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You know I love a good cardigan, right? Well, I’m really excited about this one.

I wanted to design a solid cardigan with a shawl collar and a big cable up the back. It would be cozy, not too fitted, medium length, and knit out of dk-weight yarn. A quick search on Ravelry found almost exactly what I had been thinking of…already designed by Thea Colman.

That’s just life, I guess, and never one to turn down a good cardigan, I bought the pattern and cast on.

This cardi’s going to be awesome!

Maybe you can tell how excited I am about a project by the amount of time it takes me to blog about it. Usually, I finish something and I’m so thrilled that I have to get a photo right away and post it.

My Damson shawl was finished back in May, and you might recall that I was lukewarm about the colour from the start. By the time I had finished and blocked, the colour had grown on me. But it turns out my real gripe is that it’s tiny* and I found myself adjusting it every 20 minutes so that it doesn’t fall off. A shawl pin would help…I think I’ll have kinder feelings towards Damson once fall weather rolls around.

The yarn, on the other hand, was so soft and springy; I enjoyed working with it, despite what I’ve recently learned about the superwash process. Are you reading, madelinetosh? I’d love it if you offered more non-superwash yarns…

Pattern: Damson by Ysolda Teague (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Earl Grey

* Not sure if tininess is the problem, or if it’s more of a length vs. depth issue. The top edge of Damson has increases on both sides, not just the right side as with other shawls I’ve knit. This gives it a deep v-shape at the neck, yet the ‘arms’ still aren’t long enough to get a good wrap-around. Get it?

A few things have collided in space and time to make for perfect knitting conditions:

  1. I am cardigan-crazy. I wear them all year and, other than socks, they are usually the only article of clothing that I wear out. Yep, that’s how much I wear them. Thank goodness for elbow patches.
  2. We at Urban Yarns have been going a bit crazy waiting for the Madelinetosh shipment to arrive. And it’s here! I can hardly wait to pop in and look at the colours. Amy at Madelinetosh has such a gift with colour, and they use some of the softest, springiest base yarns I’ve ever felt.
  3. Hannah Fettig has recently republished her Gooseberry Cardigan as the Calligraphy Cardigan in, you guessed it, Madelinetosh Tosh DK. Clearly, people, the stars have aligned on this one. As usual, my eyes are bigger than my…knitting basket?

crisp Habu fique

Did you know that it’s impossible to leave a fibre marketplace empty handed? Of course you did. To wrap up the Madrona experience, I feel compelled to document my souvenirs.

For some reason, the fique (a plant fibre from the pineapple family) above especially called to me, maybe because it’s the exact opposite of my usual favourite soft (crunchy) and smooth (stiff) yarns. My extended Colombian family tells me that fique is commonly used in South America for rope, bags, and sandals.

a small collection of Habu silks

I feel like you have to be a weaver to make the most of Habu’s outstanding range of fibres, but I’m determined to conduct experiments that will make the most of crisp 1-micron thick silk in knitwear.

madelinetosh in earl grey

No plans to even use the madelinetosh; I’ve admired her colours for a long time and bought this skein of tosh merino light in ‘earl grey’ just because it’s beautiful. Seriously tempted to just unwind the skein and hang it on the wall – the lightness and reflectivity in her colourways is amazing.

The Toots Leblanc soft soft soft merino/angora blend is destined for a hat. This company is amazing, making yarns so soft that they don’t even have to dye them. One feel and people were snapping them up left and right.

Toots Leblanc merino/angora

That’s it – I only took two classes but enjoyed seeing so many enthusiastic knitters in one place. I think next time I’ll focus on technique – I’m still trying to decide if a trip to Sock Summit is in the cards. I think the best place for me would be Carson Demers’ physiotherapy-oriented class Ergonomics for Knitters, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Knitting for Speed and Efficiency. Because who wouldn’t want to knit faster without developing a repetitive strain injury.

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