The Stash Lounge at the Knitter’s Review Retreat has become the stuff of knitting legend.  You may find a shawl’s worth of laceweight cashmere, a sweater’s worth of aran wool or enough remnants to finish a sock-yarn blanket.  It operates entirely on an honor system – bring something, take something.  It can get frenzied when a contributor arrives with her massive bag.  (Read: uncomfortably claustrophobic, in my case.) Sometimes gems are dropped off later in the weekend, instead of on arrival, leading to giggling and very special finds after the initial rush to drop off and destash.  Ultimately, everything goes to a home, as leftovers are donated to non-profit knitting programs.

As focused as I have been on one-skein projects, the Stash Lounge is a fabulous place to find something you’ve never knitted with in order to test-drive.

Malabrigo Worsted in action

And so it was with me and malabrigo worsted.  A nice squishy skein the color of hot chocolate (shade 181, marron oscuro but nothing like the color card), just waiting to be knitted up.

J. has been taming my hair for many years, and her color genius has been put to the test with my otherwise silver head.  (I started going gray at 18, and I refuse to accept this hand from nature.)  I always knit when I go for root-control.  Last week, J. fell in love with my least-special workhorse cowl.  Come to think of it, it’s actually the only cowl I’ve made and kept. In any case, I told her I’d happily make one for her in an autumn color.  After all, there was a skein of malabrigo in the stash, ready to be put to the test.

Pattern: Crofter’s Cowl by Gudrun Johnston (free download from link or on ravelry).

Crofter's Cowl

Mods: Used 90-st cast-on for larger width, but knitted on US 7 Addi Lace circs for optimum density to combat malabrigo tendency to grow after a bath.  Completed one purl row after cast-on before starting pattern.  After 6 repeats (omitting mirrored stitches and grafting), knitted one round, purled one round, and bound off.  Extra purl rows provide for edge stability/anti-rolling.

Here’s the heresy: I. didn’t. like. malabrigo.  Not. One. Bit.  It was sticky.  Not in the way shetland wool is sticky.  More like cotton balls that don’t really want to separate.  It did not flow.  It took me twice as long to knit with as any other yarn.  (Note that the pattern itself works up very fast for gift knitting.)

I hereby relinquish all off the malabrigo in the yarniverse that had been apportioned for me to other, more appreciative knitters.


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3 Responses to “Heresy”

  1. Kim Says:

    OOh, this is a luscious one. Me likey! Have a great weekend.

  2. Deborah Says:

    I’ve seen several versions of the Crofter’s Cowl (including my own) for which the knitter added extra pattern rows and just skipped the grafting, just as you’ve done. In all except yours, they wound up with a relatively straight bind-off edge. Your bind-off edge seems nicely scalloped. Is this a factor of the extra two rows of knitting and purling you add at the end?

    • NutmegOwl Says:

      That’s a great question, Deborah. Actually, it’s less a function of the extra rows than of blocking. I pinned it out into slight “points” in an effort to give the edges some textural interest to frame the face differently. The stitch pattern seemed to want to scallop a bit on its own along one edge – I just exploited it and made the top and bottom match. I’m glad you liked it – and thanks for visiting!

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