close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Got the Blues?

Knitters often find that cotton yarns are not easy to work with, since cotton does not have the give and bounce of wool. While I agree that cotton can be a bit hard on the hands during the knitting process, for me, Rowan Denim makes it all worthwhile.

Rowan Denim is ideal for so many kinds of projects. The final product softens up like old blue jeans after a few washes, making it ideal for kids, babies, and anyone who is sensitive to wool. I love it for summer because its texture feels great next to the skin over a tank top or tee shirt.

Just like denim fabric, the yarn fades over time with washings, because it is dyed after it is spun. As you wear and wash your piece, the dyes fade, exposing the white inner core of the yarn. This tends to turn your needles and fingers blue while knitting, but it washes right off.

Your finished garment will shrink lengthwise by about 20% in the first wash, but after that you can throw it in the washer and dryer without worry. Patterns written specifically for Rowan Denim take this shrinkage into account.

Denim People contains twenty-four patterns for men’s and women’s sweaters, many of which were designed by Kim Hargreaves. She also designed this stunner, Bay, available in her Breeze collection.

There are some great baby and kid patterns, including Blu, the handknit blue jeans for babies, and SK8R from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, a handknit sweater that a teenage boy might actually wear. I made Scamp for my daughter, and it is still going strong after many trips through the mud and the wash.

I do suggest knitting a swatch and washing and drying it to determine just how much length you’ll lose. I would also recommend washing your pieces before seaming and using the yarn from your swatch for any seaming or finishing.

We have a sample of Bomber from Denim People at the shop. Once you feel the finished product, you’ll be hooked!

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