When I saw the Dockside Cardigan pattern by Amy Miller in Interweave Knits Summer 2011 it struck me as a pattern my daughter would like. As her birthday is in the autumn it seemed like a good idea to make it for her. But, there was a problem - the yarn is not, as far as I could tell, available in the UK. Kind people on ravelry told me it is a sock yarn, but when I looked at alternatives available over here I couldn't find anything I thought my daughter would actually wear.
Yesterday, computer problems - now fixed by a kind friend - left me with some unexpected free time, so I dived into my yarn stash and looked to see what I could find.
I have a lot of coned industrial yarn, bought from a closing down sale of someone who was retiring. Industrial yarns have a lot of advantages. For one thing, even if you don't get them at sale prices they are usually cheaper than balled yarn. Then there is more choice. And, best of all, they tend to be thin so all sorts of combinations are possible. I even find that, being oiled, they keep my hands nice when I am knitting with them!
I looked out 2 yarns my daughter would like. The one on the left is a dark navy 90% lambswool 10% cashmere, but I didn't have enough of it. I also had plenty of a lovely dark slate (on the right) 90% silk 10% cashmere.
I was tempted to use the dark slate, but the tension of the pattern was quite loose and drapey - which I knew my daughter would like. If I used a yarn with such a high proportion of silk it would have no memory to speak of and would tend to droop rather than drape. Having thought about it, I put 2 strands of the silk yarn with 1 of the thicker lambswool and worked a sample.
Being oiled yarns, I had to wash the oil out before I could check guage and feel. The camera has struggled with the colour - it is much darker than it looks. But you can see how the sheen of the silk and the matt of the wool have worked to give interest to the fabric. The guage is spot on and the fabric has elasticity - it springs back when stretched - thanks to the lambswool. And it has the right lightness and drape. The only downside is that I will need to work the pattern in daylight to be sure of avoiding mistakes.