Friday, September 29, 2006

Baby Cashmere Bliss

I bought this Blue Sky Alpaca pattern at the same time as the pattern for the Bulky Baby Hat. I love the look of this sweater that is not quite a shrug, not quite a cardigan. Blue Sky calls it "Cropped Cardigan." It is meant to be knit with two strands of Blue Sky Sportweight held together. I was surprised to see that the pattern calls for the two strands of sportweight to be knit on 8mm needles. Clearly we are aiming for a looser airier fabric.

Much as I love Blue Sky's sportweight, I was hoping to make the top in Elann's Baby Cashmere. For one thing, the cost of the Baby Cashmere is less than half of what I would pay for BSA yarn, but I also wanted to try something fun in the Baby Cash, having never knitted with it before. I wondered if the pattern would work with Baby Cash.

The lilac yarn in the picture above is Blue Sky Sportweight. The teal coloured yarn is Elann Baby Cashmere in Peacock. I only have a few skeins of the lilac, but I bought eight of the Peacock to make the top. The two yarns are both very soft, sportweight yarns, but BSA is heavier than the Baby Cash. You get the same yardage at twice the weight. When I swatched two strands of Baby Cash on 8mm needles, the fabric was too loose and hung long and skinny. I tried tripling the strands, but the fabric was too thick, even though the guage was about right. Then I tried swatching two strands of Baby Cash on 6 1/2mm needles. That got me a comparable fabric to two strands of Blue Sky, and a closer guage. I decided to go up one pattern size and attempt the sweater in the Baby Cash.

It appears to be working. The pattern is easy and straightforward. You knit top down and make increases to create the raglan sleeves. I put the sleeve stitches on strings and tried on what I have so far, and the fit feels good. Because of the looser guage and the light yarn, this will be a very light garment, but I think the drape will be good. I like the colour a lot, and Baby Cash is dreamy. I stop often just to pet the finished fabric.

This is the front. I have just started the long section of ribbing that runs from under the arm to the bottom edge of the cropped cardi. The large section of body ribbing is what gives the sweater its interesting shape. The sweater never really comes together at the front. It hangs open and pulls back towards the bottom edge in a cutaway style. The fabric looks thicker and springier in the ribbed sections of the body and the sleeves.

I suspect that the Blue Sky yarn would give the top a denser, more textured fabric. The Baby Cashmere fabric is going to have a lighter, smoother look to it. Looking forward to seeing how it comes out.

In other knitting news...the black Katrina sweater went out to dinner last night and looked very cute over an apple green t-shirt. It's such a comfortable sweater.


SooZ said...

Hey Jayne,

I really really really like this cropped cardigan. I also agree, it gets away from the shrug and the cardigan look. And it looks like something I may do for my first sweater. I'm eager to see the end result.

Its lovely to hear about your Katrina sweater feeling and looking so good after the effort you put into it.


benne said...

Jayne, the cropped cardigan looks great. BTW, the baby cash is fingering weight. I haven't used the BS alpaca but since it is a sportweight, it would definitely give a denser fabric doubled on the same size needles. I like the baby cash look. Isn't it fabulous to knit? I want ALL the colors.

Vamanta said...

Baby Cash is a dream fiber to work with & to wear. Enjoy your fun, Jayne! As benne said, BC is fingering but sounds like you worked it out by going down a size on the needles.

Anonymous said...

Looks awesome, Jayne. I will be looking forward to the headless finished object shot!


knittynicky said...

Jayne,this is a very cute pattern. I think I have to go and get me some of that Baby Cash. Thanks for all the info. Nicole

Karin said...

Jayne - excellent idea! No pun intended. I have been hoping that someone might have an extra skein I could purchase to finish up, but alternatively, the cuff isn't a huge addition to the design and easily sacrificed. I'd love to know how your yardage works out - I can't recall running out before, I ususally "over-buy". Oh well...