We posted last week about our Knitscene Fall 2015 knitalong poll, and the Solitude Jacket won the poll! Designed by Mari Chiba, the Solitude Jacket is a bottom-up cardigan featuring deep ribbed elements worked in an entirely seamless construction. Knit on US size 8 needles with a heavier yarn, this will surely be a quick project to knit, so you’ll have it done in time for the first chill of autumn, whenever that is for you!
I asked Mari about the yarn she chose for this project, and she had so many wonderful things to say that I’m sharing her insights here!
I’ve had the great fortune of working with Solitude Wool yarns in the past, though this was my first time working with their Romney yarn. So, why Solitude and why Romney? It all began with the design itself: I wanted to make a wearable, woolly sweater that was super-thick and warm; something that would definitely warrant outerwear status in both looks and functionality (for more about the inspiration for this cardigan, you can read this recent post on my blog).
When I was thinking about which yarn would be best for this design, my first thought was: Solitude Wool. I knew that I wanted something rustic and natural—something you could wear out and about in town or while feeding the chickens on the farm. It had to be stylish, but I also wanted a yarn that would hold up and continue to look great for years to come. I also loved the idea of creating a rustic sweater using an all-American yarn, and Solitude Wool sources all of their fiber from small farms in the USA.
Once I’d made the decision to use a yarn from Solitude Wool, I called one of the owners, Gretchen, to get her opinion on which yarn in particular would be the best fit. I told her I had an outerwear jacket in mind using a heavier yarn, and that I was hoping for something in a rich, natural color. Without missing a beat, she immediately said, “You want the Romney”. She was right! Some of the wool used in this yarn is actually raised on Gretchen’s own farm in Virginia, which makes it extra special to me.
The Romney is a long haired sheep, which means that ultimately the yarn will hold up much better over time, with the added bonus that it is less likely to pill and show wear. While I love my fine merino sweaters, the short fibers mean that the underarms start to pill after just a few wears, and I’m constantly de-pilling my merino sweaters to keep them looking their best. Opting to use a long haired fiber means that this type of upkeep isn’t necessary! Romney fiber might not be as soft as merino, but don’t let the prickle factor scare you: this jacket is intended to be worn with a shirt underneath, and I personally don’t find it problematic.
I really loved knitting with this yarn. It has a wonderful bounce and a subtle sheen. I knit my original sample in just 5 days because it was such a pleasure to work with, and I hope you’ll all enjoy using it, too!
See, I told you it’d be a fast knit! Knowing me, it will take me longer to pick out the toggles than it will to knit the actual sweater. Are you going to join in? Grab your copy of Knitscene Fall 2015, pick out your yarn, and join us in the Knitting Daily KAL Ravelry Group to discuss your progress! We officially cast on July 24.