pull them on after they’ve been washed? They need a chance to be stretched out and loosen up. Unfortunately, you don’t wear a cardigan in the same way, so it doesn’t ever stretch to fit the way jeans do. I spent a fair amount of time yanking on the sleeves, the hem, and the button bands to try to get them to stretch back into shape.
The bottom line: I really like this sweater, but I need a different kind of pattern. Unfortunately, I don’t like Wool & the Gang’s patterns – they’re all one size, and I’m not shaped to look good in a shapeless, oversize sweater! So, back to the drawing board. Next I’m going to try the Washed Out Denim color – it has only 20% upcycled denim, so I’m curious to see how it behaves differently on the needles and when blocked.