Yarn & Supplies // Snoqualmie Cardigan Knitalong // Closet Case Files
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SNOQUALMIE KNITALONG // SUPPLIES & YARN

Welcome knitalongers! Before we get started on our Snoqualmie Cardigan, we need to gather some supplies. The nice thing about knitting is that once you have a few key things, you really only need to purchase yarn when you start a new project (granted, yarn is waaaay more expensive than fabric most of the time, but still! Simplicity! Expensive simplicity!) Most sewing projects have a lot more material components so there is something rather nice about only really needing to focus on one thing.

QUARRY YARN

The Snoqualmie Cardigan was designed for the new chunky yarn from Brooklyn Tweed called Quarry. Part of the reason I was so excited to get started on this pattern was because I was intrigued by Quarry; I loved the soft, heathered colour palette and it seemed like a nice transition from the mega chunky single plys I’ve been working with this year.

Quarry-yarn-by-Brooklyn-Tweed-in-Gypsum

Quarry yarn in Gypsum flanked by Shelter in Fossil

I love this yarn. It’s super spongey and squishy and delightful in my hands. It looks like a single ply but according to BK, it’s actually three strands: “Rather than twisting the individual plies we nestle them together and gently spin the whole trio. The result is a plump yarn that looks like a single ply and has greater tensile strength and stitch definition than a true unspun yarn.” I’m not sure yet whether I’ll have problems with pilling, but it’s so much fun to handle I don’t really care. One thing I’ve noticed is that it can get caught on your needle and split since it’s not twisted very tightly. I have to be careful I’m catching the whole strand with my stitches. It can also break if you’re pulling hard on it, so I’d be mindful of that if you’re a really tight knitter.

It’s kind of magical what happens with Quarry once it’s blocked; I love the texture. This sweater is a bit of a yarn monster, so expect to get 10-14 skeins depending on what size you’ll be knitting.

YARN ALTERNATIVES

If you’d like to knit with something else, there are quite a few alternatives on Ravelry. Cascade Yarns are quite affordable and seem to be available everywhere; I’ve seen Snoqualmie made with the chunky Ecological Wool and Eco+. You can also try Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky. Other bulky yarns with similar weights include Wool of the Andes Bulky by Knit Picks and Puffin by Quince & Co. Whatever you use, you’re looking for a gauge of 3.0 to 3.5 sts per inch, and you’ll need 1865-2710 yards depending on your size.

NEEDLES

It’s a matter of preference, but I think knitting cables would definitely be easier on a smooth chrome needle rather than something like bamboo. I recently learned how much faster my knitting is when the stitches can move around fairly freely.

Since this pattern has ribbing, it requires a few sets of needles:

  • 32″ circular needle (6.5mm / US 10 1/2)
  • 47″ circular needle, one size smaller than above for ribbing
  • 32″ circular, once size smaller than above for tubular cast on

I’ve learned the hard way that it really pays off to invest in an interchangeable kit. I have so many random circular needles in my knitting stash and it’s just way easier and less expensive in the long run to get a kit.

Knitter's Pride cubics interchangeable needles

After a little deliberation, I recently purchased the Knitter’s Pride Cubics kit. I was intrigued by the square shape; apparently they grip the yarn while also allowing stitches to slip on and off the needles quite easily, as well as being easier on your hands. At under $80, they are relatively affordable and I really like knitting with them.

Knitter's Pride cubics interchangeable needles-2

If you feel like splurging, most serious knitters I know love Addi interchangeable needles. They are about twice the price of the Knitter’s Pride but I hear the joints and cables are flawless. Please note that this kit does not include the 6.5mm needles so you’d have to purchase them separately.

OTHER SUPPLIES

  • Waste Yarn – if you’re doing the tubular cast-on (and I suggest you do! It’s a beautiful cast on!) you’ll need something smooth like worsted weight cotton or silk yarn to cast on with. It will be cut off later so it doesn’t matter what colour it is. You may also want to try and find a worsted weight yarn in a similar colour for seaming, which will be less likely to  break if you’re using Quarry.
  • Stitch markers. You can use safety pins in a pinch and plastic stitch markers are readily available but I quite like these pretty brass ones from Fringe Supply Co.
  • Tapestry needle for seaming
  • Project bag! Grainline Studio will be giving away a Stowe Bag Pattern away at the end of the KAL, or you can get this cool origami number.
  • Crochet hooks for picking up the inevitable dropped stitch.
  • 5 x 1 1/4″ buttons
  • Cable needle (optional). We are going to discuss cabling without a needle which I think is much faster, but it’s up to you.
  • T-pins for blocking (optional)

If you’re serious about knitting and do a lot of your yarn ordering online, I highly suggest getting a yarn swift and winder as well. I’ve spent so much time trying to hand wind yarn (using my knees, the backs of chairs, and even using my kind neighbor as a human yarn holder on a plane once) that I finally got totally fed up and made the investment. If you’re blanching at the cost of the wood swifts, I got this one on Amazon for under $20, along with this winder. They aren’t pretty but they get the job done! It only takes a few minutes to wind up a skein which is EXTREMELY SATISFYING and then you’re not stuck waiting for your turn at the swift at your neighborhood yarn store, or worse, annoying friends and family as you wind your way around them.

