Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Milk Stout. 

Last August, the lovely Julie Asselin came down to Boston for a visit and we sat on the front porch with our husbands, having drinks and watching the sun start to set.  It was a perfect summer late afternoon and the four of us hung out and had a great time. Until Julie mentioned that she had a few samples of that "new yarn she was spinning at Green Mountain" in the car.

Next thing you knew, the men were alone on the porch, and Julie and I were sprawled out on my tiny front yard next to the driveway - surrounded by skeins in all the colors - fanned out in the grass, our drinks forgotten (yes! can you imagine....), with a thousand yarn plans swirling in the air -- for about an hour. A hat! No, a shawl! A whole collection! No, a sweater!  I was in love the moment I touched Nurtured, and I may even  have another batch tucked away in my stash already. It's rustic and sheepy, but the Targhee and Rambouillet fiber means it's still soft and light.  The colors are stunning and subtle and it's a joy to knit with.  Plus, it loooooves a cable.

If you know Julie at all, you know her enthusiasm is absolutely infectious - it's delivered with a smile and a charming French accent, often at double speed. Designing the yarn with Green Mountain was a pet project for her, and it's obvious that she enjoyed every moment.  The idea was to combine the color and fiber in a new and exciting way by dyeing the fleece first, mixing the colors and fibers and then spinning the yarn.  I've linked that previous sentence to her series on making Nurtured, so you can read about the whole process and see photos of Julie and Jean-Francois surrounded in pink fluff.   Imagine her voice as you read along, and it's even better.

Sorry for all the digression here - but this has become somewhat of a pet project for me as well, because it involved Julie and Jean-Francois and local fiber and Green Mountain and because it's kind of my dream yarn.  So with it, I wanted to go back and re-attempt my dream sweater - the perfect Grandpa Cardigan.  And Milk Stout  is where I ended up. I chose Irma as my color - it's the creamy perfect neutral, with subtle shades of yellow and pink and pale blue that barely pop until you look for them.

This time I went for texture - a combination of ribbing, garter, and bold, undulating cables, separated by a series of slipped stitches and smaller cables.  There's a lot happening here, but it works together.

I had a little fun with the hem detail, since we already have ribbing --

And the shawl collar isn't overwhelming, which I think keeps the sweater feeling a little feminine, but it could easily be made deeper if you wanted some extra cush around your neck.

And the lines of the saddle shoulder shaping show up beautifully in the ribbing -

But it's really all about the cables.

All the details and a whole bunch of test knits are on the Milk Stout Ravelry page. Julie has tons of Nurtured on hand for this release and you can purchase it in her shop or at one of the retail yarn stores that carry Julie's yarns - and don't worry because if it runs out, she will absolutely be making more in a bit.  The pattern is available for $7.00 either on Ravelry or on the cardigan page of the blog here in a bit.

And if you are wondering why a Milk Stout?  I had a Nitro Milk Stout one afternoon in Putney, with Larisa (who spins this stuff!) up at Green Mountain Spinnery when I was up there teaching at their Knitters Weekend last fall.  I was working on the sleeves at the bar. We looked at the beer and then we looked at the sleeve and we decided it was perfect.  And I still agree. Larisa would know, cause she spins the stuff.


Kirsten said...

Spectacular -- the balance of cables and ribbing is perfect! Julie's Nurtured looks like the perfect yarn too. Looks like I'll be doing a little shopping this morning.

Rachel said...


Ellie said...

Oh I love this cardi!

Gala غلا الروح said...

This is such a nice addition thanks!!!
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