Rushaan knitalong part 1: choosing your yarn

 

Let's knit Rushaan!

 
Rushaan pair
 

For those just joining us, this is the second of six knitalongs I'll be hosting this year -- one for each of the designs in Handsome: Man Sweaters for Every Body. I'll be making a version of each sweater in the collection for myself, using Jill Draper Makes Stuff yarns. Folks will be sharing their projects, questions, and knowledge in the Handsome Ravelry group.

The Rushaan KAL will take place over the months of October and November, and I'll be posting here about all the steps it takes to make your own sweater, from choosing a yarn to finishing techniques. Knit along with us and post your stuff! #HandsomeKnitting #RushaanKAL #ManSweaters

The first step is to choose the yarn we'll use for our Rushaan sweaters. I'm going to talk a bit here about the different yarns I've used for Rushaan, and the different qualities those yarns give the finished sweater. Then I'll share some tips for yarn substitutions, in case you want to use something else from your stash or LYS.

The original Rushaan sweater (seen below on, yes, Rushaan) was made with Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn.

 
the Rushaan sweater, knit with Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn

the Rushaan sweater, knit with Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn

 

Chickadee is a soft, springy, 3ply yarn made of 100% American wool. It's soft enough to wear next to the skin, and I find it an utter pleasure to knit with because of its smooth texture and bounce. When it's worked at 6 stitches per inch for Rushaan, the resulting fabric is of moderate warmth, perfect for folks who might overheat in thicker wool sweaters. It's also fairly lightweight, so it's a good choice for garments with seamless construction, even in larger sizes. (Though in the later stages of our knitalong, I'll suggest a few ways to add stability to your Rushaan sweater, even without seams.)

I used short-row belly shaping on this one, and this heathered colorway (Sabine) camouflages the short rows beautifully.

 
Close-up of Chickadee's fabric

Close-up of Chickadee's fabric

 

Jason's version of the Rushaan sweater was made with Mountain Meadow's Cody sport-weight yarn.

 
Jason's nubby textured Rushaan sweater in Mountain Meadow Cody

Jason's nubby textured Rushaan sweater in Mountain Meadow Cody

 

Mountain Meadow is a family-operated spinning mill owned by Karen Hostetler, dedicated to supporting local ranchers and revitalizing the American wool industry through eco-friendly operations and fair prices for ranchers. The "Mountain Merino" of their Cody yarn is fine, soft, and silky, and spun into a bouncy 2-ply yarn.

But my favorite thing about Cody is its slightly irregular texture. Not only does that texture produce a fabric that's really pleasant to the touch, but it also obscures minor wear, pilling, and fuzz -- my only beef with most fine Merino yarns. Compared to a smooth yarn like Chickadee, the fabric Cody produces has a more casual, rustic feel.

 
Close-up of the Cody fabric

Close-up of the Cody fabric

 

Finally, I'm making my own version of Rushaan with Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk yarn.

 
Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk yarn, in colorway Pine Shade. Photo (c) Jill Draper.

Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk yarn, in colorway Pine Shade. Photo (c) Jill Draper.

 

Mohonk is made from 100% New York State unregistered Cormo wool. It's spun into a 2-ply sport weight, with a little of its natural lanolin. It's spongy and soft and lovely to knit with, and Jill's kettle-dyed colors are to dye for (lol GET IT?). In terms of texture, Mohonk produces a lightweight fabric with less of Chickadee's smooth stitch definition, but that isn't quite as nubbly as Cody.

yarn content qualities cost
Quince & Co. Chickadee 100% U.S. wool smooth, sturdy, moderately warm, 3ply
$.05 per yard
Mountain Meadow Cody 100% Wyoming mountain merino wool soft, warm, nubby-textured, 2ply $.06 per yard
Jill Draper Mohonk 100% NYS unregistered Cormo wool soft, spongy, warm, 2ply $.09 per yard

YARN SUBSTITUTIONS

Some things to keep in mind if you're planning to make your Rushaan sweater with a yarn not described here:

  • GAUGE, GAUGE, GAUGE: Make a few swatches with different sized needles, wet block them, pin them neatly into shape without stretching until dry, and then measure the stitch and row gauge. You're looking for 24 stitches and 34 rows over 4 inches of stockinette stitch, after blocking.
     
  • FABRIC and FEEL: You should also verify that you actually like the fabric your yarn creates at pattern gauge. After you block and measure your swatches, spend some intimate time with the swatch that got pattern gauge -- squish it around in your hand, rub it on your face and neck. Imagine a whole Rushaan sweater made from that fabric, and be sure it's what you want.
     
  • YARN & FIBER QUALITIES: Make sure the characteristics of your yarn work with the design in a way you're going to like. If you want a sweater that feels a little dressier, choose a smooth yarn like Chickadee, or one with a little bit of silk or alpaca for drape. If you want something more rustic, then a woolier wool like Cody is probably more suitable for your Rushaan. (And for more information about choosing the right yarn for a project, check out one of my #1 knitting bibles, Clara Parkes's The Knitter's Book of Yarn.)

So go read the Introduction to Handsome and use it to take measurements, choose a size, and select your custom options.

Next up, we'll talk about the dreaded TUBULAR CAST-ON and explore some of the least fiddly ways to accomplish it.