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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.