As we emerge from the coldest February of my life (seriously) I am excited to share a simple, cozy, chunky knit project that helped me survive the plunging temps. It is basically a wool blanket that is chic enough to wear out in public. Is there a wardrobe staple more Canadian than that?
The yarn is Loopy Mango Merino No. 5 in Iceberg. I found it over a year ago at Stash Lounge during a road trip. Some people go sightseeing, I buy yarn. It happens. I loved the soft airy squish and the perfect cool grey tone. I didn’t have a pattern idea yet in mind so I bought 4 balls in hopes I would be able to make something reasonably cozy with it that would be more than just a scarf.
After seeing some cool friends rock the style, I felt inspired to try and make some sort of slouchy draped vest that I could wear over dresses and light sweaters. Instead of searching for a pattern I decided to keep things simple and make my own with basic shapes. I figured that I could make it with one big rectangle for the back and two for the front. The only challenge was how to figure out how long and draped I could make it with my limited yarn. Time to bust out the math.
I began by determining the minimum width I would need for the panels so it would drape over my shoulders while still fitting comfortably, then estimated an ideal length for the relaxed style I was going for. This left me with a back panel that would be 80 cm by 80 cm and two front panels 30 cm x 80 cm. Using 25 mm needles I then knit a 10 stitch x 10 row swatch to get an idea of my gauge. This swatch ended up being about 20 cm by 17 cm, and when I unraveled it and measured that it used around 10 m of yarn. The combined length of my 4 balls was 272 m of yarn. I calculated based on my swatch that I would not have enough yarn for these original dimensions and started scaling back until I counted that I could reasonably knit a back panel that was 72 cm x 70 cm long and two front panels that were 30 cm x 70 cm. This translated into 36 stitches x 41 rows and 15 stitches x 41 rows.
To show off the texture of the yarn I went with a stockinette stitch. It was a little ridiculous knitting with such large needles (and I was told it also appeared ridiculous) but it made for a very quick and satisfying project once I sat down and got to it. Once I finished the three panels I used a large sewing needle and seamed up the top of the shoulders, and the side seams, leaving a 30 cm space for arm holes. Because the knit is so loose and the project is fairly heavy, I am noticing that it pulls funny at the shoulder seams. I went back and reinforced them by looping another row into the seaming but I am not 100% happy with the finish. Also, I tried weaving in my ends, but with such an open knit, I am finding little fuzzy ends occasionally popping up. If any knitters have tips or other methods for seaming and ends, I am all ears!
When all was said and done, I ended up with nearly 3/4 of a ball of yarn left. My math wasn’t perfect and my gauge was a lot tighter than my swatch. The final measurements are smaller than anticipated but not by much. But silver lining, I have some of this amazing yarn for another small project.
Speaking of delightfully chunky knits, I also had this ball of giant roving in my stash that was begging to be knit for so long. I decided to sit down one evening during the cold spell and arm knit the silliest, largest, coziest scarf ever. The thickness made the perfect exaggerated texture. I kind of eye-balled the dimensions, which resulted in re-knitting it about 3 times to get the right length to height ratio. Luckily because it is SO THICK, it took maybe 2 hours, start to finish, even with re-doing it that many times. It is now my go-to winter statement piece.
As much as I still prefer the puzzle-piecing of sewing to the repetition of knitting, I am really happy I made these. They were really fun projects that made dressing for -30 C a bit more of a joy. That, and the fact that I cannot resist the allure of a fluffy yarn.