Andy cardigan by Junko Okamoto
“Andy” pattern is the first knitting pattern specifically designed for our 2ply Elena yarn. The traditional Romanian yarn is single spun, and women who wanted to make something warmer used two or more strands of yarn together. From what I noticed, knitters nowadays prefer to buy already plied yarn. Shops also asked me regularly if we ever intend to produce a thicker yarn. And so, we did our best to find a traditional spinning mill that can twine singles and this year we have a first version of a Romanian traditional yarn that comes in 2ply.
“Andy” is the first pattern that makes this yarn shine and was designed by Junko Okamoto. Junko’s design is minimalist and very basic in terms of the stitches used. The shaping is realized with the aid of short rows – a particularity of Junko’s designs. Although the use of short rows sounds a bit scary, what I noticed in Junko’s patterns is that if you just follow the instructions you will be fine. With this in mind, even if I don’t always understand the logic in the instructions, I just follow the pattern and then usually I have that “Aha!” moment when I finally get it. This was also the case with Andy – I trusted Junko and it payed off – my cardigan was growing and growing and I was more and more in love with it!
I wanted to test the pattern because it is important for me to have a direct experience with our yarns, how they feel when worked with, or how they change when blocked. As with Elena single, Elena 2ply has a different feel and look before and after blocking. I started knitting on my HiyaHiya bamboo needles but after a while I realized that the bamboo is not slippery enough for the yarn and I was fighting with the stitches. I changed to wooden needles and the knitting experience improved drastically! Luckily my gauge on bamboo and wooden needles is similar so the change did not affect the project. I was a bit concerned during knitting because the knitted fabric felt a bit stiff. But I knew that minimally process woolen yarns can feel like that because of the lanolin that is still on the fibers. I was right to remain calm – after washing the fiber relaxed and the stitches found their place. The fabric gain more drape and, most importantly, gain more width.
The pattern comes in two length sizes – short and long, but in one-size-fits-most. I am 1,60 and have an average constitution but I can imagine that you would feel concerned whether the cardigan will fit you. I advise you to check carefully the size of the garment as indicated on the pattern’s page. But, to have a better idea of how the cardigan looks on different women, I asked a group of fellow knitters to help me illustrate this to you. So here they are: 8 women – some taller some shorter, all wearing the Andy cardigan against the same background so you can get a feel of the differences in body shape. The good news was: the cardigan looked gorgeous on all of them! Thank you Madeleine, Marijke, Mieke, Lieke, Marja, Mariette, Floor en Hanneke for your help!
One last word about the yarn: Elena 2 ply is available via the following shops (random order):
Eylul (Japan), God som Ull (Norwey), Oh Lanas (Spain), Organic Knitters (Sweden), Tant Thea (Sweden), Wolweide (Belgium), Amu (Latvia), Het Wolhuis (Netherlands), JaWol (Netherlands), Azuleta (Ukraine), Retrosaria (Portugal), Wild Haven Fiber Company (USA), Tolt Yarn and Wool (USA), Fancy Tigers Crafts (USA)