Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My ugly duckling Waltham

I'm almost finished with the back of the Waltham, thank God. I can't wait to block this baby and move on to the fronts. My KAL pals say the fronts speed by in comparison, which is good news.

While I'm not completely satisfied with my Waltham, I am happy with the shaping which has turned out exactly as I'd planned and envisioned. Take a look at the original schematic and the resulting sweater. How amazing that I could actually do this! Sorry, I'm still in awe of my burgeoning abilities and am therefore modesty deficient at the present time. :-)

What I'm displeased about is the yarn. Berroco Ultra Alpaca, the worsted version, is my perennial favorite, so I figured using the Light, a DK weight, would be great. But I'm not liking it. Maybe if it was knitted at a tighter gauge I'd be happier, but then I wouldn't meet gauge for this sweater. Again, I'm hoping it looks better when it's blocked, but now it looks wrinkled and disheveled and I don't like it. :-(

It doesn't help that I've seen the KAL participants' sweaters in a heftier alpacas and wools. Check out Dottie's beautiful Waltham in Filatura Lanarota Puno, for example. It's lush and thick and squishy and huggable and 100 percent alpaca.

Mary-Kate's Waltham takes the cake though. She's using the ubiquitous Cascade 220. I never dreamed this workhorse yarn would be so perfect for a cabled cardi. I adore the bright blue, too. Don't the cables look gorgeous?

I trudge on, hoping that a good washing and blocking will turn my Waltham into a thing of beauty. I'd love to think I've got an ugly duckling here, but I'm not so sure. I hope I'm not learning yet again that yarn choice makes all the difference. I am less than thrilled with my Ditto and Diamond Yoke cardigans because I didn't use the best yarns. It's a little discouraging to get all the way to the end and know that if you'd just picked another yarn, you'd be satisfied.

Oh well, here's hoping my ugly duckling Waltham somehow blooms into a beautiful swan.


  1. I love Cascade 220 as well..especially because Alpaca doesn't agree with me. So many talk about the lusciousness of the Berroco UA,including the lady at a LYS I was browsing on Monday. So after making my purchase, I asked if I could just browse some more while holding a skein of UA just to see if it really was my imagination..knitters say that no way can one be allergic to alpaca.
    So after hugging it for about 7 minutes..I beg to differ.
    I bet ya $10 your mind will change after your UA DK hits the water,dries, forms and fluffs a bit! I rather like it and am a bit envious at what you have accomplished both as a cable pattern and as a lesson in mods as well as the other gals' WIP.

  2. I am truly humbled by your praise! As you know, I'm very much a novice knitter. I happened on the Cascade 220 at a yarn store knowing nothing about it. It was the color and the price that drew me in. Who knew it would knit up so beautifully! I'm hoping it gets even neater when I wash and block it.

    Your Waltham is equally lovely. Don't be fooled. I LOVE the Wedgewood blue color and I do think blocking and washing will help the nap/drape/fall. Look at how lovely your sleeves look after block!

  3. Teresa, I wish you could do Ultra Alpaca because it truly is a beautiful yarn. I guess I'm going to have to try some Cascade 220... it's on sale at Webs starting April 1 for only $4.95 a skein!

    And Mary-Kate, the praise is well-deserved. Maybe you've got the genes for this since your dad is an accomplished knitter. But I love your sweater... truly beautiful.

  4. Cascade 220 is what I always called a great workhorse yarn. It does everything pretty darn good. The pure alpaca I would be concerned about. From everything I have seen, the pure alpaca is generally too soft to hold the gorgeous cables of Waltham. That is in my opinion and for the sake of the knitter, I do I hope I err in this.

    My one small critique about the gauge on several patterns in Knitting Plus is the gauge. When they write in pattern gauge, it is almost impossible to easily substitute yarn without knowing the original. It would be nice if they gave just a bit more information about the brand in the book when they do this, like manufacturers suggested gauge for the yarn they used along with yardage and weight.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you, Julie. I think it will straighten out once you give it a good wet block.

  5. Yours is gorgeous. Bet it blocks out. You'll probably have a nicer drape with your yarn than with the 220.

  6. Thanks for all the support and reassurance, girls!

    Ms. Needles, just to clarify, do you mean that the patterns should say give specific put-up info for each yarn, like:

    Cascade 220, 100% wool, 220 yards/skein

    I hadn't thought about that... I know some people compare weights rather than yardages when substituting yarn. You make a very interesting point.