Any appropriate yarns I missed in this post? What will you be using to knit Snoqualmie?

ps. The KAL continues next week with a discussion of swatching and cabling.

 

  • Darci

    Bless you for finding and sharing the inexpensive swift option! I spent over 2 hours winding a 400+ yd skein of fingering weight Madelinetosh Monday night and was internally crying imagining either spending $100+ on a swift or countless hours winding the rest needed for a sweater. The $20 swift is a game changer!

    • Omg that sounds like a nightmare! Obviously I’d love a gorgeous wood one but I was pretty tapped out after my BK order 😉

  • K_Line

    Hey – Don’t buy the Addi hype! The cables are SO strongly curled that they never really open up enough to make knitting in the round comfortable. I know from lots of experience because I used to use them exclusively – I’m slowly replacing my Addis with other brands. Yeah, the join is flawless but I’ll take Knitter’s Pride and Chiao Goo any day because their joins are very good (more than adequate) and their cables are infinitely more malleable. FYI – I personally don’t love using metal needles for cables because I find bamboo gives a bit more traction. Of course, everyone is different and I’ve used metal needles to cable many times. I just don’t prefer it.

    Not sure if thick yarn will be easy to cable without a cable needle but I find it totally impossible with slim-gauge yarn. Esp. if the cable is comprised of many stitches. I’ll be intrigued to read about this as you do the KAL.

    I bought my not chic, but inexpensive, swift and ball winder on Etsy for really good prices. The swift came from a vendor in Quebec. Both of them are still working 3 years later and I use them frequently.

    I’ve knitted often with Quince and a few times with Brooklyn Tweed and I think they are both excellent brands, if entirely different. Definitely, Quince would be a more affordable option than the BT. While I love how BT blocks, and I greatly admire it (and everything that Jared Flood does), I’m more partial to Quince because I prefer its weight and hand. I like a worsted-spun for its sort of springiness. BTW, the BT will get stronger when you block it. But I’ve known tight knitters who just can’t use it because it breaks if your tension’s too firm.

    • Good to know about the Addis! Is it possible to soften the cords in some hot water? I am totally obsessed with ddi sock rockets so i figured the interchangeables must be amazing….

      I am totally done with bamboo.I’m such a slow knitter, it just adds even more time. I find the square needles I’m using are great for cables – the stitched really stay rooted until I’m ready to move them.

      • K_Line

        Some people say that soaking in hot water works for them (with the interchangeables OR the regular circulars). I’ve only worked with the regular circulars. I wouldn’t buy the interchangeables because of my first-hand experience of the regular cables and because, when I’ve checked out the kit a few times at my LYS, the cables seem even less malleable than the regular ones. I really used to love the Addis because, I agree, the needles are incomparable, but now that I’ve tried other brands, I realize that a cable is more of an issue for me than a needle, in any instance. Making socks with a curly cable is so irritating and it slows me down. Sure, I wouldn’t use crappy needles for a good cable, but I’d happily use a good needle with a great cable (at an affordable price) before I’d use a great needle with a crap cable (that’s also pricey).

        BTW, you convinced me to do some needle shopping – given that I’m on a stash-busting mission and cannot buy yarn. I got the

        Knitter’s Pride Comby Interchangeable Sampler Set and

        Knitter’s Pride Comby Interchangeable Sampler Set II

        I purchased on Amazon but I think the prices are better on WEBS. Of course, I already have every needle size except for the crazy big ones (and I even have some of those) but I wanted to try some diff kinds of needles and, if they’re good, and I like the cables, then I’ve got tons of needles in tons of lengths (because I can buy additional cables as required).

        Each of these sets contains 3 Knitter’s Pride needles (of different sizes and compositions) and 2 cables – 24″ and 40″. Really, you only need 40″ cables because, with that size you can magic loop everything – or knit in the round if you have enough stitches cast on. But I like being able to use a shorter cable if I don’t feel like magic looping.

        I wish that all brands would do samplers like this.

  • This cardigan reminds me of how my mother used to sit every winter and knit cabled jerseys one after the other out of her head without any patterns. Sadly I did not inherit her talent but I get a warm fuzzy feeling remembering the constant clicking of her knitting needles…

    • That’s incredible!I had a friend who’s nana crochet her the most gorgeous Audrey Hepburn-esque sheath from a photograph – nice to think that if you work at your craft long enough you get so good you can just bang out masterpieces without even thinking about it.

  • Esther

    total beginner question, why is it necessary to wind the yarn at all?

    • Susan Buchanan

      The yarn comes in skeins, which is like big loops. So you wind the yarn into a ball so it’s easy to use! Otherwise you’d have big loops that you have to slowly unwind for each row. Not all yarn comes this way so not all yarn needs to be wound into balls!

      • Esther

        ah! then I’ve only used yarn that comes as balls. thanks!

  • Looks like fun!!